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Cartoonist Bernard Schoenbaum dies

LeHavre residents and readers of numerous publications including The New Yorker, Wall Street Journal and many other books and publications lost a dear friend whose drawings and cartoons have touched the hearts of millions of readers across the world.

Bernard Schoenbaum, a nine-year resident of LeHavre, a cooperative in Whitestone, and renowned illustrator and cartoonist, died on May 7. He was 89.

Schoenbaum began his career as a commercial illustrator, and he went into cartooning after his wife Rhoda Abrahams took a full-time job as a school librarian.

“He was a natural cartoonist,” said Abrahams, his wife of more than 60 years. “It just came naturally to him.”

Schoenbaum and Abrahams lived in a home on Long Island for 47 years and raised three children there, but, in 2001, they decided to get an apartment and moved into LeHavre.

“We enjoyed looking out on the water,” said Abrahams, who also mentioned that the couple had a home on the water in West Palm Beach, FL.

Abrahams said that her husband’s love of drawing cartoons extended beyond the work he did for The New Yorker, where he had more than 400 of his works published from 1974 through 2002, and other publications. She talked about how during cruises that the couple took, Schoenbaum would do portrait sketches of passengers, without charging them a fee, and those passengers from all over the world had copies of his work.

In addition, during the holiday season, Schoenbaum would draw a cartoon of the family that they would send out as a card to family and friends.

“The last one [this past year] was really sensational,” said his wife, who described the cartoon as a drawing of Schoenbaum as Don Quixote and her as Pancho Villa with the Throgs Neck Bridge in the background.

After the couple settled at LeHavre in 2001, Schoenbaum became a building captain and continued to draw cartoons about the scenes around LeHavre.

“He even drew some cartoons about the proxy,” Abrahams said. “He had an illustration for everything about the building.”

Meanwhile, Schoenbaum also shared his art work and cartoons at LeHavre art shows and various other events around the apartment complex.

Schoenbaum is survived by his wife Rhoda; three daughters, Audrey Tufano of East Meadow, Laura Schoenbaum Rothenberg of Shirley, NY, and Joyce Dara of Santa Monica, CA; and one granddaughter.

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