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ZIPPORAH PORTUGAL (3/8/1943 - 11/11/2020)
ZIPPORAH PORTUGAL (3/8/1943 - 11/11/2020)




Zipporah died on November 11, 2020 at Calvary Hospital Hospice, in Brooklyn. She had been battling a recurrence of breast cancer for over a year and finally decided to forgo further treatment at the beginning of October. She was fortunate to have had many friends and relatives who visited her in her final months and remained lucid until her last day, albeit very sedated. Shortly after her passing, a Zoom call was held as her memorial due to Covid restrictions. During this virtual gathering, many who participated recalled her gift of connecting with people, her unfailing sense of justice, and her always-caring spirit. Following the service, it was decided that an in-person memorial would be held in the spring in Prospect Park, where a tree would be planted in her memory. Such a tribute will be fitting because Zipporah loved Nature and visited the park and Botanical Gardens often. The date and time for this ceremony will be announced later. 


Zipporah grew up in New York City and entered the Peace Corps at an early age. She was assigned to a village in Thailand, where she taught English. After completing her assignment, she moved to San Francisco and lived there for some time before returning home. During this period, she lived in Greenwich Village and worked in several graphic studios. Later in her career, she joined Care for the Homeless, in Manhattan, in an administrative capacity. During our friendship, she rarely spoke about her work, but it was apparent to me that her sense of caring for the less fortunate was always a factor in the life-choices she came to make over the years. 


I’m not sure when Zipporah moved to Park Slope. However, during her memorial, a young man who lived in her building on Berkeley Place spoke about being on the Coop board with her for many years. He came to regard her, he said, as family. During her time in Park Slope, she was active in the Food Coop and became a strong advocate for eating healthy foods. When I met her at the YMCA on 9th St., she had been formally retired for some time, but had started a babysitting service. Her business card featured a whimsical pen and ink drawing of her and advertised her as someone who could be a substitute loving grandparent for kids who were living away from their extended families. Zipporah never married or had children, but clearly enjoyed being a sort of Mary Poppins-figure to the children for whom she cared. She delighted in taking her charges to concerts and in finding special gifts that they would enjoy. One of her long-time friends has said that she believes that caring for children was Zipporah’s true calling. 


Zipporah loved music and played her grand piano beautifully, even continuing to take lessons from a beloved teacher in the year before she died. Our friendship began by her asking if I’d be interested in playing duets together, which became a joy for both of us. As we got to know each other, she also shared information about activities and organizations she thought might interest me, including Good Neighbors of Park Slope. As I later discovered, I was not the only one she helped in this way. Many friends who spoke during her memorial service fondly recalled how she had touched them in supportive ways. 


No remembrance would be complete without mentioning Zipporah’s cats, Lola and Carmencita. They were her constant companions and her children in some sense. One of the hardest things for her at the end of her life was being separated from them. Thankfully, a neighbor in her building offered to adopt both of them, and that greatly eased her mind. 

Zipporah will be missed by her many friends and relatives, but her spirit will remain with all who were fortunate enough to know her. 


– Mary Jo Strickland 

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JIMMY LI July 14, 1949 - October 4, 2020
JIMMY LI July 14, 1949 - October 4, 2020


James Gamhing Li, AKA "Jimmy" died suddenly and unexpectedly the evening of October 4th at the age of 71.


Jimmy, my partner for 18 years, lived a rich and diverse life. He was born and raised in New York City. However, his grandfather came to the United States as a young man, by jumping ship in Canada and then traveling to the United States, to obtain citizenship and make a home here.  


His grandfather left his son, Ging, in China, but when Ging was 10 the grandfather sent for him. The boy who knew no English arrived in California with a tag around his neck with his father's name and address in New York City. Somehow he made his way alone to the Big Apple to join his father, and the two of them worked 3 jobs a day to make a home, send money back to the family in China and start a laundry business. When Ging himself became a young man he returned to China for a brief visit. His mother (Jimmy's grandmother) found him a 16-year-old bride and after a 3-day courtship, the young couple traveled back to New York. Jimmy was born a year later.


Jimmy spent his early days working in his family's laundry, going to public school and Chinese school, and immersing himself in American life. As all his friends knew, he had a quick and curious mind and was very personable. He loved talking to people and helping people.  He became a very successful salesman where he used his people skills to good advantage. He also became a tour guide on the NYC double-decker buses, his favorite job. There he regaled people with his humor and extensive knowledge, and enthusiasm about the wonders of New York City. Jimmy also studied acupuncture and massage therapy. And, If you told Jimmy you had a physical problem, he would research all the alternative methods of healing and send you an extensive list of possible cures.


As one of his friends said, Jimmy was a Renaissance Man. He loved to travel, he loved to read, he loved theatre, art, and music (especially Doo Wop) and he especially loved to cook. My kitchen is filled with myriad spices I don't know what to do with - but he did!  


In his later years, Jimmy attended many Senior Citizen Centers. He took numerous different classes there on all sorts of topics. Towards the end of his life, he began developing his creative and emotional side by taking Reiki, meditation, sound healing, creative writing, poetry, and humor workshops. 


Although Jimmy didn't talk about it, I believe he knew on some level he would be soon dying from underlying medical problems, and he prepared for it. We worked together on hosting an Aging and Transitions Group through Good Neighbors of Park Slope, where as a group we often spoke of our own mortality. We also worked together at the Life and Death Discussion Group sponsored by Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture. And he attended many seminars and death discussion groups on his own, often telling me that when he died he wanted a Green Burial. I honored that wish. We buried him in a bamboo casket in Rosendale Cemetery near New Paltz, New York where he blends in with the earth he loved.


Susan Bady

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Susan Brody 8/8/48 - 11/15/20
Susan Brody 8/8/48 - 11/15/20

Good Neighbors of Park Slope mourns the loss of our member Susan Brody, who passed away on November 15, 2020, at the age of 72. Susan grew up in Queens and became a high school English teacher, working for 34 years at South Shore High School, at Prospect Heights High School and finally at the Teacher Center where she taught NYC teachers how to teach. She was well-loved and sought after to help with problems.


She loved languages, and enjoyed spending every summer with her husband Joe Zarba at their home in Sicily. She also loved spending time with their children and 7 grandchildren.


Another great love for Susan was Shakespeare, and according to Joe, she “ate, slept and breathed Shakespeare”, reading and memorizing all of the plays. When Good Neighbors started a Shakespeare Reading Group in May, 2020 she was one of the first to register, and worked to learn to use Zoom so that she could be part of the weekly group. She is remembered by the teacher Jules Trachten and many of the group members as one of the most active and enthusiastic participants in the group, who frequently volunteered to read passages and asked and answered many questions. Jules adds: “I will always think back to her enthusiasm and eagerness. She even insisted that I send out class reminders two days early so that she would always be totally ready.”


She is survived by her loving husband Joe Zarba and his sons Zachary and Sacha, daughter Gillian, brother Robert and the seven grandchildren she cherished.

It has been a pleasure to know her and she will be missed.

Jules Trachten

Joyce Jed

Joe Zarba 




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William (Bill) Fink June 24, 1926 - June 7, 2020
William (Bill) Fink June 24, 1926 - June 7, 2020

William (Bill) Fink passed away on June 7, 2020 at the age of 93. He was born on June 24, 1926.


He had a full and long life. He worked hard, traveled and was a wonderful father to his two children, his grandchildren and his great grandchild. If any word could describe Bill it would be the word "educator". He loved teaching; from his profession as an industrial arts teacher in a city high school, his interest in cooking, in art, in music, in the fight for equality and the environment. He loved the ocean and fishing and would teach anybody who asked how to cast or bait a hook.


He had a quick wit, wrote many poems, and with a dry martini in hand was always ready for life's adventures. He will be missed.




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Kathy Sonderman Levine June 6, 1947 - April 13, 2020
Kathy Sonderman Levine June 6, 1947 - April 13, 2020
Kathy Sonderman Levine

We grieve the passing of Kathy Sonderman who died peacefully in her home on Ninth Street. Kathy was the wife of Bob Levine, and a loving mother to Brian and Emily. She had lived with Parkinson’s disease since 1986 and participated in their Unity Walk every year. As her illness progressed she bravely underwent groundbreaking surgeries involving implants of deep brain stimulators over a period of 20 years to slow down the progression of this terrible disease. Her brain was donated to the Neurological Institute at Columbia so that the research may help future patients with Parkinson’s.

Kathy led a very full life in Park Slope. She taught special ed in New York City public schools; she was an active congregant at Brooklyn Heights First Unitarian Church, enjoying many summer vacations with her family at Star Island, a close affiliate. She was a member of a local sewing group with her friends and she was an early organizer of a successful Park Slope babysitting group. Her volunteer work included the Cuddler program at Methodist Hospital helping to cuddle babies.

More recently Kathy attended many Good Neighbors events, despite being wheelchair-bound, with the devoted help of Bob. Our love and prayers go out to Bob, Brian and Emily at this sad time.

Jasmine Melzer and Pat Bernstein




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IN MEMORIAM: Jules Peemoeller 8/5/1937-11/19/2019
IN MEMORIAM: Jules Peemoeller 8/5/1937-11/19/2019

Jules obit

It is with great sadness that we mourn the death of Jules Peemoeller, a member of Good Neighbors of Park Slope and our friend.

 

Jules was engaged in the very early days of our organization's founding and began by playing scrabble!  He then took his long- time experience as a Big Apple Tour Leader and  volunteered to do tours for our members. The first offerings filled slowly but his reputation grew.  Within a few months, his tours were filled as quickly as they were posted.  He often repeated tours to certain areas of New York City to accommodate his followers. He reveled in the city’s neighborhoods and in the enjoyment experienced by the members that went on his tours.

   

Those who knew his art and saw it displayed at Good Neighbors events came to realize that he had taken his particular view of the various parks on his tours and had artfully transferred them through his work on paper.

 

He will be surely missed.




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IN MEMORIAM - Walter Bernard
IN MEMORIAM - Walter Bernard

Dick Nininger, colleagues and Good Neighbor friends mourn the passing of Walter Bernard. A sharecropper’s son, he was a man of culture,a creature of humble piety and soaring spirit, a story teller, a wit, a librarian and man of wisdom.  

Bob Ohlerking, a friend and neighbor remembers Walter as a friendly, sociable, genteel man of the South. "He would greet neighbors and passers-by with a great smile and a happy expression.   If you stopped to chat he would tell you of his day or his childhood in North Carolina.  His conversations with you would be peppered with quotations from the Bible studies from his early life as a son of sharecroppers or with quotations from the early Roman philosophers from his studies and work at Columbia University.   One always left encounters with him happier and enlightened."


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IN MEMORIAM: David Leveson 1934-2018.
IN MEMORIAM: David Leveson 1934-2018.

Good Neighbors of Park Slope mourns the loss of our member David Leveson, who passed away at home on March 15th, at the age of 84.  David was a unique individual, admired and loved by friends, colleagues, and students who collectively attended his standing-room only memorial service at our local Ethical Culture building in April.
 
Some people are smart, some are nice, some are fun to be with, -- David was all of these.  His career as a geology professor at Brooklyn College spanned half a century, combining research, development of on-line courses, and teaching. He was beloved by his students, this writer among them, and admired by his fellow faculty members.
 
David was passionate about teaching, and assiduously avoided the departmental chairmanship, despite his seniority, in order to maintain contact with his students. His devotion to teaching is indirectly illustrated by a few quotes from the "Rate My Professor" web site:
 
            Guy's awesome, really cool Brit, …
 
            Brilliant! A wonderful prof. who really knows how to teach.
               
Very nice man, he is one of the best profs. in the Geo department. He really knows how to teach and make everything easy to understand. GREAT Professor. A MUST take!!
 
Open minded and sincere, when he is wrong unlike most of his colleagues he recognizes that he was wrong!!!! When he doesn't know the answer he doesn't try to baffle you with outlandish stuff, instead he does say that he doesn't know the answer, and he investigates it with you! GREAT SCHOLAR.
 
He is so old! I feel sorry that he's still teaching. Nice man.
 
David was an accomplished photographer and author. In 1972 his first book "A Sense of the Earth”, published in 1971, was nominated for a National Book Award and is still in print today.  Upon his retirement from Brooklyn College in 2007 he and his wife Meg joined a group of artists to found The Longyear Gallery, located in Margaretville, NY, a mile from their beloved Weedwild country home, where he and Meg enjoyed over four decades of rural retreat, along with their  cats, their daughter Bessie, and numerous guests. A special thrill was being with Bessie and Will’s adorable daughter Annabelle.
 
David continued to write and, upon his death, had completed two books, one of which was a partly fictionalized memoir he had been working on for over 50 years. 

He will continue to be deeply missed by all who knew him.
 
Arnold Wendroff


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IN MEMORIAM: Sheila Hanks Jan 13, 1939 - March 15, 2018
IN MEMORIAM: Sheila Hanks Jan 13, 1939 - March 15, 2018



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IN MEMORIAM: Tom Hanks, May 29, 1934-October 8, 2017
IN MEMORIAM: Tom Hanks, May 29, 1934-October 8, 2017

Good Neighbors of Park Slope mourns the passing of its member Tom Hanks. Tom was married
for over 50 years to our friend and neighbor Sheila Hanks. He lived on 10th Street between 6th
and 7th Avenues for over 40 years, and exemplified what it meant to be a Good Neighbor. Upon
joining Good Neighbors Tom and Sheila were happy to re-connect with members that they knew
from their earliest days in Park Slope.
Tom had survived a serious illness in 2010 and resumed his active life in the community,
including enjoying five years of working out at the Cross Fit Gym. A very important part of his life
was his 30-year plus involvement in the Prayer Ministry at Brooklyn Tabernacle. The service
there in celebration of his life was attended by more than 400 congregation members. Tom and
Sheila’s daughter Amanda gave an extemperaneous and moving eulogy to her beloved Dad.
As a long time-friend of the Hanks family I can say that I never saw Tom when he did not have a
warm smile and sincere greeting and interest in what was going on. He will be very missed; we
know that Sheila will find strength and support in her family, her friends, her block neighbors,
and GNPS hopes that she knows that our groups and activities are there to help.
Tom is survived by Sheila, Amanda and his much


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IN MEMORIAM: Alice MacIntyre, April 12, 2017
IN MEMORIAM: Alice MacIntyre, April 12, 2017
Alice and I met several years ago when I cast her daughter, Zoe, in a production of Chekhov's Three Sisters. Alice, a devoted mother-and a lovingly typical stage mother--attended every rehearsal. She began to come to my play readings and was a really good actress. When she became ill, she would come to my Nia classes full of enthusiasm despite her condition. She gave me strength as I witnessed her bravery and fortitude in dealing with her illness. She was such a trip at our weekly beginner poker games. I never saw anyone lose so cheerfully--and so consistently. Alice loved attending various Good Neighbors activities and tried to participate in as much as she could -  Book Clubs, Scrabble, Canasta, folk singing.   I feel so privileged to have known her. She was a ray of light in my life. She was artist, friend and companion on The Great Peace March.  
James Williams

Click here to see full Park Slope Coop obit.


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IN MEMORIAM: Edith Brafman
IN MEMORIAM: Edith Brafman

The Good Neighbors of Park Slope deeply mourn the passing of Edith Brafman. A kind and loving person, she was generous to the poor and hungry, routinely sent contributions to more than fifty different organizations and gave freely of herself to help friends, relatives and strangers alike; for more than a dozen years she has been helping to care for her disabled sister and her sister’s three sons.  Her joy for life and her love for her children, her grandchildren and her husband knew no boundaries. A humble, yet energetic person, she was modest in all her ways.


 

At GNPS, she was an important part of three of our book clubs, and our poetry group.  She was an avid reader and loved to share her insights into what she had read. She generously offered to host groups in her home, and would prepare a delicious array of snacks for those who attended. She always had a thousand plans for the future, was enthusiastic about everything that she did, and her enthusiasm was as infectious as her warm and loving sense of humor and the joyous smile with which she greeted every person she met.

 

We will all miss her thoughtfulness and generous spirit.

 

Allen Brafman

Joyce Jed - Classical Fiction Book Club

Margaret Kelly - Contemporary Fiction Book Club

Nancy Richardson - Non-Fiction Book Club

Bonnie Billet - Poetry Group



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IN MEMORIAM: Len Fox
IN MEMORIAM: Len Fox
NO PICTURE PROVIDED
Len Fox, one of the original members of our folk singing group, has passed away after a long battle with cancer. Len helped launch our Good Neighbors folk singing group and showed up faithfully with his guitar in tow each month. In so many ways, Len was a generous soul. You may have noticed “LF” on the cover of several of our songbooks. Those were donated by Len along with the bag of percussion instruments that appear at each folk singing meeting so everyone could participate and enjoy themselves. 
Len Fox will be missed. May he rest in peace.
Sandy Haber


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IN MEMORIAM: Norman Becker, November 27, 1940 - February 26, 2016
IN MEMORIAM: Norman Becker, November 27, 1940 - February 26, 2016
The Board of Directors of GNPS
mourns the passing of our 
dear friend and supporter.






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