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Obituary: Dr. William S. Grauer, Civil Leader for Half-Century, Dies

Funeral services were scheduled for June 26 for Dr. William S. Grauer, the consulting dentist for the Great Neck public schools for more than 20 years and a civic leader for a half-century, who died on June 24 in Bettendorf, IA. He was 95 and had Alzheimer’s Disease.

A resident of Great Neck from 1926 to 1993, Dr. Grauer was a leader of every organization to which he belonged. He was a member of the Steppingstone Masonic Lodge from 1956 to 1993 and served as New York Master in 1977. He later received the Scottish Rite Legion of Honor. A member of the Lions Club of Great Neck from 1952 to 1993, he served as its president in 1975. He also was president of the Russell Gardens Association in 1982 and served as the incorporated village’s official historian for 40 years. He also was secretary of the Glenhead, N.Y., No. 336 Rifle and Pistol Club for 16 years.

A popular dentist in Great Neck for 53 years, Dr. Grauer personally fitted the mouth protectors for generations of middle and high school athletes during his two decades as the school system’s consulting dentist. He also was a member of the staff of North Shore Hospital in Manhasset for 25 years.

Born on Aug. 15, 1915 in Chicago, Dr. Grauer was the son of Albert L. Grauer, an advertising executive, and Hattie S. Grauer, once a secretary to famed humorist, Irvin S. Cobb. He moved with his parents and his younger sister, Alice, to New York City in 1923 and to Great Neck in 1926, where they were just the fourth family to build a house in what would become Russell Gardens in 1931.

Dr. Grauer recalled Great Neck when it was home to Broadway, film, literary, journalistic and industrial luminaries – some of whom he got to know quite well. W. C. Fields lived around the block (Dr. Grauer was not a fan of the irascible comedian); actors Fredric March and his wife, Florence Eldridge, also lived in Russell Gardens; as did Dennis King, then a renowned Broadway star, and Douglas Dumbrille, a character actor who would become one of Hollywood’s most reliable villains. Dr. Grauer was a frequent tennis opponent of both King and Dumbrille and liked them immensely. Dr. Grauer went to high school with the sons of legendary newspaperman and author Ring Lardner and could point out the house in University Gardens that was home to F. Scott Fitzgerald when he was writing The Great Gatsby. Dr. Grauer also recalled seeing Walter P. Chrysler’s yacht floating in Manhasset Bay off what now is the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and Steppingstone Park. His parents were close friends of financier Joseph H. Hirshhorn, then a resident of Great Neck, who later founded the Washington, D.C. art gallery and sculpture garden that now bears his name. Dr. Grauer had a summer job as a runner on Wall Street for Hirshhorn.

Dr. Grauer’s parents were among the founders of Temple Beth-El of Great Neck in 1928, and Dr. Grauer was a member of its first, five-student confirmation class in 1930. A 1932 graduate of Great Neck High School (now Great Neck North), he obtained his bachelor’s degree from The Johns Hopkins University in 1936 and his doctorate in dentistry from Columbia University in 1940.

Dr. Grauer married Miriam L. Jacoby, whom he had known in high school, in January 1941. They had two sons, Anthony M. Grauer, now of Mayfield Heights, OH, and Neil A. Grauer, now of Baltimore. Dr. Grauer volunteered for the Army shortly after the U.S. entry into WWII. Commissioned as a captain, he rose to the rank of major and served in the Dental Corps of the 150th Infantry, stationed in Panama. He received the WWII Victory Medal and the American Campaign Medal for his service after being mustered out in late 1945. He served in the military reserves for eight years.

Dr. Grauer’s marriage to Miriam Grauer lasted until her death in 1974. He wed Jane W. Holzer in 1975 and they remained married until her death in 2005.

Upon retiring in 1993, Dr. Grauer and his wife moved to Bettendorf, IA, where the youngest of Jane Grauer’s four daughters with the late Marvin Holzer, Louise Holzer Sullivan, lives. In Bettendorf, Dr. Grauer was a member of the Hamilton Lodge of Masons; the Lions Club of Bettendorf, for which he served as secretary; and the Davenport Hi-Twelve Club No. 47. A world traveler with both of his wives, Dr. Grauer visited every continent but Antarctica. He enjoyed giving illustrated lectures on the major cities and regions he had visited and did so frequently at the Masonic home in Bettendorf before he entered it himself in 2004.

In addition to his sons, Dr. Grauer is survived by step-daughters and sons-in-law, Diane and Charles Siskin; Judy and Michael Hersher; Louise Sullivan and Robert Ferris; and Susan van Berg. Survivors also include 10 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Arrangements were made by the Weerts Funeral Home, Davenport. Services were officiated by Rabbi Henry Karp. Military honors were presented by American Legion Post #26, Davenport. Memorials donations may be made to Iowa Masonic Health Facility or Temple Emanuel of Davenport. The family would like to thank the Iowa Masonic Health Facility for their loving care of Bill. Online condolences may be expressed to Dr. Grauer’s family by visiting www.WeertsFH.com.