Dear Wheatley Wildcats and Other Interested Persons,

Welcome to The Wheatley School Alumni Association Newsletter # 65!

The Usual Words of Wisdom


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Faculty and Administrators – More Suspects Identified

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Left to right, leaving many people out:  John Pagliaro (partially obscured, turtle neck and jacket); Gerry Friedberg Pagliaro (big smile, dark hair, just to the right of Pagliaro); Frank Feldman (back row, left, glasses, V-neck sweater); Willard Monsell (in front of Feldman, with black turtleneck); Elito Bongarzone (plaid jacket, white shirt, tie); Alice Rutenberg (front row, holding pencil and paper): Gloria Reyes (black hair, parted in the middle, behind Sondergeld); Louise Sondergeld (front row, arms folded, striped athletic pants); Robert Brandt (back row, striped shirt and beard); Karen Bartscherer (front row, white shirt, multicolored skirt); David Israel (middle row, glasses, open collar); Edward Ouchi (barely visible, dark hair); Ruth Rockmore (front row, white shirt, dark pants, sweater); Joseph McCormack (dark jacket, white shirt, glasses); Robert Kaye (behind and right of McCormack, dark hair); Ronald Metzger (back row, directly behind Kaye, gray-ish suit jacket, light hair, mostly obscured) Henrietta Dolz (front row, holding bag and many other items); Herbert Wheeler (middle, dark shirt or jacket, light hair); Arthur Kinas (back row, obscured by crease); Rose-Mary Bartul (dark hair, just to the right of Kinas); Susan Raffa (between Bartul and O’Connor); Elizabeth O’Connor Bradley (middle, big smile, light hair); Steve Ehre (mustache and dark hair); Joan Feindler (back row, glasses, behind and to the right of Ehre); Jack (“Cat”) Davis (front row, holding book), Paul Nodell (back row, light jacket, dark tie); Carolyn Wilfert (front row, dark hair and pants, light jacket); Theodore Tchack (dark hair, light shirt, towards the back); Merle Levine (middle, light hair, front and left of Tchack); Okey Ryan (back row, dark jacket, white shirt); Marion Schulze (light hair, glasses, dark jacket); John Devlin (back row, white jacket, black turtleneck); Aline Desbonnet (front row, light V-neck, glasses); (Richard Nixon) (back row, light hair, glasses, gray jacket); Thomas Cautela (far right, sweater, white shirt, dark tie).  Thanks to Daniel Engoron and Sara Danzi Engoron (both 1973, married in 2012) for many of the identifications. Writes Art Engoron (1967) – “We did the best we could.”



Thomas Cautela – Industrial Arts Teacher + Assistant Principal – Deceased – (far right in photo above)


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CAUTELA, Thomas J. Age 90 of Levittown, NY passed away on November 18, 2021, at Good Shepherd hospice at Mercy Hospital. Born in Brooklyn. He was a husband, father, teacher, woodworker, gardener, and winemaker.  He was a loving husband to our mother, Joan, for 63 years and father to Joe (Debra), Liz, Vicki (Kevin) and Tony (Debbie) of Westwood, MA.  Tom was a "big brother" to nephews Vincent Mercuri and Tom Rubino growing up in a tight Italian family in the Bronx.  Tom leaves behind 6 grandchildren, along with nieces and nephews.  Tom served in the army in South Korea and Japan at the end of the Korean war.  Additionally, he taught metal shop, woodshop, auto shop, and drafting, and retired as Assistant Principal at The Wheatley School in East Williston, coaching baseball earlier in his career and initiating a school farm.  He was an avid baseball fan and followed the New York Yankees his entire life.  After honeymooning at Stinson Lake, NH, he and the family vacationed there for many years while visiting the Lawson family (Bill Lawson introduced Tom and Joan), the Bears family, and others that he met over the years. He touched many lives, earned the respect of many, loved strongly, and was loved.  If you were a friend of Tom's, he was your friend forever.  He loved socializing, discussing politics whether he agreed with you or not, and keeping up on current events. He had a good long life and will be missed.


Writes Freddy Carillo (1960) – “Mr. Cautela was my mechanical drawing teacher.  A good guy, he took a sincere interest in me.”


Writes John (“Monk”) Moncure (1960) – “I never knew the working end of a hammer; but luckily, Mr. Cautela was always tolerant of my ignorance and gentle (he never shouted, ‘Wrong end, Moncure—you little dolt).”


Writes Camille Napoli Cannizzo (1961) – “My sister-in-law had a crush on Mr. Cautela at Wheatley – My brother thought she was coming to see him at his class, but it was Mr. Cautela!!   We were supposed to meet him and his wife at THE IHOP in Williston Park, but COVID-19 came along, and everything changed.  I visited the funeral home to represent proudly the Class of 1961 to Joan and their family.


Writes Gene Razzetti – “I spoke with Joan, his wife of 60+ years, about two weeks ago.  She said that he was napping and that she did not want to disturb him, and that he appreciated hearing from somebody from Wheatley.  When I mentioned that I had Mr. Cautela for Mechanical Drawing in 9th Grade and Auto Shop in 12th, Joan said that it had been his job to disassemble and sell all of that shop equipment when the School District decided to move its offices into Wheatley.  What a bummer for him; and I have never figured out the upside of that decision.  Mr. Cautela had been at Wheatley for about 35 years and had been vice principal for some of that time. RIP.”


Writes Gregory Cave (1974) – “I noticed in the obituaries that Tom Cautela passed away.  He was the only teacher who gave me straight A's…in wood shop.  Also, he was quite a guy, a strict disciplinarian who didn't take any crap.  He was very much a serious educator.  I liked him a lot.”





1960 – Wheatley’s Most Cohesive Class Ever – Captured in a Nostalgic Video


Writes Paul J. Hennessy – “I produced the video approximately five years ago for a reunion at Ken Martin's chateau in New Smyrna Beach, FL, in honor of our class president Jack Langlois, Ph.D economist from Princeton, who had a distinguished international career but passed away much too young from pancreatic cancer. 


There are many memorable people--students, faculty, coaches.-- and historic Wheatley moments in the video, so it's a kind of tribute to old friends and the halcyon experience of  the first class to enjoy four years at TWS.  The musical background sums up the era.  It's terribly strange to be 70+, but we ‘winter companions’ are still ‘getting by with a little help from our friends.’" 



1961 – Michael Harvey – More on Michael


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Writes Classmate Gene Razzetti – “Here is a picture of Mike (left) from a reunion.  Classmate Lenny Jacobs is on the right.”


Writes Classmate Camille Napoli Cannizzo - Michael (my classmate) Harvey’s Brother, Richard (1966), covered all bases with his Memorial - very touching and totally Michael!! 



1963 – Lynne Howard Severe – Champion Nurse


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1966 – Claude Lévy – Dual Citizen – Celebrating with Lauren (Lefferts) Taylor on 11/6/2021


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Writes Art Engoron (1967) – “Claude was an AFS (American Field Service) exchange student from France during the 1965-1966 school year (when Karen Wattel Arenson, 1966, was President of the Wheatley AFS chapter).  In 2013 he and Lauren (Lefferts) Taylor, Roslyn High School 1966, who had met each other during his year at Wheatley, got married.  This year he became a dual French-American citizen…..thus the clever words on his shirt (above).”


BTW, that was now, this is then (at the 1966 Roslyn High School Prom):


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1967 – Art Engoron – Son Ian and his Girlfriend – A Great Match

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The Harvard Club, Thanksgiving 2021



1967 – Dominick Foresto – President & Owner, Foresto Men’s Shop and Tuxedo – Deceased


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Dominick A. Foresto of Muttontown, NY passed away on Tuesday November 23 at the age of 73.  He was surrounded by his wife of 49 Years, Paula Foresto (née Panzeca) and his beloved family.  Dominick was a proud father, father-in-law, and grandfather.  He was a beloved father to his two children, Christopher Foresto MD, Lisa Lesser, Ph.D, and a cherished father-in-law to their spouses, Lindsay Miller Foresto MD, and Adam Lesser MD.  Dominick is survived by his five loving grandchildren, Michael, Matthew, James, Emma and William.  His greatest joy was spending time with his family.  He is survived by his brother Joseph and predeceased by his parents Nancy and Michael Foresto.  He was an uncle to numerous nieces and nephews, both biological as well as others who affectionately knew him through the years as their loving "Uncle Dom."

After graduating from Long Island University C.W. Post College, Dominick worked in his family's business, Foresto's Men's Shop and Tuxedo, growing it into Long Island’s premier formalwear destination.  This year Foresto’s will celebrate its 82nd year in business serving the community at the same location in Mineola.  Dominick enjoyed sharing the special moments with all those who came into the shop.  He delighted in making sure each customer was ready for their special day.

His desire to give back to the community was limitless.  He was a proud supporter of Chaminade High School and NYU Winthrop Hospital.  For over 25 years he dressed each graduating senior of Chaminade in a Foresto Tuxedo.  He was an honored member of the Wheatley Hills Golf Club for over 45 years and a past president of the local Kiwanis Club.  Dom enjoyed the many friendships and bonds he made through the years with his fellow members. 

Dominick's legacy is reflected in the hearts of everyone he knew and is continued by the love of his family.  In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in Dominick’s memory to Chaminade High School where a scholarship will be established in his name.


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Front and Center, L-R – Phil Celella, Dominick Foresto, Robert Rico, Robert Scandurra, at the Class of 1967’s 20th-Year Reunion at Friends World College, Lloyd Harbor, NY, 1987.  In the background are Mitch Stephens (blue shirt), Jack Wolf (white shirt) and Larry Baum (multicolored shirt).  At the far right is one of Bobby Scandurra’s daughters (now 40 years old).


Writes Paula Panzeca Foresto (1969) – “I love reading about all the Wheatley memories of Dom.  I just can’t imagine life without him.  I've known him since I was 14 years old.  We grew up together.  Wheatley High School is and was a very unique and special place, where many everlasting friendships were made.”


Paula and Dom at the 1967 Prom


Standing (L-R) – Fred Amato (1967), Patricia Coletti (1968), Paula Panzeca (Foresto) (1969), Dominick Foresto (1967), Marian Edwab (Lebrun) (1969), Phil Celella (1967), Joanne Frankel (Kelvin) (1969), John Warde (1967)


Sitting (L-R) – Barbara Loizzo (1968), Bobby Scandurra (1967), Dennis Newman (1967), Susan Roth (1969).


Writes Lorraine Eisner – “I’m very sorry to hear this.  Sending thoughts to his family and friends.  He will be missed.”


Writes Art Engoron (1967) – “Dominick Foresto was a singular personality in our graduating class: friendly, popular, sophisticated, athletic, just plain nice.  Whereas I was on the wrestling team at a skeletal weight, he was a heavyweight.  The coach had to coax Dom out of retirement when the original heavyweight kept losing.  Dom usually fought monster guys much bigger than him, and as best I recollect, he always won (whether or not the team did), often by pinning is opponent.  BTW, the prom photo was also in Newsletter # 50, with no particular context.”


Writes Philip Fea (1967) – “I’m so saddened by the news of Dom’s passing.  He was such an outgoing and gregarious guy. He treated everyone as if he or she was a close friend.  Perhaps the best way to describe him is that he never met anyone that he didn’t know.  Dominick and I actually met in first grade at Corpus Christi elementary school in Mineola.  Since our last names began with the letter F we were seated next to each other and quickly became friends.  Back then Dom became famous for the lunches he brought to school.  The school had no cafeteria, so we all brown-bagged it each day.  While the rest of us brought traditional sandwiches like PB and J, bologna, ham and Swiss, and the like, Dom’s lunch typically consisted of things like a meatball hero or veal cutlet Parmigiana.  One of my best memories of Dom at that school was in third grade, when he strolled back into the classroom after a boys’ room break singing a verse from the then-popular rock song ‘Charlie Brown’ by The Coasters ‘who walks in the classroom cool and slow, who calls the English teacher “daddy-o.”’  Dom left Corpus Christi shortly after third grade, and I didn’t see him again until my first year at Wheatley,  which was ninth grade.  Despite the years that had passed, when he first saw me he knew who I was and gave me a big ‘hello.’ That’s just who he was.  He will be missed.  Regards, Phil”


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Corpus Christie Elementary School, Mineola, NY, 2nd Grade, 1956 – Phil is back row, far left; Dominick is next to him; Mike Cave (1967) is back row, far right, in front of the nun’s left shoulder.  The school closed in 2010 after existing eight decades; the Diocese of Rockville Centre cited “tough economic times on Long Island” and “declining enrollment.”


Writes Richard Friedman (1967) – “Hard to believe Dom is no longer with us. What a dynamic personality!"


Writes Scott Frishman (1967) – “Dominick was always nice to me and very personable and a funny guy.  Very family-oriented and an overall great guy . My best to Paula and his family. May he Rest In Peace “


Writes Scott Geery (1967) – “Sad news, indeed.”


Writes Barry Gold (1967) – “I’m so sorry to hear this sad news.  I was very friendly with Dom, often seeing him in his store.  RIP.”


Writes Fred Hanft (1967) – “Art: Sad indeed.  He was a quality guy.  I remember how he helped me when I was getting my wedding tuxedos from his place.  Fred”


Writes Marshall Jablon (1967) – “This is sad news for me, and probably for everyone who knew Dominick as a terrific guy.  We had a lot of good, exciting times in high school.  He’ll be in my memories.”


Writes Howard Kirchick – “Dom was my next door neighbor all through North Side and Wheatley.  We were particularly close during our North Side years.  I remember Dom, Joey (his older brother, Class of 1964), and my two brothers Cal (also Class of 1964) and Bill (Class of 1969) and some of our other neighbors playing baseball and football in our adjoining back yards.  Meanwhile, his father would be playing his mandolin (quite well) in their garage.  I also remember Dom and Joey had our neighborhood’s one go-cart, which we all loved to drive up and down Knolls Drive.  We also all used to ride our sleds down Knolls in the Winter.  The two Foresto brothers also had gas powered model airplanes which we would put firecrackers in and blow up mid-flight, pretending we were shooting down German WWII aircraft.  Dom and I would go over to each other’s houses to watch TV and sometimes have meals together.  I remember the Foresto home would always smell of garlic in the air, as his mother cooked Italian meals to perfection.  Seeing Dom and his wife Paula (Class of 1969) at our 50th reunion at the Wheatley Hills Golf Club, of which Dom was a member, was great.  His passing is indeed sad news.  He was a good neighbor and a good man.”


Howard Kirchick’s Bar Mitzvah:

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Back Row (L-R) - ???, Kenny Markham, Steve Leicht, Merrill Stanton, Jeff Kraman, Dominick Foresto, Judy Berkan, Steve Miller, Seth Bardo, Howard Kirchick (all 1967).


Writes Ronald Koch (1967) – “I was saddened to learn of Dominick Foresto's recent passing.  We shared many good adventures during our time at Wheatley from being members of the football and wrestling teams, going to parties, etc.  After getting married and moving to Rockville Centre, I would occasionally stop by his shop, if I was in the neighborhood, to say ‘hi.’  No matter how old I was, Dom always called me "Ronnie.”  I remember one time in particular when I stopped by with my son to have him fitted for his first interview suit.  After exchanging the usual pleasantries, Dom launches into describing some of our high school escapades, both on and off the playing fields.  Needless to say, there were some tales better left unsaid to a 21-year old.  Oh well, there went my fatherly image.


Dominic was always the life of the party.  As one of the first to get his driver's license, he loved his cars.  I remember riding in the Green Caddy; his brother's Chevy Corvair Monza Spyder convertible (top down of course); and his first new car, a Plymouth Satellite (maroon/blk vinyl roof).  Those were the days!  He will be sorely missed by all who knew and loved him.  My sympathies go out to Paula and the rest of his family. Ron  Koch (#24)”


Writes Ilene Kornblath Rosenbaum (1967) – “So very sorry to hear this.  May his soul Rest In Peace!”


Writes Gary Matthesen (1968) – “I was so surprised to find out late in life that my brother-in-law was related to Dominick.  My father told me the following story.  He was sitting next to Mom Foresto in the stands at Wheatley when two guys in the unlimited weight class came out to wrestle, putting on mean and menacing faces.  Mom Foresto yells out ‘a Dominick, you no hurt a that boy!’, which completely wrecked Dom’s act as a nasty tough guy.  Love that story...”


Writes Amy Beth Pastarnack Hughes (1967) – “Dominick’s’ passing is very sad news.  I have so many wonderful memories of him.  Whenever we needed a tuxedo we went to his place.  Over the years I visited him and his shop many times.  He taught my sons what looked best on them and how to wear everything properly!  We would then chat like old friends.  I enjoyed seeing Dominick and Paula at the Don Monti Memorial Foundation gala every year.  They always looked exactly the same as they did in high school, and I so looked forward to seeing them.  My deepest condolences to Paula and their beautiful family.”


Writes Leslie Rae Bisgyer (1967) – “So sorry to hear about Dominick’s passing.  He was my first friend when I came to The Wheatley School in my junior year.  I will always remember his kind and accepting demeanor.  My condolences to his family. RIP, Dom”


Dominick with Classmate Bobby Scandurra 

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Wheatley 1967 Guys at Wheatley…..The Wheatley Hills Golf Club, that is.

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L-R:  Bobby Scandurra, Fred Amato, Dominick Foresto, Ronald Koch, Lee Fein


Writes Bobby Scandurra (1967) – “Dear Judge Artie,  I have many memories of Dominick Foresto and, not surprisingly, my most vivid ones are the most recent, being our 50th-year reunion of the Class of 1967, held on May 20, 2017.  As I recall you were the organizer and MC of this event, held at the Wheatley Hills Golf Club, and acting as the MC you requested of all those present that someone from each table stand up and introduce everyone at their table, as surely some or most of us would not recognize other classmates.  Dominick was sitting at my table with his beautiful and gracious wife Paula sitting between us.  Dom volunteered to be the person from our table, and not only did he stand up and make introductions, he walked up to the “podium,” or whatever it was, and actually grabbed the microphone, probably from you!  He then proceeded not only to recognize the people at our table, but to go around the room and recognize many of the other people who were there as well, all with good humor, warmth, and sincerity in his comments.  He was fabulous!  He looked completely at ease doing this and he was, because Dom was always a ‘people person,’ kind-hearted, generous, and well-liked. 


Sometime after the reunion I was watching an Adam Sandler movie by the name of “The Week Of.”  As I watched this movie (not an Academy Award winner by any stretch!), there was a scene taking place in a clothing store where Adam and his buddies are getting fitted for tuxedos.  Lo and behold, Adam’s young son is getting fitted and out he walks with obviously the proprietor of the store, who happens to be Dominick!  Yes, this scene was filmed in his store, Foresto Men’s Shop and Tuxedo, in Mineola, so Dom was playing himself!  And, Dom even had a speaking line, stating, “That’s a nice tux” when responding to a Sandler comment, and by virtue of that one can Google Dom’s name and it will come up as: ‘Dominick Foresto: “Actor”’!


Dom and I were very friendly and close in junior high and through high school.  Our friendship started when we were on the wrestling team and teammates under Coach August in junior high, and Coach Stevenson through high school.  We competed in different weight classes.  Most of the time Dom wrestled in the heavyweight or unlimited weight class, even though his weight was certainly not nearly as much as the great majority of the guys he wrestled, some being absolutely huge.  But you know what, Dom was a bull of a wrestler and had a consistently winning record against these guys during his whole career!  He was strong, quick, and his flexibility allowed him to wiggle out of holds these guys would put him in, and before you knew it, Dom would put these guys on their back!  He was always a treat to watch, as his success against these very big guys was uncanny, and he was always a great teammate!  And Dom’s athletic prowess was also evident on the football field.  The 1966 team, our senior year, had a record of 0-8. And to make it even worse, we only scored one touchdown all year!  But guess who scored it: our team’s speedy and agile fullback, Dominick!


Dominick also had the best cars, and because of that was the envy of many.  He was also older than most of us in the Class of ’67 which normally means nothing, but to me it meant one very important thing: that he would get his driver’s license way ahead of us!  I recall that Dom was waiting on getting his license and I was excited for him, and also excited for me of course, because that would mean that Dominick could pick me up and we could take a drive in his car to Roosevelt Field on some Saturday to look for girls.  Couldn’t wait for that! And although that eventually did happen, what also happened soon after was that Dom met the love of his life, Paula, and for some reason the rides with him to Roosevelt field stopped.  And as I have learned from Paula, their wedding anniversary would have been 50 years in April ’22.


I will miss Dom and already do.  He was one of only a very few people who was “larger than life,” and when I think of high school days his name and face always enter my mind.  Although we didn’t see much of each other since high school, mostly only at the reunions, I felt that he was a brother of mine in spirit, and his spirit will always be with me. RIP Dom, and God bless Paula and the family.  Bobby”


Writes Howard Lee Senft (1967) – “Phil Kane and I would sometimes ride with Dom on a Friday or Saturday night in his 383 Plymouth.  Dom was one of my favorite classmates; his laugh was infectious, superseded by a wonderful smile.  It's funny, but I was thinking of calling him last week.  Some of the jackets in my closet are from Foresto of Mineola!  A great loss to our class!  He'll be missed.  H. Lee Senft”


Writes Jill Simon Forte (1967) – “So sorry to hear about Dom.  We were acquaintance friends.  Reconnecting at different times brought back fond memories.  Paula Panzeca Foresto (1969) is very sweet.  Sending my condolences.  And here’s a photo from our 50th-Year Reunion in 2017 (at the Wheatley Hills Golf Club) of Dom and my husband’s good friend, Ray Christian (1965).  I miss them both.  Jill Forte”


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Writes Barbara Smith Stanisic (1967) – “Art, it is with great sadness that I mourn the passing of Dominick.  I saw him frequently at his store, and I worked with his son, Dr Chris Foresto.  My sympathy to Paula and her family.”


Writes Merrill Stanton (1967) – “Dear Arthur, I’m so sad to hear the news that Dominick passed away this week.  He was always a vibrant part of our Wheatley class.  I remember him helping me to coordinate the right cheers for the football games.  He will be remembered for his big heart.  A wonderful guy!”


Writes John Warde (1967) – “My fondest memories of Dom were during the horrific football season of Fall 1966, as he was the only scorer of the year.  He and I outweighed everyone on the offensive line; I still recall him disappearing into a crowd of players as he bulldogged his touchdown.  We had enormous fun, in lieu of the poor record we had as Dom would lead the chants in the locker room.  He was a real funny guy and we loved it.  My heart is broken for Paula and their wonderful family.”


Writes Larry Weiss (1967) – “I was moved and saddened by the news of Dominick’s death.  His participation in and enthusiasm for our alumni events were meaningful and appreciated.”


Writes Carl Wirth (1967) – “I am very sorry to hear that Dominick has died.  My main memories of him are how in our senior year the football team had gone the first 6 games of the season without scoring. Then, in the game against Oyster Bay, he broke through, running the ball approximately five yards for a touchdown.  It was to be our only touchdown of the season.  I managed the team, and Dominick, as a jester of fun, would throw my head into a headlock and mess up my hair for good luck.  A few years after graduation I came back to Mineola for my cousin’s wedding.  Needing a tux, I went to Foresto’s and received royal treatment and a discount because I had been Dominick’s classmate.  ‘Rest in Peace’ to another Class of ’67 Wildcat….Carl”


Writes Paul A. Montuori (a close friend of Dom and Paula’s son Chris) – “A Queen, A President and a Prom Date - For Uncle Dom


A queen, a president and a prom date.  I was fortunate enough to be in the company of all three, and before each, Dominick Foresto was there.  I have some good memories from those events, but the part I remember most was seeing Uncle Dom get ready.  That was always the special part, and I was blessed enough to realize it then as it was happening, and I cherished it.


Over the past few weeks when I was on the phone with Adam getting updates, he said, Paul I have 21 years with him, you have 41, to which my mother, who was listening in concerned, yelled out, I have 61!!  That’s who he was, a rock for the ages, a continuous presence giving us foundation.  He taught us lessons, and looking at what Chris and Lisa, and Adam and Lindsey and his beloved grandchildren have accomplished and forged, he taught us well, and we listened.


Every time he saw my family and our friends, he beamed with joy.  The boundaries of blood and genetics were no barrier, he was an Uncle in every sense of the word.  In high school I proudly wore shirts he gave to me with his initials on them.  I made him proud by exceling at Chaminade.  As I grew older, the tradition was that he would give me a wallet from the counter of the shop.  And no matter what material wealth was or will be in that wallet, that exchange made us rich, the richest people who ever could live.  He also knew what we really needed most.  I recall one time talking to him about awards and prizes and he so wisely said “don’t worry about all that, just enjoy everyone.”  He knew what my generation needed to hear, what the world needs to hear – don’t worry about the rewards, just enjoy each other.


Our celebrations were legendary!  Wheatley Hills, fancy restaurants, magnificent marriage celebrations, catered BBQ’s, you name it!  I often say, we lived better than anyone in the history of the world before us.  I remember him so proudly showing off his grandchildren to the members of the club.  And I will always remember the morning after my 40th birthday when I was, let’s say, in a diminished state, Uncle Dom dutifully rang the doorbell at 8:00 am with my present!  And that’s also who he was, someone who got us up when we needed to be woken up and start moving forward.  I would often tell Uncle Dom that when he retired, I was going to take him to the Masters in Augusta as a retirement gift.  I am sad now that we will never get to take that trip, but in that I see another lesson he gave us – our work will never be done, we will never retire from helping our family and friends and giving our talents to the community like Uncle Dom did.  That work will continue forever, both here and above.


Now I mentioned some great things Uncle Dom got me ready for.  But I did not mention…..a wedding!! (we had our talks, which will be safe in the National Archives for the next 100 years!!!).  But in the jokes, there was a reality he was pointing to – he knew what it took to be the model of a Catholic husband, he knew the work, dedication and love that needed to be put in, and he did it and then some, as he cherished Aunt Paula beyond words and imagination, a success that is impossible to duplicate.


So where are we now?  Lost, sad, heartbroken, angry, shocked, to be sure.  It’s easy for us to fall back on words and hopeful religious sentiments as devices to make us feel better.  But they are so much more.  We know that because Uncle Dom lived them as so much more.  He was there when Chris and I were altar boys and at masses and confirmations, he and Aunt Paula teaching us how to pray.  A picture of Grandpa Mike hung above the shop watching over everyone.  They weren’t just words to Uncle Dom when he was with us, and he wouldn’t want them to be hallow for us now.  My heart breaks that I can no longer on a random day pick up the phone and shoot the breeze with Uncle Dom at the shop, but I know we can make a different kind of call that, that, while we can’t physically see it yet, is just as personal and connecting – in prayer.  We pray for him as he continues to pray for us.  And then I am reminded of the day our beloved Grandma Ida passed, the great Feast of the Archangels - St. Michaels Day.  That showed us so clearly what God is telling us - “Remember, I made you a promise, and I am going to keep it.”  So, for now, while we wait for God’s perfect timing, we cherish each other and use times like the holidays not for sadness, but as a gift, when the veil between heaven and earth is thinnest and we can glimpse the reunions in the perfect world that awaits.


A queen, a president and a prom date.  And next is St. Peter at the pearly gates, where Uncle Dom will be awaiting with his tape measure to get us ready!!  But he won’t be measuring us for clothes – the tape measure he will use will be measuring our hearts and the kindness and love we showed each other and how well we remember the lessons he taught us.  Uncle Dom, I can’t say that my waist will be any thinner on our next meeting (they tried to close Peter Luger, but it didn’t take!!!).  But I can promise I will work every day to get my heart in shape for my next tailoring with you – and on that day I hope I’m worthy enough to hear you tell me, “Well done, let’s go celebrate once again.”


Writes “Anthony” (found on line) – “Dominick became such an amazing friend to me over the past 10 years or so.  I  am so saddened by his passing.  I can’t stop thinking of him…he was one of those men that they don’t make anymore.  To me he was more than a man or friend…he had become a father figure and called me on several occasions during the height of the pandemic, on the days after picking up food at my restaurant.  He would express his concern for me working too much and told me to spend more time with my family.  He always had good advice for me.  He once told me the best thing I could do for my children was give them an education debt-free.  The wisdom this man had was incredible.  He will be in my thoughts forever and until the day we meet again.  We love the entire Foresto family and want them to know that we will always be here for them.”



1967 – Howard Kirchick – Bar Mitzvah Photo With Five Females

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(L-R) – Ellen Frey Wineman, Mary Ann Young Winiger, Judy Berkan, Merrill Stanton, Judy Orgel (all 1967).



1972 - Esther Fortunoff-Greene – Razzle-Dazzle Mom Passes Away

Helene Fortunoff, Who Built a Family Jewelry Empire, Dies at 88

A powerhouse female executive in a male-dominated industry, she hired a team of mostly women buyers who traveled the world to find unusual gems.


Helene Fortunoff with her husband, Alan, in the family’s flagship store on Fifth Avenue in 1979. She is credited with making Fortunoff a major purveyor of jewelry.

Helene Fortunoff with her husband, Alan, in the family’s flagship store on Fifth Avenue in 1979. She is credited with making Fortunoff a major purveyor of jewelry.


Helene Fortunoff, who built a multimillion-dollar jewelry empire with outlets across the New York region and a flagship store on Fifth Avenue, died on Nov. 8, 2021, in Miami Beach.  She was 88.

The cause was a respiratory illness, her daughter Esther Fortunoff-Greene (Wheatley 1972) said.

Mrs. Fortunoff started her career in 1953 working for her husband Alan Fortunoff’s family business, which at the time was a mom-and-pop enterprise selling housewares in Brooklyn.  In 1957, she proposed adding a jewelry line and spearheaded the family’s entry into that uncharted sector.

“My husband’s interest was limited solely to silver gifts and flatware,” she told The New York Times in 2001, “and it was becoming apparent that that wasn’t going to be an important enough business for us.  We wanted to offer more luxury products with higher value.”

Fortunoff would become one of the largest retailers in the region.  By 2003, it had six stores that specialized in fine jewelry, crystal and silver giftware: one on Fifth Avenue at 54th Street; one in Westbury, on Long Island; and one in White Plains, N.Y., as well as three in New Jersey, in Paramus, Wayne and Woodbridge. (Other Fortunoff stores went on to sell outdoor furniture.)

As the jewelry business grew, Mrs. Fortunoff, one of the few female executives in the industry, developed a cadre of mostly women buyers.  They traveled the world to distant locales, including diamond mines in Africa, to find new products, which Fortunoff then marketed as “high-end jewelry at affordable prices.”

The company raised its profile in 1979 by signing Lauren Bacall, the sultry movie star, as its spokeswoman. In full-page newspaper ads, Ms. Bacall extolled the glories of accessorizing.

“There’s nothing like the blaze of diamonds to warm a winter’s evening,” she declared in one.  And in another, “If you find me drowning in freshwater pearls, don’t rescue me.”

Mrs. Fortunoff became president of the company, formally known as Fortunoff Fine Jewelry & Silverware Inc., after her husband died in 2000.


Mrs. Fortunoff renovated parts of her company’s Fifth Avenue store to showcase antique and silver giftware and jewelry, marketed as “high-end jewelry at affordable prices.” She also expanded the company’s bridal and gift registry.

Mrs. Fortunoff renovated parts of her company’s Fifth Avenue store to showcase antique and silver giftware and jewelry, marketed as “high-end jewelry at affordable prices.”  She also expanded the company’s bridal and gift registry.  She immersed herself in the company’s finances and visited the stores regularly.  She renovated parts of the Fifth Avenue store to showcase antique and silver giftware and jewelry.  She also expanded the company’s bridal and gift registry.

Helene Fortunoff was a trailblazer,” Amanda Gizzi, spokeswoman for Jewelers of America, an industry trade group, said by email.  “She was one of the women who led the charge in supporting women and helping them have a seat at the table.”

The company carried jewelry by women designers and offered split shifts and flex time to its female employees with children.

Mrs. Fortunoff retired in 2005 after the family sold its majority stake in the company to private investors.

Helene Finke was born on March 2, 1933, in Paterson, N.J., and raised in Fair Lawn.  Her mother, Tillie (Kraut) Finke, was a homemaker. Her father, Samuel Finke, owned a wholesale plumbing, heating and air-conditioning business and cultivated Helene’s entrepreneurial spirit.  She started working for him after school when she was 13.

She began college at Syracuse University and after two years transferred to the New York University School of Commerce, now the Stern School of Business.  She graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1953.

Her classmate, Mr. Fortunoff, whom she had met in a real estate course, also graduated with a degree in business in 1953. The two married that year.

She joined him in his family’s business, which at the time was a small store under the elevated train tracks in Brooklyn.  Founded by his parents, Max and Clara Fortunoff, in 1922, the store was often described as the first discount retailer in the metropolitan area.

Mrs. Fortunoff soon gave birth to her first child; she returned to the store two weeks later.  Ultimately, she had six children and said that she barely allowed herself two weeks off after each birth before going back to work.

“I always wanted a family and a career, and no one ever told me I couldn’t have both,” she told The Times.  Doing both was possible, she said, because she had a staff to manage her home while she worked full time at the store.

Even then, she had a strong business sense.

Mrs. Fortunoff, right, with the actress Lauren Bacall at an event in New York celebrating Fortunoff 25th anniversary. The company raised its profile by signing Ms. Bacall as a spokeswoman for its jewelry line.

Mrs. Fortunoff, right, with the actress Lauren Bacall at an event in New York celebrating Fortunoff 25th anniversary.  The company raised its profile by signing Ms. Bacall as a spokeswoman for its jewelry line.

“I made $50 a week and paid the baby nurse $60,” she told The Times. “But I knew within a period of months I’d be making $100 a week.  I tell women, if their child care isn’t adequate, they’re going to worry, and it will affect their job performance.  It’s better to get the help you need and maybe come up short the first year.  In the long run, you definitely come out ahead.”  She said she was still able to spend quality time with her children.

She also wanted her children to learn the business, she said at a 2010 panel discussion at Hofstra University.  And so, she took them to work, she said, “as soon as they were able to crawl on the floor.” Eventually, five of the six would work at Fortunoff.

Mrs. Fortunoff married Robert Grossman in 2006 and moved to Miami Beach.

In addition to her husband and Ms. Fortunoff-Greene, she is survived by three other daughters, Andrea Fortunoff, Rhonda Hampton and Ruth Fortunoff-Cooper; a son, David; nine grandchildren; and one great-granddaughter. Her son Louis died in 2012.

Mrs. Fortunoff received numerous awards.  She was the first recipient of the National Jeweler Award for retailing excellence.  She was also the first female member of the United States Carat Club, a private group organized by De Beers.

In 2006, she received the Jewelers of America’s Gem Award for lifetime achievement.  It was presented to her by Ms. Bacall.

“One of the perks of a lifetime career in entertainment is that you learn to recognize real talent when you see it,” Ms. Bacall said.  And, she added, she saw it in Ms. Fortunoff, who “lifted her company from small stores in Brooklyn to the heights of retail success.”


A version of this article appears in print on Nov. 14, 2021, Section A, Page 29 of the New York edition with the headline: Helene Fortunoff, Who Built a Family Jewelry Empire, Is Dead at 88.



1973 – Daniel Engoron – Hosting Thanksgiving 2021


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Dan (1973), Art (1967), and Frank (1970) Engoron



1976 – Paul Giarmo – Sports Guy Through and Through

Writes Paul – “Football at Wheatley may have ‘suffered’ during the mid-'60's, but the Wildcat Physical Fitness Team was a pretty tough looking bunch of customers based on those pictures.  Especially proud of these guys considering how small a school we were/are.  Wish we had guys like that today.   Now if I could only track down that woman who presented you with that award!”     


1978 – Marianne Dimmler –Fond Memories of Bill and Lorraine Meyn and the Neighborhood
Writes Marianne – “I lived next door to William Meyn (1974) and his sister Lorraine for many years, until their mother died, and his father remarried .
I can’t begin to explain all the wonderful memories that came flooding back when I read about him in Wheatley Alumni Association Newsletter # 54.  His mother was a teacher if I remember correctly.  She would have two or three younger children (I was in this group) come in once a week, and she would instruct us in art and crafts.  To be treated to this was amazingly special, and I was in awe of her generosity and sophistication. She had a grand piano in the living room, and her daughter Lorraine played beautifully.  I had fantasies of being in a grand salon in Paris!  She died too young.  Her children, “BILLY,” as I knew him, and “LORRAINE,” had the same welcoming and friendly manner.  The house became a magnet that drew all of us kids, of all ages.  It was an almost mystical Adventureland.  There was always an exciting variety of games and things going on ...
We’d Play Sardines, which was a variation of hide and seek.  The seekers had to join the children hidden in their hiding spot until everyone was packed in like ... you get the idea !

They had a small tool shed in their back yard, and on occasion they would empty it and have a small sleepover party.  Only a few feet away from the house and with comfortable beds!  Days could be filled just hanging out being exposed to their love of music: the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Monkeys, Joni Mitchell, Santana ... my list could go on for miles.  It was like living inside Rolling Stone or Creem magazine. A big treat was once when I and a girlfriend of mine took our sleeping bags and stayed up on their living room floor to watch Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho’ for the first time on TV.  I was so excited and frightened.  It was wonderful ... LOL.  Inevitably, the two of us fell asleep BEFORE the famous shower scene!!
I never look at a loaf of Arnold brick oven bread without thinking about a piece of it and a glass of milk. Even with all of the snacks available today, I’ve never tasted anything better than those two things that were always offered when we hung out in their house.  We had endless fun with their cats, ‘socks’ and “puff.”  My status in the neighborhood  was raised simply by living next door!!! 

I remember two young boys with whom I played BATMAN and ROBIN  (I was always Cat Woman).  We would inevitably knock on their door and BILLY WOULD OBLIGE THE BOYS  BY BEING ONE OF BATMAN’S ARCH ENEMIES AND BEATING THEM BOTH UP UPON REQUEST.  We never seemed to be a nuisance to either him or his sister!  Over the years when I remember them I thought fancifully that I would be a billionaire if I could’ve cloned  both of them and handed them out to people who wanted talented, handsome and giving children . 

After their father remarried, they both wanted to finish high school up here before moving.  Lorraine stayed with us, and BILLY stayed with neighbors a few doors down.  Lorraine eventually moved out of state and Billy joined the coast guard.  My mother wrote back and forth with Lorraine until mom died.  Billy would always stop by whenever he was back on Long Island.  Unfortunately, I lost contact with Lorraine after my mother died.  Sincerely,
Marianne Dimmler.”


1978– Jeff Needle –Golfing With Wheatley Buddies

Writes Jeff – “I’ve noticed that the early classes seem to contribute more than the late ‘70’s classes.  So, I’m trying to make up for the lack of input from our era.  I’ve been lucky enough to stay close with a dozen or so classmates.  I was the new guy in the neighborhood and North Side when I moved to Roslyn Heights in 1968/3rd grade.  Most of these guys spent Kindergarten together (Mrs. Deaner’s Class at Willets, so I’m told), and a lot of our parents and siblings have also remained friendly.  We stayed pretty tight through high school, some as soccer and basketball teammates, and all going to various, concerts, beaches, parties and the like.  We had a mix of SWS and “traditional” schoolers.  And the Thanksgiving Turkey Bowl football games at Willets, in all kinds of weather, kept us meeting at least annually through college and our 20s.

After college I moved to West Palm Beach and began converting these friends from basketball and soccer players into golfers, with varying degrees of success and enthusiasm I might add (I was the only golfer through high school).  When we turned 40, a recent divorce left me with a house in WPB, so I invited everyone down for a weekend of food, drink, and golf.  The next year, tragically, we lost one of the gang, when charter member and all-around great guy Glenn Kirwin perished when the towers fell on 9-11.  After that, in fond memory, we named the annual (and occasionally when the going got tough biennial) gatherings KirKups, sometimes at my place in West Palm, sometimes at Bob Glantz’s home in Siesta Key, FL, sometimes at Dan Paisner’s digs in Park City, UT for skiing/golf, and an occasional NY gathering at Steve Rosen’s golf club.

I’m sharing this background to announce that the most recent KirKup was held Oct 6 here in West Palm.  We had an enthusiastic turnout of 8 -- a solid number given the difficulty convincing New Yorkers to come to Florida these days.  Mike Kass was in from Oakland, CA; Bob Glantz drove across the state; Pete Mester came down from Philly; and Steve Rosen, Bill Haft, and Eric Kahan (our official photographer) all made the trip from NY.  Missing in action were Bob Brinkman, Dan Paisner (esteemed President of the Class of ’78), Neil Eisenstadt and Mark Napack.  We enjoyed two official rounds of “competition” golf, but we squeezed in 5 rounds for the hard core (i.e., Kass), who came early and stayed late.  As always, it was great to party with the old gang.  And a shout-out to Billy, who admirably picked up the acerbic slack and oenophilic expertise in Paisner’s and Brinkman’s respective absences.  

A great time was had by all.  As always, thanks for the great pics Eric (a few of which are included here for everyone’s amusement).

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From Left to Right:  Neil Eisenstadt, Dan Paisner, Bill Haft, Mike Kass, Pete Mester, Steve Rosen, Bob Glantz.

Reclining:  Jeff Needle


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Left to right: Pete Mester, Bill Haft, Jeff Needle, Steve Rosen, in a match that went 18 holes




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Jeff Needle demonstrating his smooth swing




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Mike Kass and Bob Glantz on the tee



A group of men playing golf

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Pete Mester, Bill Haft and Steve Rosen




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Mike Kass and Bob Glantz catching up



1980 – Robert (“Bob”) Koenig – Musician Moves from Mineola to Levittown


1980 alumni with songs written for the 75th anniversary of Levittown NY.

October 2022 marks 75 years of the suburban township.

Songs available on Amazon, iTunes, Spotify and YouTube.”



Fan Mail


1960 (David Eastman) – “ I look forward to the newsletters. We were very lucky to grow up when and where we did.   Thank you, Wheatley, for the fortunate head start you gave us.  Gracias a la vida!”


1960 (Paul Hennessy) – “Kudos on another fine Wheatley School Alumni Association Newsletter.  Thanks again for your dedicated work.  We alums are in your debt (for at least a few adult beverages whenever we cross your path.)


1961 (Camille Napoli Cannizzo) – “Thank You, Art.  Excellent Newsletter as always….. enjoyed seeing pics of my Brother Chuck and his Wheatley buddies.


1966 (Claude Lévy) – “Thanks and kudos.”


1966 (Allan Silver) – “Another wonderful newsletter!  I was sorry to learn of Mike Harvey's passing. He and his brother Richard (1966), a high school classmate and friend of mine, were very close.


1966 (Suzanne Ellen Stone) – “Thanks for the heartwarming message from Richard Harvey (1966) about the passing of his brother Michael (1961) (Newsletter # 64).  Richard's tribute was so beautiful and brought tears to my eyes.  And thanks for including the accomplishments of my sister, Joanne (1979).  Wishing you blessings for the holidays.... you are amazing!!!!  Warmest Wishes, Suzanne Stone”


1967 (Phil Fea) – “Art, it’s always good hearing from you, thank you for keeping us informed.”


1967 (Richard Mark Friedman) - Thanks for hitting off Newsletter # 64 with that wonderful photo of the Faculty and Administration.  Now that I've reached this point in my life, many of them look younger than my children, no longer appearing “old’ as they might have to me back then.  I wish I could have appreciated more the wisdom that they were always generous to share with us.  Great issue as always!”


1967 (Scott Frishman) – “Great newsletter, as usual😊.”


1967 (Richard Holub) – “Nice outfit, Art.”


1967 (Barbara Smith Stanisic) – “Thank you again, Art, for a great newsletter.  My sisters (Diane Smith Chiarelli, 1970; and Dorothy Smith Giustra, 1973) and I really enjoyed it.”


1967 (Joe Tartaglia) – “Thank you, Arthur.  Keep Up The Good Work.  I love looking at all the photos and hearing about friends!!”


1968 (Ken Gallard) – “Thanks for the latest Newsletter.”


1968 (Tom Glaser) – “Nice😊


1968 (Arlene Rappaport Vezza) – “ Thank you for keeping these Newsletters going.  It's always fun to read up on my classmates.”


1972 (Patricia Bennett Millerioux) – “Great edition of the newsletter.”


1973 (Lauren Karasyk Oakley) – “Thanks.”


1976 (Paul Giarmo) – “Hi Arthur: Really enjoyed the recent newsletter, especially the continuing exploits of the gridiron greats from the Class of 1960.  They look terrific in their red shirts, and I’m sure they still can throw some great downfield blocks.


1977 (Lance Manning) – “Thank you, Art, for the wonderful newsletter.  I look forward to catching up on these current events.  I wouldn’t trade my time at Wheatley and the friends that I made there for anything else in the world.  You are the best.”


1978 (Jeff Needle) – “Thanks for all you do; my buddies and I from the Class of 1978 really enjoy the newsletter.  Thanks for making the effort to connect so many Wheatleyites.”


1979 (Gwendolyn (“Wendy”) McClure) – “Thank you, Sweetheart! 🙏  A gem of a Newsletter!”


1982 (Ellen Greenfield Greenwald) – “Thank you for doing this!  I look forward to it every month.  You are the Wheatley hero!”


1983 (Takemi Ueno) – “Thanks for everything you do for The Wheatley School Alumni Association.”


1985 (Matthew Littman) – “Incredible that you do this.”




That’s it for The Wheatley School Alumni Association Newsletter # 65.  Please send me your autobiography before someone else sends me your obituary.


Arthur Fredericks Engoron

The Wheatley School Class of 1967