Archive for the tag 'obits'

Richie Randazzo (Source:

The doorman from Avenue U who won the $5 million jackpot died from lung cancer last week.

Richie Randazzo, who had been battling the disease for a year, died on November 14 at age 50. His funeral mass was held at St. Simon & St. Jude Roman Catholic Church in Brooklyn at 11:45am today, according to Cusimano & Russo Funeral Home.

Randazzo spent most of his life opening doors at a posh Park Avenue building until he was catapulted to tabloid fame in 2008 for winning a $10 Set For Life scratch ticket – guaranteeing him $5000 a week for life.

After his win, things got complicated for the Gravesend native. Randazzo, who described himself as “New York’s most eligible bachelor,” said he intended to keep his $40,000 a year gig as a doorman, but he was fired after going on a gambling binge with his 23-year-old Swedish model girlfriend, Sabina Johansson. Their relationship ended shortly afterwards when Johansson was busted for promoting prostitution. One of Randazzo’s dreams was to make a name for himself in reality television, but after his diagnosis, Randazzo chose to spend the rest of his time close to home, reports the New York Post:

…he kept things simple and mostly tooled around Brooklyn, fishing in Sheepshead Bay or passing time with friends at Caffe Caggiano on Avenue U.

Last year, he said he was searching for the love of his life, while also forgoing a risky surgery for lung cancer.

“Things are always going to change. When you’re on a losing streak, you have to start winning,” Randazzo said from his boyhood home in Gravesend, where he lived even after the windfall.

Randazzo’s page was flooded with condolences Sunday. We are sure he will be missed.

Here’s an interview with Randazzo on Fox News shortly after his win:

Colgan (Source: P.S. 254)

Colgan (Source: P.S. 254)

Teachers, students and faculty gathered in the cafeteria of P.S. 254 (1801 Avenue Y) yesterday to honor the passing of a longtime school aide by renaming the facility Mary Colgan cafe in her memory.

Colgan served 43 years in the New York City school system, first at P.S. 52 on Nostrand Avenue, and then at P.S. 254, where she stayed for more than 33 years. She passed away from cancer on September 21, 2013.

The beloved school aide was born May 13, 1935, and grew up with a large family of 11 brothers and sisters. She married Ronald Colgan in 1955, and had two children, Donna and Ronald, who she raised in Sheepshead Bay. In addition to her six grandchildren, Colgan found herself with an even larger extended family – that of the entire P.S. 254 community – which grieved her passing.

The Tuesday ceremony featured student performances in her honor, while colleagues, students and her family shared recollections. In addition to renaming the cafeteria, the school is launching the “Mary Colgan – You Have to Believe Award,” which will be given to a student leader who fosters a positive attitude.

Here’s the statement from the school:

Mary Colgan’s NYCDOE Start of Employment was January 1, 1970 at PS 52, and then start of employment in our school, PS 254 was September 8, 1980. She worked in our school for over 33 years. She devoted a great amount of her life to providing the BEST opportunities to students in our school community. From ensuring a safe morning arrival, supervising breakfast being served, requesting busing for school/class trips, monitoring student daily attendance, to calculating after school snacks, calling parents, distributing/receiving/organizing important legal school documents to directing an Extra Curricular After-school program for the Greater Sheepshead Bay; she did it all and then some!

Mary Colgan’s face, spirited voice, and her passionate work mostly took place in our school cafeteria each day. She ensured the safety of our students who arrived early on the school bus, that those students who needed to eat breakfast, did so, timely and that they had enough recess-time before morning line-up at 8am.

Mary was an active, outspoken member of several school committees such as: the SLT, Safety/BRT, Attendance and subcommittee member for various school Performances, such as a Ticket Agent/Distributor and Collector, Ice Cream Purchaser and School Trip Coordinator. She also believed in the importance of UNITY. She diligently represented and supported school DC37 Union members as their Shop Steward. These are just few titles and duties Mary Colgan upheld to the best of her ability however, she did WAY MORE than just maintain these responsibilities.

Mary added joy and sometimes a sprinkle of humor to the school’s Main Office as she sat at her desk situated at the very front counter. She welcomed concerned parents, visitors of many titles; from Mom, Dad, Sibling or Relative to Superintendent, District Representative, Salesperson, Prospective Educator, Substitute or Teaching Observers completing their Educational Prep Courses. Mary was the First Impression of the Heart of our school. She demonstrated the general pulse of the school without hesitation as guests arrived. She always remembered that she herself was a Mother, Sister, Aunt, Grandmother, and Wife and therefore treated our guests as if they were a member of this school family. She never hesitated to help ANYONE or to give a SWEET TREAT to someone in our school community.

Her passion was for the child who needed it the most. Whether their needs included: nurturing, daily structure, routine, a commanding voice, a soft voice with a Grandma-like hug telling them that they are special, a coat, supplies, or some extra food; Mary gave it to them! At times she may have said “I don’t care!” The reality is, she DID care and sometimes she cared so much that she was frustrated with the limited outcomes or results she saw in short time periods. She ALWAYS gave to those special students that may have been looked at as needing a little more than the norm because they held a special place in her heart as she did in theirs!!!!

Mary rarely missed work unless she had to go shopping for more matching JETS or METS apparel to wear on T-Shirt Tuesday. However, on a more serious note, Mary worked through her colds, coughs and illnesses. She truly LOVED coming to our school each and every day. She was frustrated and saddened when she took ill and just couldn’t beat the discomfort she was in. Each day, she attempted to continue to walk the 12 blocks to and from home to get to work. She finally gave in and accepted car rides from her colleagues at least on the days of inclement weather. Mary fought through and made her impact on all of us in our school community, all the way up to the very last day of the 2012-13 School Year.

When we think of Mary Colgan… we think of a STRONG-MINDED, PASSIONATE WOMAN, who was a DEDICATED, ORGANIZED, HARD WORKER, with PRIDE and CONFIDENCE. She was a SPORTS FAN, DAILY NEWS Reader, SMOKER, LOUD & OUTSPOKEN, TELL-YOU-LIKE-SHE-SEES-IT kind of woman. She was SELFLESS and GENEROUS, THOUGHTFUL, THOROUGHLY ENCOURAGING, SUPPORTIVE and truly a GREAT FRIEND! We were very fortunate to have had her in our school community for such a long period of time.

Mary Colgan is and will always be missed at PS 254 but she will remain in our hearts and memories.

Ed Eisenberg at the 2010 Sheepshead Bay Memorial Day Parade

For more than 40 years he was entwined in the fabric of the Southern Brooklyn community. He was ever-present at community meetings, where he was frequently recognized for stellar attendance. He was a member of numerous civic groups; so many that no one can list them all. He rubbed elbows, and sometimes chewed out, politicians including every Brooklyn borough president from Howard Golden to Eric Adams, and too many councilmembers, state legislators and congressmen to count. He charmed with self-deprecating jokes, and had a habit of starting conversations smack-dab in the middle of it. And he loved his local parks, his waterfront and his community up until he drew his final breath.

Longtime community activist Edward “Eddie” Eisenberg passed away yesterday afternoon at the age of 79 years old, after being admitted to Maimonides Medical Center with heart-related complications.

“It was just his biggest passion to have everything clean and safe around here. To the very end. Lord knows, even when he was losing it at the end, he wanted his attache case because he had the results of the previous Community Board elections in there,” said Leigh Eisenberg, 42, the younger of Eisenberg’s two sons.

Born in Flatbush in 1934, Eisenberg attended private high schools before obtaining an associate degree at New York City College of Technology in Brooklyn.

Eisenberg in Fort Ord, Salinas, California

As armistice negotiations were being finalized on the Korean peninsula, Eisenberg enlisted in the United States Army and served at Fort Ord in Salinas, California, where he worked as an information specialist from 1954 to 1956.

He returned to his home borough and began his career as a salesman of packaging supplies. He met his wife, Eileen, now 74, at a singles event and the two married in 1965. They moved to Manhattan Beach shortly afterwards.

Eisenberg took to civic involvement in his adopted neighborhood with a fervor “as soon as they moved into the neighborhood,” said Leigh. “He loved Manhattan Beach and he really just always wanted to see it well maintained and safe from the moment he moved into the area.”

No one can recall exactly when he joined Community Board 15, but the lowest estimates of his tenure from friends and family put it at 38 years, easily making him the longest-serving member of the 50-person body – and perhaps the most passionate.

“I just remember as a little kid, he was so involved taking us kids fishing at Kingsborough Community College, sharing his passion for the water around the neighborhood. He just couldn’t help out in the community enough,” said Leigh.

His chief concern, Scavo said, was in lobbying the city to invest in parks.

“He always, always wanted parks – that was his shtick in life. Not transportation, parks. That was it. Every meeting, you had to support the parks, he was very, very, very involved with Parks Department issues,” said Scavo. “He was always crazed with parks.”

Former Councilman Lew Fidler, who recommended Eisenberg for reappointment to the Board in recent years, added that Eisenberg stood out for his eagerness to go above and beyond in considering Board matters.

“He was always vocal about getting to the bottom of every land use issue that came before the Board. He was so committed that when an application came before the Board he would visit the site and talk to neighbors about what they thought about the project,” said Fidler. “It really didn’t matter to him if it was across the street in Manhattan Beach or all the way in Homecrest. It makes you wonder how good a Community Board could be if every member took it as seriously as Ed.”

Local elected officials have issued statements on Eisenberg’s passing.

Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz posted on Facebook:

He knew the details of every community meeting and neighborhood event, almost before they were scheduled. He was generous of spirit, always eager to help and ferociously proud of the community he called home. My condolences to his wife, Eileen, and everyone who knew and loved him. Ed, you will be sorely missed but never forgotten.

Councilman Chaim Deutsch said the following in a press release:

“I’ve known Ed for a long time, and have always admired the passion he held for his favorite part of Brooklyn,” said Council Member Chaim Deutsch. “My thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, his two sons, and all the friends he’s left behind. Manhattan Beach will never be the same.”

Borough President Eric Adams issued a statement as well:

My sincerest condolences go to out to Ed’s wife, children and relatives, as well as the larger South Brooklyn family that knew and loved his commitment to the community. From his service to our country to his deep civic engagement, Ed left a legacy for all of us to admire. He was the epitome of the volunteer spirit, an example for Brooklynites today and tomorrow to follow.

Eisenberg’s idiosyncrasies and sense of humor will be as well remembered as his advocacy.

“Ed was, if nothing else, a unique character,” Fidler remembered. “And for whatever else people want to say about Ed, he really cared about his community and his family. He used to speak about his son in Australia all the time. Quirky, of course, but you couldn’t really question where his heart was. Community was his whole life outside his family.”

Scavo remembers the costumes, stuff of legend among those involved in local civic life. Eisenberg kept a closet full of costumes, which he donned at annual gatherings over the years.

“Night Out Against Crime was always the Keystone Cop. When it came to Memorial Day, he always used to pull out Army uniforms. He always had Halloween masks and costumes, and no matter what he had a costume to go with that occasion,” she said.

His quirks did not escape his family’s notice, and they remain fond memories in the wake of his passing.

“Everyone knew him. Lord knows the man was eccentric but he had a heart as big as the moon and everyone knew it,” said Leigh Eisenberg.

Eisenberg is survived by his wife, Eileen; his eldest son, Glenn, 46, who with his wife Simone gave Eisenberg a grandson, Aaron, 2; and his youngest son, Leigh, who with his wife Jill gave Eisenberg two granddaughters, Raya, 11, and Anissa, 9. Eisenberg is also survived by his sisters Marianne and Lisa, and his brother Steve.

A service will be held for Ed Eisenberg on Tuesday, March 4, at 1:00 p.m. at Parkside Memorial Chapels (2576 Flatbush Avenue, at the corner of Avenue V). The family has chosen not to direct donations, saying that Ed had cared for too many things to pick just one, and requested that anyone wishing to make a donation send them to any community-oriented charities or groups.

Update (March 3 at 2:30 p.m.): A statement from Borough President Eric Adams was added to this post.

Jeffrey Babbitt in a recent photo taken by neighbor Robert Pizzimenti, via Newsday.

Jeffrey Babbitt in a recent photo taken by neighbor Robert Pizzimenti, via Newsday.

Jeffrey Babbitt, the victim of a deranged assault by 31-year-old Lashawn Marten, died yesterday at the age of 62. A New York Times obituary noted the deep sense of loss felt by Babbitt’s friends and family, who remembered Babbitt as a gentle and sweet man.

Yesterday, we reported on the incident that put Babbitt in a coma that eventually led to his death. Babbitt, a retired train conductor, was walking through Union Square last Wednesday when Marten announced his intention to attack a white person. Babbitt was struck and fell to the pavement, cracking his skull. He was bleeding heavily and was subsequently declared brain dead at Bellevue Hospital. A recent report by CBS noted that Marten is homeless and started to complain that nobody wanted to play chess with him, leading to his outburst. The Times went into further detail on Marten’s life:

Mr. Marten, who is black, has also gone by the alias Martin Redrick and listed a different birth date, the police said. He was living in supported housing for formerly homeless people and those with psychiatric disabilities provided by the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services, said Shelley Ruchti, the group’s chief communications officer. She declined to describe the reason for his living there.

The Times obituary noted that Babbitt, a Sheepshead Bay resident, loved to visit Forbidden Planet near Union Square to buy comic books and chat up the employees, with whom he had a friendly relationship with. Jeff Ayers, the manager at Forbidden Planet said he knew Babbitt for years and expressed his sadness over the loss to the Times.

“He was just a really, really, really sweet guy,” Ayers, told the Times. “One of our staff just had a baby and he was dying to see pictures.”

He lived with his 94-year-old mother, Lucille, serving as her primary caregiver. The Times described Babbitt’s friendly relationship with his neighbors in his Ocean Avenue apartment building:

On Monday evening, many residents at Mr. Babbitt’s modest brick apartment building on Ocean Avenue in Sheepshead Bay had something nice to say about him, and could only shake their heads at the senselessness of his death.

“He was as good as good can be,” said Audrey Feifer, 75. “This should never have happened, no matter what color this person is.”

Ms. Feifer said Mr. Babbitt, who she said moved to the neighborhood from Florida about 20 years ago, used to insist on giving her rides to bus stops or to buy doughnuts.

Inside the apartment that Mr. Babbitt shared with his mother, Ms. Feifer said, he kept model steam locomotives, stacks of magazines about trains, and many comic books. He often wore shirts showing pictures of fairies and once drove Ms. Feifer out of state to join him at a Fairy-Con gathering, a festival for people who celebrate fairies.

A sister, his only sibling, helped Mr. Babbitt care for their mother, but she died from cancer about two years ago, Ms. Feifer said, and Mr. Babbitt took over all the caretaking responsibilities.

He did not seem to mind, neighbors said.

“He’d say, ‘Hi, Mom!’ so loud everybody could hear it,” said Igor Sapozhnikov, 56. “He loved his mother, and his mother loved him very well.”

CThe employees at Forbidden Planet are planning to set up a fund to continue providing for Babbitt’s mother’s care.

“We’re a community here,” Ayers told the Times. “These are people whose lives we’re tied to.”

(UPDATE: 11:58 a.m.): Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz sent Sheepshead Bites a press release lamenting the passing of Babbitt and noting that he was a frequent visitor to his office.

“Jeffrey was a constituent of mine in Sheepshead Bay and a frequent visitor to my district office for the last 13 years with his elderly mother, Lucille, and his sister, Sue, who passed away a couple of years ago. He was friendly and good-natured, the kind of constituent you remember,” Cymbrowitz wrote.

Cymbrowitz added his hopes that Babbitt’s attacker will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Mickey Rose (far left) at his wedding to his wife Judith. Woody Allen and actress Louise Lasser pictured on the right. Source:

Mickey Rose and Woody Allen met in an art class at Midwood High School more than 60 years ago, starting a lifelong friendship and collaboration that included some of Woody’s most hilarious films. Rose died over the weekend at the age of 77 from colon cancer, according to a report by The New York Times.

Rose, along with Allen, was one of America’s preeminent comedy writers. For years he wrote jokes for Johnny Carson during his Tonight Show run. Michael Barrie, who worked on Carson’s venerable talk show, which ran for 30 years from 1962 to 1992, said that Rose was “a comedy writer’s comedy writer.”

With Allen, Rose helped write “What’s Up Tiger Lily?” (1966), “Take the Money and Run” (1969) and “Bananas” (1971); all early classics from the era when Allen wasn’t yet known for more cerebral films.

“Mickey was one of the funniest humans I know, a true original and a total eccentric and a wonderful first baseman,” said Allen this week, in a statement released by his biographer.

According to the Times, Rose and Allen remained lifelong friends:

Mr. Allen and Mr. Rose had talked on the phone as often as once a week, and when Mr. Allen visited Beverly Hills he often wandered over to Mr. Rose’s house and knocked on the door.

They conversed several times in the days before Mr. Rose’s death, Quincy Rose said. They talked about sports, old friends and, as the son recalled, an existential question, posed by Mr. Allen: “Are you scared?”

Rose is survived by his daughter Jennifer, son Quincy (named for the Bed-Stuy street he grew up on) and two grandchildren.

Former NYC Mayor, Edward I. Koch, 1924-2013. Source: adam.luis.amengual / Flickr

Of all the elected officials I have known personally — with the exception of former Congressman Stephen Solarz for whom I once performed an internship during his first term as assemblyman for the 45th Assembly District — I’ve had the most personal contact with our former mayor, Ed Koch.

My First Encounter

It was 1969. One year before my college internship with Solarz. Unsurprisingly, I chose transportation as my topic for a political science school paper at Hunter College, where I did my undergraduate work. I wanted to write about what the federal government was doing to improve mass transit and someone suggested I see the local congressman whose office was located on Second Avenue, in the upper seventies. I was skeptical of obtaining any information because I did not reside in the “silk stocking” district, as the Upper East Side was then called. I was told that the congressman’s name was Ed Koch, a name I had never heard before. I was told he was active in introducing legislation to help mass transit and that’s why I should see him.

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Famed Brooklyn author Sol Yurick passed away at the age of 87 this past Saturday according to the New York Daily News. Yurick is most famous for writing The Warriors, a 1965 novel – and, later, cult move – about a Brooklyn gang viciously battling their way through the borough on their way home to Coney Island.

The movie grew into a huge cult success in years subsequent to its release. earning a 94 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Yurick, born to working class Jewish immigrants in the Bronx in 1925, made Brooklyn his home when he moved to Park Slope in 1958. He worked as a social investigator for the Department of Welfare, observing the rhythms of the streets and underclasses that informed the vibrancy of his writing.

Yurick moved to Prospect-Lefferts Gardens in 1985 where he lived for the rest of his life. He is survived by his wife Adrienne and his daughter Susanna.

Stella Angel with her daughter (center) and neighborhood girls in front of their Sheepshead Bay Road storefront.

Click to enlarge.

When Arielle Angel’s grandmother, Stella, passed away, she wrote the obituary. Angel, a Brooklyn-based writer, didn’t plan for a home for the obituary. It was written for family and close friends. When the obituary landed in our inbox, it found a home.

Stella Angel lived in Sheepshead Bay. She owned and operated a local grocery with her husband, David Angel here. She raised a family at East 6th Street and Avenue Z because her own extended family, the Rosas, all lived within walking distance.

Their store, Bay Food Market, was bought from a guy named Mario. No one seems to recall his last name now.

It stood across the street from Dan’s Supreme, a larger supermarket that could have put the mom-and-pop bodega out of business. Instead, the two groceries competed for customers. For years, the Angels engaged in price wars and forewent but little profit. They almost always set their closing time an hour later than Dan’s.

My grandmother, Stella Angel, who lived and worked in Sheepshead Bay from the time of her immigration to the United States in 1952 until her retirement in the early 1980s, died in her sleep last Saturday morning. She was 93-years-old.

She was born Stella Rosa in Salonika, Greece, in 1920, the middle child of five in a middle-class family. Like all of the Rosa men, her father was a butcher. Salonika was a unique Jewish community; its members were descendants of those who had fled the Spanish Inquisition, and they still kept a medieval dialect of Spanish called Ladino as their language.

Keep reading Arielle’s touching obituary

Source: Brooklyn Cyclones

Warner Fusselle, the only man to have ever called the play-by-plays for the Brooklyn Cyclones (1904 Surf Avenue), passed away a week shy of what would have been his 12th Opening Day since the inception of the team.

“We are deeply saddened by the news of Warner’s passing,” said Cyclones General Manager Steve Cohen. “There is no one who knew more – or cared more – about baseball in Brooklyn than Warner. His distinctive voice, knowledge and endless passion for the game enriched Brooklyn Cyclones baseball for our players, staff, and fans from day one and his presence will be sorely missed.”

The sports announcer was born in Louisville, Kentucky, and raised in Gainsville, Georgia. He has had a long career in sports radio as well as television. He voiced the show “This Week In Baseball,” and called the plays for the Seton Hall Pirates; the Richmond Braves; the Spartanburg Phillies; and the ABA’s Virgina Squires.

Besides sports, his great passion was music.

The “Fuse,” as he was nicknamed, died on Sunday night from an apparent heart attack at just 68-years-old.

Borough President Marty Markowitz issued the following statement after news broke of Fusselle’s death:

For fans of our beloved Brooklyn Cyclones, the voice of Warner Fusselle has been silenced after 11 years of passionate and knowledgeable play-by-play from the ‘Catbird Seat’ at MCU Park and, before that, Keyspan Park on Coney Island. Fusselle was a native Kentuckian raised in Georgia, but Brooklynites embraced him as one of their own after he became the voice of the Cyclones at their very beginning in 2001. They call me Mr. Brooklyn, but Warner Fusselle was Mr. Baseball here in Brooklyn, and our prayers and condolences go out to the entire Cyclones organization as well as Fusselle’s sister, two nephews and all of his friends and colleagues who are mourning the passing of “The Fuse.”

As the only voice Cyclones’ fans ever knew, his will be a tough act to follow.

The Manhattan Beach Community Group notified the community of the death of Emanuel “Manny” Kahn, a community activist involved in the group. They wrote on their website:

The MBCG was notified of the passing of Emanuel “Manny” Kahn this past Saturday. He was a member of our group for many many years before he and his wife moved to Florida a few years ago.

Manny was committed to our community and to our group in many ways. His dedication to helping his neighbors and the many visitors to our Beach and Parks is unparalleled. Manny was chair of the Parks Committee and dedicated to making our neighborhood a welcoming experience to all who visited. He was also the first to develop a website for our group. He was involved with countles activities and always ready to get involved.

Manny was missed when he moved and now he will be missed forever. His many good deeds are an inspiration to his family and to all of us.

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