Written by Ann Mathisen Friday, 08 May 2009 09:30
In the prime of his life, Morrey Barsky decided that his mother’s senior years shouldn’t be boring and that her life could be “enriched with new interests.” Always a loving and supportive son, his decision to establish the Port Washington Senior Center in 1961 for Millie Barsky enabled her to make new friends and spend time painting even though she had never picked up a paintbrush. In the early days of meeting at the Community Synagogue, his wife Shirley would transport seniors in need of rides while carpooling her own two toddlers. The initial membership was 12 seniors and close to 50 years later, the Port Senior Center continues to serve hundreds of people through recreational, social, and service oriented activities. There are trips, exercise programs, medical screenings, legal services, and a host of programs designed to stimulate one’s mind, body, and spirit. All people who are at least 55 years old are welcome to join and a hot lunch is served daily at 80 Manorhaven Boulevard. The building is bright, spacious, and about 120 seniors attend four days a week. The center is always in need of donations to continue services so any contributions are always welcome and very much appreciated. Lives fast-forwarded become our own.
Morrey turns 90 this June and remains intellectually and physically active. He attributes his longevity to civic involvement. After growing up in Buffalo and enlisting in the army in 1941, Morrey spent a few years as a professional fundraiser for the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies and the United Jewish Appeal. He met his beloved and vivacious Shirley in Chicago and later embarked on a long career with several investment firms. Although the Senior Center may very well be his greatest accomplishment, others include, but are certainly not limited to, the co-founding of Denton Green, (a non-profit senior housing building,) the establishment of Boy Scout Troop 1001, the development of investment clubs throughout the Midwest, and an active involvement in the entire Harbor Links project. He has served on the Senior Citizen Commission of North Hempstead since 1965, (three times as chair) and played active roles in PYA, the Adult Education Advisory Committee for the North Shore, and the Budget Review Committee for the Port school district. However, he contends his greatest accomplishment remains his 54-year-old marriage to Shirley, who in addition to acting as “supporting staff” for Morrey, taught school for 35 years. His sons on both coasts are extremely successful and Shirley recalls he was a wonderful father. Three grandchildren add to his current joy.
It’s been said that a man is not old as long as he is seeking something. Morrey continues to seek solutions and in his quest, may have found his own fountain of youth.