Palm Beach residents who died in 2023 off-season
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results about Palm Beach residents who died in 2023 off-season
Joy Libert Gelb, 91, of Palm Beach and Rye Brook, New York, died after a brief illness.
She was born in New York City, graduating from Rhodes Preparatory School and the College of New Rochelle.
She took control of her father’s car dealership, Yonkers Motors, in the late 1970s.
Under her leadership, along with son-in-law Bob Feinberg as the general manager, she grew the company to become one of the largest and most profitable Honda dealerships in the country.
Sara Wakefield Sage
Sara Wakefield Sage, the American national springboard diving champion of 1948, died at her home in Palm Beach. She was 95.
In addition to diving, she was accomplished at a variety of other sports, including golf, skiing and ballroom dancing.
William Edward “Bill” Flaherty, a longtime resident of Palm Beach and Remsenburg, New York, died at his Palm Beach home with his son at his side. He was 90.
More:Longtime resident William “Bill” Flaherty, industrialist and philanthropist, dies at 90
He was instrumental in introducing aluminum to U.S. automobile production with Reynolds Aluminum in the 1970s. In 1981, he founded Horsehead Industries, the largest zinc producer in the United States.
Mr. Flaherty also helped pioneer a process for recycling zinc dust with the formation of Horsehead Resource Development Co.
He was a supporter of the Archdiocese of New York, the NYU Langone Medical Center, the Hope for Depression Research Foundation, Partnership Schools of NYC, the Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League, the Palm Beach Zoo, and the Trustbridge Hospice Foundation..
He also was a fierce protector of animals and had a love for the natural world, particularly horticulture.
May 28Alexander Wallace Dreyfoos
Philanthropist and inventor Alex Dreyfoos died at Lourdes Noreen McKeen Residence in West Palm Beach. He was 91.
Born in New York City, Mr. Dreyfoos graduated from New Rochelle High School. He earned a B.S. degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After serving in the U.S. Air Force in Germany as a first lieutenant, managing a photo reconnaissance laboratory, he earned an M.B.A. degree from Harvard Business School. He was an inventor, holding 10 U.S. and numerous foreign patents in the fields of electronics and photography.
More:Palm Beach County cultural icon Alexander Dreyfoos dies at 91
Mr. Dreyfoos was chairman and owner of The Dreyfoos Group, a private capital management firm, which grew out of the success of Photo Electronics Corp., a company he formed with business partner George W. Mergens to manufacture electronic equipment for the photographic industry. From 1973 to 1996, he owned WPEC TV-12, the CBS television affiliate in West Palm Beach.
A former Palm Beacher, he was instrumental in forming the Palm Beach County Council of the Arts and served as its first chairman. Beginning in 1978, he spearheaded efforts to build a performing arts center in Palm Beach County and, until June 2007, served as chairman of The Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts. He remained on its board until his passing.
In 1997, he made the largest private contribution ever made to a public school in Florida, when he pledged $1 million to support Palm Beach County’s public arts magnet high school, which was renamed the Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts.
June 4Donna Wilson Long
Donna Long died at 86.
Mrs. Long was born in Manhattan and later moved to Beverly Hills with brothers Gordon and J. Paul Getty, and her mother, silent film star Ann Rork Light. She graduated from Dominican High School and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Peabody College. She pursued further studies at Vanderbilt University and Sonoma State College, obtaining her master’s in special education.
More:Donna Long, charity chairwoman and skilled equestrienne, dies at 86
An equestrian, she went on to earn championships in English and Western styles. She also established a riding school and rescue center for abandoned horses. She moved to Palm Beach in 1976, where she became associate editor of the Palm Beach Chronicle. In the 1980s, she traveled with National Geographic.
She was involved with The Red Cross for many years. She ran local shelters in Palm Beach County during cold weather and hurricanes, and played an active role in fundraising events for organizations such as The Red Cross, Dreyfoos School of the Arts, St. Mary’s Medical Center, Heart Ball, Center for Creative Education, Armory Art Center, Island Cats and National Geographic.
June 11David H. Gilmour
David Harrison Gilmour, the Palm Beach philanthropist who founded the Fiji bottled water company, died June 11, 2023, of cardiac arrest. He was 92.
He began his business career in Toronto when he created Dansk Design, an importer of Scandinavian home goods. On its heels came Clairtone, a manufacturer of what would come to be known as the boombox, which he co-founded with Peter Munk. Later, the two bought property in Fiji and established the Southern Pacific Hotel Corp.
More:Philanthropist, businessman David H. Gilmour, founder of Fiji Water company, dies at 92
In 1996, he established Fiji Water LLC, which, less than a decade later, was the fastest-growing premium beverage company in the United States. More recently, he founded a wellness company called Wakaya Perfection that specializes in anti-inflammatory products.
Locally, he and his second wife Jillian donated more than $12 million to Opportunity Early Childhood Education & Family Center for a new campus and support services.
June 19William P. Vanneck
William P. Vanneck died in Palm Beach at age 82.
Mr. Vanneck was born in New York, and he attended Palm Beach Private School, Rye Country Day School and The Choate School. He graduated from Union College in 1962. After graduation, he worked for Bankers Trust before joining his family’s business. He also served on the board for the Florida East Coast Railway and the Vanneck-Bailey Foundation.
With his brother and mother, they founded Witsend’s Breeders, which bred, raised and raced world-class Standardbred trotting and pacing horses.
Frances Sarah Woofenden
Frances Woofenden, a 34-year resident and a champion water skier well into her 80s, died at 98.
Born in Sydney, Nova Scotia, she was married to Dr. Stewart Woofenden for 57 years, until his death in 2005.
Water skiing and golf were Mrs. Woofenden’s passions, and even though she began skiing in her 40s, she was a competitor in the slalom and trick events until she was 85.
She still holds the record for the women’s 10 slalom event for two buoys at 22 feet off the rope.
Carlo VittoriniPalm Beach resident Carlo Vittorini, a magazine publisher, died at age 94.
A native of Haverford, Pennsylvania, he earned a bachelor’s degree with honors at the University of Pennsylvania. After graduating, Mr. Vittorini enjoyed a 50-year career in the publishing industry, retiring in 2000 as chairman, publisher and CEO of Parade Publications.
More:Carlo Vittorini, longtime magazine publisher, dies at 94
Before joining Parade Publications, Mr. Vittorini was president of Harlequin Magazines and earlier, president of Charter Publishing Co., New York, managing Ladies Home Journal, Sport, Redbook and several special interest publications.
Before joining Redbook, Mr. Vittorini was associate New York ad manager of LOOK and advertising sales representative for the Saturday Evening Post.
Neil John Maune
Professional football player and attorney Neil John Maune, 62, died at his home in Manalapan from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, resulting from an enlarged heart.
Mr. Maune was born and raised in Washington, Missouri. He attended the University of Notre Dame, where he played offensive guard on the football team from 1979 to 1983. After college, Mr. Maune was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys. He took the money he earned in the NFL and returned to Notre Dame to complete a law degree and graduated cum laude.
After law school, Mr. Maune founded a law firm in St. Louis focused on mesothelioma cases.
Robert Eigelberger, a 45-year resident and first winner of the Ballinger Award, died July 26.
After a winter vacation to Palm Beach in 1978, he fell in love with the what he called the town’s “tropical cosmopolitan” vibe and, more importantly, the plethora of aging Mizner homes crying out for some Eigelberger TLC.
More:Palm Beach architect, renovator, gardener Robert Eigelberger dies at 79
He moved his family permanently to Palm Beach in 1978, and got started. His first two projects, the mansion-to-condo refiguring of Warden House at Root Trail and North Ocean Boulevard, and Bienestar, a block south on Grace Trail, won the inaugural Ballinger Award from the Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach for outstanding historic restoration.
His desire to protect his adopted hometown from overdevelopment led him to badger town officials into establishing the Landmarks Preservation Commission.
Mr. Eigelberger’s status as a founding member of the Gentlemen of the Garden (GOG) charity earned him the sobriquet “The Gogfather.”
H. Irwin Levy
H. Irwin Levy, the developer of Century Village and patriarch of the Palm Beach County Jewish community, died July 31 at his West Palm Beach home.
The former Palm Beacher was a member of the Florida and Palm Beach County bar associations for more than 70 years.
More:H. Irwin Levy, Century Village developer and international philanthropist, dies at 97
He established a law firm in West Palm Beach that remained long after he left the active practice of law in 1969 to devote himself full time to his burgeoning real estate development business.
From that business came Century Village, which sparked a population boom, especially in the Jewish community.
In 1969, he assumed the role of chairman and CEO of Cenvill Communities and built three more Century Village projects and a Wynmoor Village.
Mr. Levy was a founding leader of Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County, the Mandel Jewish Community Center, Meyer Jewish Preparatory School, Joseph L. Morse Geriatric Center, the Kravis Center and the Palm Beach Fellowship of Christians and Jews. He was a past president of Temple Beth El in West Palm Beach, and a member and supporter of Temple Emanu-El in Palm Beach and Temple Israel in Scranton.
Dr. Roy Joseph Cacciaguida
Dr. Cacciaguida, a nephrologist who, over a period of three years, developed a dialysis center at St. Mary’s Medical Center that went from one to six units, died at age 93.
He graduated from New York University in 1953 having completed his pre-med curriculum. Upon graduation, he was drafted into the U.S. Army where he served for two years during the Korean conflict. After discharge, he became a researcher at Columbia Presbyterian Medical School in Manhattan.
He graduated from the University of Bologna’s medical school and did his internship and residency in internal medicine and nephrology at Maimonides Hospital in Brooklyn and a nephrology fellowship at the Brookdale Hospital Medical Center in Brooklyn.
Dr. Cacciaguida moved to the Palm Beach area in 1973. He was appointed chief of nephrology at St. Mary’s in 1975. The 19-station Arnold and Marie Schwartz Dialysis Center was opened and dedicated to him at St. Mary’s, one of the few not-for-profit dialysis centers in Florida.
Dr. Cacciaguida served as vice chairman and chairman of the medical staff at Good Samaritan Medical Center. He also served on boards of the Norton Museum of Art, the Palm Beach Kidney Association, Palm Healthcare Foundation, Interfaith Health and Wellness Association, the Center for Family Services, and the Cancer Alliance for Help and Hope.
Mr. Blodgett grew up in Palm Beach, attended Graham-Eckes school and Penn Charter school in Philadelphia.
He attended The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, majoring in economics. After gaining his CPA, he worked as an auditor for Price Waterhouse, CFO of Globe Rubber Products, and treasurer of Emery Air Freight. In 1976, he acquired Roberts Cartage, introducing the idea of expedited freight and later pioneered the use of GPS logistics in trucks. He sold the firm in 1986.
After teaching entrepreneurship at Palm Beach Atlantic University from 1997-99, he acquired Holland Pump Co., which he sold in 2016. In 2007, he founded LobePro of Brunswick, Ga.
Longtime legislator and resident Eleanor Weinstock died at 94 of Parkinson’s disease.
For years, she was a member of the Florida House of Representatives and, later, the Florida Senate.
More:Eleanor Weinstock, former state rep and senator who championed equal rights, dies at 94
She was born in New York and received her bachelor’s degree in art from Skidmore College. After working as a textile designer in New York, she married Sandy Weinstock and moved with him to Palm Beach.
Her transition to politics began in the 1960s, when she was president of the Florida League of Women Voters. After watching the Florida House vote against the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, for which she had campaigned, she decided to run against her representative, who had voted against it. To her surprise, she won, and began her political career.
Aviator June Davis died at age 89.
Ms. Davis was born in Boston and grew up in Fall River, Massachusetts. After graduating Rollins College, she established her flight school at Palm Beach International Airport in her early 20s.
She won many international air races, including first-place finishes in the Women’s International Air Race and the Powder Puff Derby. She became the 41st woman helicopter pilot in the world. She won the Amelia Earhart Award, was an FAA examiner and gave commercial pilots for major airlines their airline transport rating. She was a member of the aviation organizations Whirly Girls and The Ninety-Nine.
With her husband Richard Warren Aden Davis, the couple opened a his-and-hers investment brokerage firm in Palm Beach.
Rose V. Blair
Palm Beach resident Rose V. Blair died at the age of 100.
Born in Red Bank, New Jersey, Mrs. Blair was one of six siblings. She graduated from Red Bank High School in 1941 and attended acting school in New York City before serving in the Office of the Army Commander at Fort Monmouth during World War II. There, she met her husband of 65 years, the late Claude M. Blair, then a major in the Army Signal Corp.
They retired to Palm Beach in 2002.
Jerry Vann Wilkey
Jerry Vann Wilkey, an insurance attorney with a half-century of service, died at his home in Palm Beach.
He was born in Jefferson County, Alabama, and moved with his family to Miami in 1935. He graduated from Miami High and entered the Air Force reserve and was called for active duty in the Korean War. After his discharge, Mr. Wilkey attended the University of Miami, and received his degree in philosophy.
Mr. Wilkey earned a law degree from the University of Miami. In 1961, he started a private law practice in Coral Gables practicing insurance defense, and later opened a second office in Tallahassee. He retired in 1985, but during his career, he was listed among the best insurance attorneys and received recognition with distinction from the Florida Bar for 50 years of service.
In 1991, he and his wife Sari settled in Palm Beach.
Singer, author and entrepreneur James Michael Buffett, a billionaire part-time Palm Beach resident known to the world as Jimmy Buffett, died of Merkel cell carcinoma, an aggressive form of skin cancer, in Sag Harbor, New York. He was 76.
A native of Pascagoula, Mississippi, Mr. Buffett began his career as an entertainer after earning a bachelor’s degree at the University of Southern Mississippi. He began singing in New Orleans, later moved to Nashville, then on to Key West, where his laid-back melodies and lyrics meshed nicely with the local vibe.
More:Jimmy Buffett, ‘Mr. Margaritaville’ and Palm Beacher, dies at 76
In all, Mr. Buffett recorded 29 studio albums and 67 singles. He sold more than 20 million records and entertained millions of fans at his sold-out live concerts as well as on Radio Margaritaville. His records received gold, platinum or multiple platinum recognition and in 2003 Mr. Buffett and Alan Jackson won a CMA Award for “It’s Five O’clock Somewhere.”
Outside of his music, Mr. Buffett was engaged in a variety of commercial endeavors including resorts and restaurants, radio, casual apparel and footwear, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, food, a cruise line and horse-racing stables. He also authored eight books and collaborated with writer Herman Wouk on a stage play based on Wouk’s 1965 novel “Don’t Stop the Carnival.”
Felicia Rodrica Sturt Taylor
Felicia Rodrica Sturt Taylor, a longtime resident of Palm Beach and the daughter of actor Rod Taylor and fashion model Mary Hilem, died at age 59.
Born in Los Angeles, her godfathers were John Wayne and John Ford. She was a graduate of Milton Academy and Northwestern University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in English.
More:Felicia Taylor, former CNN, CNBC business correspondent, dies at 59
After her careers as a business correspondent for the CNBC and CNN cable networks and weekend anchor for WNBC in New York, Ms. Taylor followed the family into the film business and produced “Far From Home,” a documentary examining the effect of climate change on the people of Senegal, particularly its children.
She was a member of the Beach Club and the Screen Actors Guild.
Andrea Anderson Hersey
Former resident Andrea Anderson Hersey died at 84.
Born in Washington, D.C., she attended Holton Arms where she was a standout swimmer on the school’s swim team, including winning AAU championships and other titles. She went on to attend Rollins College and the University of Florida. She also was a competitive backgammon player.
Mrs. Hersey was a model for Sara Fredericks and Martha’s on Worth Avenue with shows often held at the Everglades Club.
Sydelle Meyer died at 98.
Mrs. Meyer and her husband, Arthur I. Meyer, were honored as “Philanthropists of the Year” by the Palm Beach Chamber of Commerce in 1998 and Mrs. Meyer was named “Woman of Distinction” by Palm Beach Atlantic University in 2003.
More:Palm Beach resident Sydelle Meyer, philanthropist and community pillar, dies at age 97
She also was awarded the Alexis de Tocqueville Society Distinguished Citizen Award in March 2009. She received the 2011 Humanitarian Award at the annual Palm Beach Gala of the American Friends of Magen David Adom and was honored as the Quantum House Portrait of a Woman 2013 Grand Matriarch.
Mrs. Meyer was raised in Manhattan. The Meyers’ Palm Beach life began when they bought a vacation home in 1972 and in 1978 initially began spending seven months a year in Palm Beach. The Meyers were the lead funder of the Arthur I. Meyer Jewish Preparatory School and the religious school of Temple Judea. They were founders and benefactors of Albert Einstein Medical School in New York, the Interfaith Pavilion of St. Mary’s Hospital in West Palm Beach and Palm Beach DramaWorks in West Palm Beach.
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