Rabbi Abraham Abraham. Source: The Village Voice
Southern Brooklyn has a lot less spirit this morning, as a kindly Herculean rabbi — infamous for donning bright orange Speedos while plunging every New Year’s Day into the freezing Atlantic waters off Brighton Beach, and who once froze himself for 54 hours and 54 minutes in an ice shack in a bid to outdo magician David Blaine — has died.
The silver-haired Rabbi Abraham Abraham, a fabled member of the Coney Island Ice-Breakers and local legend known throughout Brighton Beach, Coney Island and Sheepshead Bay, whose uniquely molded facial hair earned him top honors one year in Coney Island’s beard competition, was beloved for his inexorably adventurous nature and uncanny ability to bring a smile to the face of young and old alike, with his trademark aphorism: “Thank you for being you.”
Keep reading about the extraordinary life of Rabbi Abraham Abraham.
Capt. Robert Sapanara of the Brooklyn VI (Source: NYTimes.com)
New York Times published a beautiful tribute to Chuck Geller, a local fisherman and World War II veteran, who passed away earlier this week. Here’s an excerpt:
At nearby piers, other fishing boats bobbed idly. As sunlight broke through the windows of the charter boat, the Brooklyn VI, its disappointed crew settled into the passenger booths and talked about loss: of the customers who once filled the fishing boats all year round, of the neighborhood’s vanishing landmarks, of a freedom to drift at sea without tightening government restrictions.
But mostly they talked about their friend Julius Geller, a former bomber pilot and an incurable lifetime angler who had died two days earlier, a week before he was to turn 94.
For decades, Mr. Geller was a constant, welcome presence on Brooklyn’s fishing boats. For years, he sat at a table in the cabin of the Brooklyn VI playing poker with a group of regulars as they sailed to the best fishing spots, like 17 Fathoms or Mud Buoy.
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We spotted the following note on Noreast.com, a forum for the region’s fishermen, about Chuck Geller, a frequent character aboard the Brooklyn VI and other vessels:
Received news this morning, a good friend by the name Chuckie Geller had passed away this morning. Chuckie had been a fixture in the bay for many years. For those who knew him, he sailed on many boats, the Tampa’s, Pasttime, the Big M, the Brooklyn’s and countless others before my time.
A great fisherman, card player, a B-17 fighter pilot and a true gentleman. I learned alot from this guy, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who will miss him dearly. My deepest condolences to his family. Rest in peace my friend.
Captain Mike from the Brooklyn VI posted this to the board:
CHUCK WAS A AWESOME GUY!!!I NEW CHUCK SINCE I WAS A LITTLE BOY HE WAS A GREAT FLUKER HE SPENT THE LAST FEW YEARS WITH US ON THE BROOKLYN HANGING IN THE PILOT HOUSE KEEPING ME COMPANY AND TELLING ME OLD STORYS OF THE BAY
CHUCK WILL BE MISSED BY ALL ESPECIALLY THE CREW FROM THE BROOKLYN VI
YOU WILL ALWAYS BE IN OUR THOUGHTS AND PRAYS WE WILL ALWAYS MISS YOU CHUCK
If you knew Geller and would like to share your memories, feel free to do so in the comments.
Jeremiah “Jerry” O’Shea, the former chairperson of Community Board 15, died on Sunday. In addition to his role on the Community Board, where he was also treasurer for 15 years, O’Shea served as director of the Brooklyn Housing and Family Services for 26 years, a tenants rights group originally founded by Marty Markowitz as the Flatbush Tenants Council. He was also a member of the Housing Court Advisory Council, which interviews judges seeking court appointment or requesting a renewal of their terms.
To mark his passing, we’ve asked current chairperson Theresa Scavo to write a few words in remembrance:
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The Bay Improvement Group is holding a memorial service for the artist behind a mural on East 15th Street off Sheepshead Bay Road.
The group is gathering on Sunday, November 7, at noon to remember the life and work of Faith Palmer-Persen, who died of cancer just before New Years. Palmer-Persen was commissioned by BIG in the 1990s to do the work, and the group regularly cleans and restores it.
Family and friends of the artist will be in attendance, and the entire community is invited to join them for the service.
David Simpson / Source: DailyItem.com
We received the following e-mail last week from reader Greg Keely. His girlfriend’s father, a Vietnam veteran of the Marines, passed away. Financially drained by a prolonged battle with cancer, the family of this serviceman is not able to meet the monetary requirements of the funeral home for a proper send off. It’s a sad reminder that not all of our veterans are honored the way they deserve to be, and it’s your chance to help.
Here is the letter:
My girlfriend, Julie Simpson, and I are current Sheepshead Bay residents. Recently she got the news that her father, who was in a nursing home, had gotten very ill. He was suffering with cancer for a while. She went to Pennsylvania to stay with him in his last days. On Wednesday, September 8 at 3:05 am, he passed away, with her by his side.
He didnt have any life insurance, and left very little money behind. She also has very little money to pay towards the Funeral Home. The funeral home, as of now, will not release his ashes, or his death certificate until the bill is paid in full.
He was a Vietnam Vet, and unfortunately the veterans association would not be paying towards his cremation.
I set up a paypal donation page, so people would be able to help her out, if they wanted.
And here’s a bit from his obituary:
David K. Simpson, 63, formerly of 245 Market St., Sunbury, passed away after a prolonged battle with cancer at 3:05 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2010, at the Bloomsburg Health Care Center where he had been a patient since May.
He was born Dec. 26, 1946, in Sunbury, a son of the late Alfred and Viola May (McCloud) Simpson. He resided in Sunbury for most of his life.
He was a veteran of the Marine Corps and served during the Vietnam War.
David was employed at Keystone Forge and Milton Steel for a number of years before retirement.
David was a life member of the Fraternal Order of the Eagles 503, the Goodwill Hose Company, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1532, all of Sunbury.
Please consider helping out a Sheepshead Bay neighbor and honoring the service of David Simpson.
Captain Anne O’Driscoll, former president of the Sheepshead Bay Fishing Fleet Association, passed away at 53 years of age from cancer-related complications on Monday, September 6.
Steve Barrison, friend of O’Driscoll and president of Bay Improvement Group, sent us the following letter yesterday:
It is with great sadness that I inform you that Anne O’Driscoll died yesterday as a result of complications brought on by cancer. I just found out; she was a long-time hard-working faithful BIG Board member and past President of the Sheepshead Bay Fishing Fleet Association and did a lot for the Bay and us at BIG during the last three decades! Her dedication and knowledge of the waterfront not just in Sheepshead Bay but all of NYC was unsurpassed. Her father James, Uncle Jerry & Uncle Jeremiah O’Driscoll were the founders of the famed Circle Line.
Anne worked very hard to help organize the fully orchestrated Blessing of the Fleet (back when there was a sizable fishing fleet). She was dedicated to the rebuilding of the fishing piers, not once but TWICE! Anne warned us about the appropriate dredging of the Sheepshead Bay channel in the Bay, the Plumb Beach Shore Line, the Kingsboro point at the entrance to the Bay Harbor, the unofficial North Channel as well as how to protect the underpinning of the Belt Parkway. She was instrumental in our set up and arranging for the purchase of the “right” vessel for our BIG SPLASH (Stop Polluting Littering And Save Harbor) program, which funding dried up and we never finished.
Anne had a lifetime of advocating for a true working waterfront and the economic riches that are lost from NYC’s abandonment of that to a passive soft use, paving the way for walkways, benches and light water related uses. Anne understood and pushed for water ferries long before the current waterways and other operators. Her passion throughout her life for helping in the many waterfront preservation battles and restoration projects will be missed hugely by all, whether they knew her or not.
There will not be any funeral as per Anne’s wishes. Her brother Kevin and I spoke of spreading her ashes in the ocean from Sheepshead Bay perhaps in October; details will be announced as soon as I know them as the family wishes. Our most sincere condolences go out to the family.
Capt. Anne O’Driscoll – May 9, 1957- September 6, 2010
Please feel free to leave any memories of O’Driscoll in the comments section below.
We received the following note from the Daily News, via Madison-Marine-Homecrest Civic Association (MMH):
BUCKLEY — James J. On July 16, 2010. Proprietor of Buckley’s restaurant & Caterers of Brooklyn and Kennedy’s Restaurant of Breezy Point. Devoted son of the late Martin & Kathleen (nee Leonard). Beloved husband of Kathleen (nee Casey). Loving father of Christine Strehle (John), James (Margaret) and Kathy Ann Murray (Martin). Dear brother of Mary Williams, Kathleen Greenlay, Elizabeth Black, Margaret Baldinger, Martin, Helen Smith, Anne and Joanie. Cherished grandfather of 16. Funeral Tuesday, 9 A.M. from the MARINE PARK FUNERAL HOME, 3024 Quentin Road, Bklyn. Funeral Mass 10 A.M. at Good Shepherd R.C. Church. Interment St. Charles Cemetery. Visiting Sun. & Mon., 2-5 & 7-9 P.M. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: Heartshare Human Services, 12 Metrotech Center, Brooklyn, NY 11201.
MMH added the following sentiments:
On behalf of the Madison-Marine-Homecrest Civic Association, I would like to offer sincere condolences to the Buckley family on the passing of Jim. “Buckley’s” has been a tremendous presence and very successful restaurant, catering venue and tavern in this neighborhood, since Jim and his wife, Kathleen, established it over 30 years ago. He was someone who cared about and supported many community organizations and activities. He will be greatly missed. We pray for the family in this time of grief, and wish his children all the best in continuing the success and traditions of their parents’ business.
Please share your memories of Mr. Buckley and the restaurant in the comments section.
We received this in our inbox over the weekend. Anyone with memories of Mr. Marconi are welcome to share them in the comments section.
MARCONI— Sal. Born in Brooklyn 1922. Paratrooper in WW11, served in the South Pacific Credited with fourteen jumps: New Guinea, Luzon, Manila, Okinawa & Leyte. New car dealer in Sheepshead Bay in 1960: President Kiwanis Club 1966, Director Automobile Dealers Association 1968, President Chamber of Commerce 1970, Commodore Belle Harbor Yacht Club 1975, served on the board of Wheatley Hills Golf Club and on the Exec. Board of the Angel Guardian Home and a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Williston Park, N.Y. He will be lovingly remembered by his wife of 62 years, Dolly, his four children Laura (Dale) Laderach, Peter (Elizabeth), Bart (Kathleen) and Chris (Ruth) his grandchildren Alison Culver, Todd Laderach, Gregory, Kathryn Ann, Carolyn, Michael, Annemarie and John and his great-grandchildren Nicholas and Madison Culver and his sister Nancy DeMatteis. Reposing WEIGAND BROS., 49 Hillside Ave., Williston Park, N.Y. Funeral Mass Mon., 9:45 A.M. Corpus Christi R.C. Church, Mineola, N.Y. Visiting hours Sunday 2-5 & 7-9 P.M. In lieu of flowers donations may be forwarded to the Calvary Fund, 1740 Eastchester Road, Bronx, N.Y. 10461: In Memory of Sal Marconi.
(l. to r.): Mary Powell, Pastor Ron Weinbaum of the King's Chapel, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Ed Jaworski at MMHCA's 2009 Holiday Party
Mary Powell, the long-time president of the Madison-Marine-Homecrest Civic Association, passed away on February 12 at Beth Israel Hospital/Kings Highway Division as a result of a stroke suffered on February 9.
Born September 17, 1918 , Brooklyn native Mary Quinn Powell set an example of dignity and dogged determination that was inspirational to all who knew her throughout her 91 years.
Early suffering did little to temper Powell’s spirit. As a child, she survived a bout with tuberculosis and being in a coma after getting hit by a car. At 11 years old, she lost her beloved oldest brother to blood poisoning after a strep infection. Still, she graduated from Manual Training High School (now John Jay) and went on to attend community college while she began working in New York. When her family moved upstate, she stayed in Brooklyn to work and carve out a life of her own, despite family protests of a young woman living alone. She was not alone for long, as she married within the next few years and began to raise a family while continuing to work at companies like Lederle Labs.
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