subscribe to the Great Neck Record

Memorial for Maureen Gedman, 67

A celebration of life of  Maureen Gedman, 67, of Great Neck, who after a brief illness on Jan. 15, will be held Sunday, May 17, 2 p.m. at Our Lady of Grace Spiritual Center, 29 Shelter Rock Rd. in Manhasset.

A longtime resident of Great Neck, Maureen was predeceased by her parents, Alexander and Mildred Gedman, her Aunt Sophie Zebart and her brother Bruce. She is survived by her niece, Melinda Matkowsky and many loving cousins.

She was most recently employed by the Woman’s Club of Great Neck.

Known for her ability to make everyone feel comfortable in her presence, she was always ready to assist those in need and did so generously. Her infectious laugh will be remembered by those who knew and loved her. Maureen was an avid fisherwoman and was most at home on the water.

In keeping with her generous spirit, Maureen donated her body to the Hofstra School of Medicine for medical research.

Donations in Maureen’s name can be made to the North Shore Animal League, 16 Lewyt St., Port Washington, NY 11050.


Lyn Sipress, North Teacher

Lyn Sipress died on March 28, 2015. She was a lovving and devoted mother to Steven Scott and Michele Sipress and FranElissa Sipress (Jeffrey). Lyn started her career teaching elementary school before making Great Neck North her home while teaching TESL. She treated her students as if they were her own children. Remarkably she taught them how to speak English without the ability to speak any other language.

Lyn graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a degree in Childhood Development and went on to get her Masters Degree in English.

Lyn’s teaching was not confined to the school system. She was an exceptional bridge player. Her love of bridge and teaching brought her to another career: teaching bridge. She was highly regarded within the bridge community.

An avid tennis player, Lyn enjoyed connecting racket to ball for most of her life until MS made it impossible for her to play any longer.

Lyn was a cultured woman that loved the fine arts and Broadway. She also enjoyed her outings with her “Red Hatter Club” and playing Mahjong any chance she could get.

In December of 2014 Lyn was stricken with Glioblastoma Grade IV, a very agressive brain cancer, that eventually took her from us while she slept comfortably.

A “Celebration Of Life” luncheon will be held, in lieu of temple services, on Satuurday, April 15, 1 p.m., North Shore Towers Banquet Hall (Tower 2), 270-10 Grand Central Pkwy, Floral Park, NY. If you plan to join the celebration of Lyn’s life please call 718-352-9498.

Lizabeth Sbar, 66

Ms. Lizabeth Sbar was the innocent victim of the tragic SUV crash into the AT&T store on Monday, March 30, 2015 in Great Neck, New York.  We thank all those who came to her rescue.

Ms. Lizabeth Sbar, born January 24, 1949, was a poet, artist, healer and noted message therapist at the New York Health & Racquet Club in Manhattan and Pourans Beauty & Boutique and other health clubs in the New York area, with many famous clients, including the renowned poet Elizabeth Sargent.

As a child she composed a poem for Mickey Mantle, “SuperMantle,” and sent it to him. Mickey Mantle called the Sbar house to thank Lizabeth, but she was too shy and she ran to her bedroom to hide under her bed.

American poets Gregory Corso and Allen Ginsberg recognized her poetic talents at the On The Road Festival/Boulder, Colorado in 1982. Gregory Corso asked her to recite a poem Lizabeth wrote to her father Joe Sbar to a spellbound audience. Allen Ginsberg had this poem published in the literary magazine Big Scream.

Her massage therapy was noted for its healing qualities with a gentle and recuperative strength. She was skilled in the Yogic arts as a student of  Sri Swamiji Bua. Her massage sessions had a spiritual dimension with Kuan Yin choral music playing softly in the background. She was beloved by all her many clients, fellow massage therapists and administrator

Lizabeth Sbar was a lifelong resident of Great Neck, Long Island who tenderly cared for her wonderful mother Sylvia Sbar and brother Carl Sbar at 119 Croyden Avenue, both of whom preceded her in death.  Lizabeth was also preceded in death by her father, Joseph Sbar.

Ms. Lizabeth Sbar was graceful, kind, caring, self-effacing and compassionate to all she came in contact with.

She leaves two brothers, Jonathan (Janet) and Daniel (Joanne) Sbar, as well as three first cousins: Ona Gritz, Donald Weber and Steven Samuel Kushner and countless friends totally devastated by her tragic passing. Our collective prayers and soulful feelings surround her with our everlasting love.

A memorial will be held on Wednesday, April 8, 2015 at 5:00 p.m. at Riverside-Nassau North Chapel, 55 North Station Plaza, Great Neck, NY.

Representing the family of Lizabeth Sbar:



Steven Samuel Kushner

San Francisco, California


Ellen Conford Dies At 73

Great Neck author Ellen Conford, just 73, died two weeks ago, at her home.  Conford, who won many awards for her famed children’s books, reportedly had been in poor health for a while.

Conford wrote over 40 children’s books during her career, many of the noted series for young girls of all ages, Many of the books were inspired by the adventures of Conford’s son during his teenage years.

Her first book, Impossible Possum, was first published in 1971 and she then continued writing and publishing for the next 30 years.

Conford received several honors during her writing career, including a Book of the Year citation from the American Library Association and some of her books are being reissued.

Annette Zimmerman Dies At 89

Annette Zimmerman, wife, mother, grandmother, 40-plus year Great Neck resident and active Temple Emanuel member, died on Monday, March 30.

Annette only put her foot down with her husband Mortimer twice in their 67 years of marriage. The first was in 1964. As parents of two young boys, Robert and John, the family considered moving from Massachusetts to Great Neck. While the home was expensive, Annette, along with her sister and brother-in-law persuaded Mort to buy. They lived and raised their children in that house on 5 Vista Dr. for more than 40 years until their second argument: when Annette this time convinced Mort to move to an apartment on Middle Neck Road.

Annette Furman was born July 5, 1925, in St. Louis, Missouri. Along with her sister, Ruth, she worked at her fathers’ women’s clothing store during her youth. She attended and graduated Lincoln High School, with a special award for a paper she embodied throughout her entire life: peace.

Soon after World War II, Annette was set up on a blind date with Mort. After their wedding, they lived Brooklyn, New Jersey and Massachusetts before Great Neck.

Throughout Great Neck, Annette was known for her random acts of kindness, dedication to the neighborhood and impeccable style. She worked as an assistant buyer with A&S and was an active member of Temple Emanuel, where served as president of the Sisterhood in the mid-1980s.

Her love and commitment to her family was evident her entire life. From when she worked into the wee hours of the morning helping her son John and his wife Ellen to clean their first apartment in Manhasset, to serving as Robert’s most trusted campaign volunteer during his 1988 run for the State Assembly, her commitment was unmistakable. As Ellen aptly put: “her entire life, she came, she stayed and she worked.”

Annette is survived by her loving husband Mort; her two sons, Robert and John; her daughter-in-law, Ellen, who she considered the daughter she never had; her three grandsons Ben, Greg and Sam; and the hundreds of family, friends and neighbors who shared countless memories across her nearly nine decades of life. In lieu of flowers, the Zimmerman family requests that donations be made to Stephen C. Widom Cultural Center at Temple Emanuel of Great Neck.

Stanley Markowitz of Saddle Rock

Stanley Markowitz, a Saddle Rock resident for almost 40 years, died on March 26, after a series of long illnesses. He is survived by his wife, Elaine, of 62 years, his children, Mitchell Jay, Martin Lee, Adam Howard, and Caryn Sue Groedel, and grandchildren Hannah Rose, Isabel Juliette, and Mia Ruby Groedel, Blair Allison and Harris Eric Markowitz, and Ilana Nel and Joshua Emanuel Markowitz. He is also survived by his sister, Joyce Thomas and family Andrea, Deborah and Jeffrey Thomas and grandnieces LeeAnn and Elinor Thomas.

Mr. Markowitz had a long career as a garment center manufacturer and was a veteran of the United States Navy, serving in Italy during World War II.

Betty Rosenzweig Dies At 87

Betty Grace Lee (née Englander) Rosenzweig, 87, died peacefully on March 22, after suffering a stroke in Boston, MA, where she lived since relocating from Great Neck in 2005. She was predeceased by her husband, Marty, her parents (Ruth and Harry Englander) and her sisters (Jean and Edna). Betty is survived by her children, Micki and Tony, daughter-in-law Debra Weinstein, grandchildren (Leah, Paul, Ross, Jesse, and Alison), and her best friend, Sylvia Englander.

As a young woman, Betty attended Goddard College and the Institute of Design, where she studied photography with Harry Callahan. The defining moment of her career was when she answered an ad for an “animal lover” and joined the then bankrupt North Shore Animal League as its first paid employee.  She spent 20-plus years there in multiple roles, including adoption manager and head of public relations, and helped them grow from a handful to thousands of adoptions a year. After retiring, she spent 10 years at the Great Neck Record writing a human interest column “Around the Clock.”

Never one to turn down a museum visit, a good game (preferably one she could win), or a vigorous political debate, Betty remained active all her life with a sharp mind and a playful wit. After leaving Great Neck she moved to the Golda Meir House in Newton, MA and experienced a wonderful sense of renewal with many new friendships and interests including learning Russian and Spanish, enjoying Zumba, chorus and serving on the welcoming committee.  Betty likened life at Golda’s” to “college without the exams.”

Throughout her life, Betty forged new bonds while remaining deeply connected to her family and lifelong friends.  Even in the face of adversity, she always maintained her lively sense of humor and fun, as well as her compassion and concern for others.  Remembering this spirit will help fill the deep void felt by all who knew and loved her.

A memorial service is being planned.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Sunshine Golden Rescue (

Remembering Betty Rosenzweig

For all of our devoted, longtime readers, we sadly report that a very special columnist and reporter, Betty Rosenzweig, died last week. Betty, who had lived in Great Neck for years and years, raising her children here, along with her husband, Marty, who predeceased her many years ago, had moved to Boston in later years, to be closer to her children.

Human interest stories, right on-target news stories (always with a human point of view) and Betty’s famous “Round the Clock” column were high spots each week in the Great Neck Record. Her absence at the Record was noted as soon as she retired and moved away. Even today, her many still-loyal fans are often reminded of Betty’s special touch as they read an article about red fox on the peninsula, hear of chickens walking freely on some of our streets at times or learn of a unique Great Neck family.

Betty Rosenzweig was special, as special as the memories that Great Neck shares.

Gerard Varlotta Dies At 87

Gerard A. Varlotta of Great Neck, died suddenly on Feb. 27, 2015. He was 87 years old. Mr. Varlotta was born on June 8, 1927, in lower Manhattan and attended St. Joseph’s Parochial School and Stuyvesant High School. After high school, at age 17, Mr. Varlotta enlisted in the U.S. Navy and then attended NYU, earning a degree in mechanical engineering. After college he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study engineering in many European countries and went on to earn his NYS professional engineering license. Returning to the U.S., he worked for the NYC Department of Water Supply.

In 1960 he established GDL Construction Corp. and specialized in all facets of subterranean construction. GDL Construction evolved into Varlotta Construction Corp. Mr. Varlotta ran Varlotta Construction until his retirement in 1992. After retirement, he continued to work as a consultant. Varlotta Construction installed all the water mains for the original World Trade Center. Variotta Construction completed all underground utilities and infrastructure, street and sidewalks for the World Financial Center in Battery Park City. The company was also called upon to assist with the clean-up aftermath the 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

For 18 years, Varlotta Construction was responsible for all emergency water main repairs in the five boroughs of the city, from the 1970s through the 1990s and was also responsible for snow removal at the city’s major airports, sections of Manhattan and all the parking lots of the Brenden Byrne Arena in New Jersey.

In addition, Mr. Variotta was co-owner of Billy Bud, a midtown Manhattan restaurant, the Flamboyant Hotel and Casino in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and a founding investor in Insitruform Metropolitan.

His hobbies included horse racing; he owned a number of trotters.

Mr. Varlotta was a loving husband, father and grandfather. He is survived by his wife, Isabel; sons, Gerard (Angela) and David (Barbara), daughters, Laurie (Thomas) and Lynda (Vincent) and grandchildren, Michele, Richard, Kristen, Carolyn, Caroline, Christopher, Stephen and Geena.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Garden of Dreams Foundation or Boomer Esiason Foundation.

Eric Pomerance, 101

Eric Pomerance, a much loved artist, photographer and social activist, died Feb. 16, just short of his 102nd birthday. Born in Brooklyn to Esther Perlstein and Harry Pomerance on March 2, 1913, he later lived in Greenwich Village and in Great Neck.

At 16 he earned steamship passage to Argentina as a ship’s baker. A lively, keenly observant and thoughtful man, he later worked as an architectural assistant in Manhattan, a building supervisor and at a Dutch production studio. He became expert in the then new field of stop-motion photography, skillfully producing work that appeared in many classic television commercials. During WWII he was employed in a secret project manufacturing Norden bombsights.

Animated by a powerful sense of social justice, Pomerance ran supplies to aid the Republic during the 1936-’39 Spanish Civil War against fascism, and to raise awareness, drove an outsized Spanish ambulance through the narrow streets of lower Manhattan. Alarmed at bombsight factory workers’ exposure to dangerous solvents, he successfully pressed for safer conditions. In Greenwich Village, where he lived during the 1950s, he rallied opposition to plans that would have converted a substantial portion of Washington Square Park into a city bus lot. Later he helped found the Great Neck chapter of the activist nuclear arms control group SANE, judging it wise to keep no written records during the oppressive heyday of Joseph McCarthy.

Pomerance was also a gifted painter of urban landscapes and city buildings, exhibited in galleries, including a 2012 one-man show at Queensborough Community College.

Pomerance survived the death of his first wife, Hortense Baer and their son Joseph, and of his two brothers, Ralph and Bill. He is survived by a niece, Pam Steiner (Henry) and two nephews, Steven (Allyn) and Rafe (Lenore); numerous grand/great-grand nephews and nieces, and by his much beloved second wife Diane (Graszik), whom he met in 2004 and married in 2011.