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Obituary: Elsie Wunsch

Elsie Wunsch

Elsie Wunsch, nee Rubin, 97, of Glen Cove, died peacefully at Glen Cove Hospital on June 5, 2009. Elsie was born on Aug. 23, 1911 in Manhattan and is an alumna of Columbia University.

She married her beloved Samuel, a mechanical engineer, in 1934. The couple built a home (which they named Elsam) overlooking Long Island Sound on East Island in Glen Cove, moving in on V-J Day in 1945, and spent their lives there.

Elsie’s and Sam’s passion for travel took them to more than 125 countries, an interest that Elsie continued to pursue after Sam’s death in 1980. During her travels, Elsie amassed a collection of 350 dolls, favoring examples of local craftsmanship over what she called “tourist dolls.”

The couple contributed actively to their community as volunteers, lovers of the arts and philanthropists. A long history of support of Glen Cove Hospital most recently included funding for the Wunsch Center for Rehabilitative Therapies, an 8,200-square-foot inpatient rehabilitation and spa center.

Elsie volunteered with the Glen Cove Hospital Auxiliary for more than 30 years, following Sam’s treatment there in the 1970s. Even as she entered her 90s, Elsie’s pink-smocked presence continued to lend assistance and comfort to countless patients and visitors. She was recognized as an exemplar of citizen volunteerism in a 2006 profile by the Daily News.

Elsie was also active in teaching English as a Second Language in the Glen Cove School District and contributed to the Glen Cove Council of the Arts, the Glen Cove Community Scholarship Fund, the Girl Scouts and local animal welfare causes. She attended, with enthusiasm, the Metropolitan Opera and the Tilles Center for the Performing Arts.

Elsie is survived by members of the Wunsch and Durando families. A tiny woman who possessed an encyclopedic memory and told a good joke, she will be lovingly remembered and missed by all whose lives she touched.

Funeral services will be private. A memorial service will be held on June 20 from noon to 2:30 p.m. Call 212-889-8790 for information. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Glen Cove Community Scholarship Fund, PO Box 453, Glen Cove, NY 11542. Arrangements entrusted to Dodge-Thomas Funeral Home, Glen Cove.