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Shirley Weinstein, veteran Flushing community leader dies

By Madina Toure

Shirley Weinstein, a well-known community and civic leader in Flushing who died at the age of 90 June 13, was described by friends and fellow community leaders as a hardworking, honest activist who was always “civic-minded.”

Weinstein, who died of an undisclosed illness, had just celebrated her 90th birthday June 5. The burial was held June 15 at New Montefiore Cemetery in West Babylon, N.Y. Her husband, Hal, an accountant, died in July 2012.

Weinstein is well-known for serving as secretary for Community Board 8 for 28 years and for founding the Mid Queens Community Council about 40 years ago, a meeting of civic association leaders and other organizations in central Queens such as religious organizations. She was actively involved with the council, for which she served as president, until her death.

She also served as treasurer for the 107th Precinct Community Council, a board member of the Queens Child Guidance Center, president of Aguilar Gardens Coop at 156-11 Aguilar Ave. in Pomonok and an officer of the St. Joseph’s Hospital Community Advisory Board.

Her accomplishments include confronting stores in her neighborhood that were not properly managing their garbage and cutting down on car theft in the 107th Precinct area, said Morton Povman, who served as a city councilman for 30 years.

He knew her as a personal friend, noting that they both had boats moored in a yacht club in Long Island.

“I had many contacts with her over local problems, her own building problems and she was a watchdog for the community,” Povman said. “She didn’t just wait for things to happen, she used to anticipate something going on and avoid it.”

CB 8 member Jim Gallagher, president of the Fresh Meadows Homeowners Civic Association, called Weinstein a “mentor.”

She encouraged him to become president of the Mid Queens Community Council, a position he held in the late 1980s, he said.

“She had such great insight into the community, what needed to be done, what needed to be corrected and she had known all the elected officials,” Gallagher said. “She was greatly respected by everybody. She was a firm woman. She was not a pushover.”

Weinstein was raised in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn and moved to Aguilar Gardens in 1966, where she lived until her death.

City Councilman Rory Lancman (D-Hillcrest) said he became acquainted with Weinstein when he joined CB 8 while in college, calling her a “mainstay” of the civic community of northeast Queens.

“She was always a friend and always outspoken about the needs of our community,” Lancman said in a statement.

John Callari, vice president of the Fresh Meadows Homeowners Civic Association, recalled a time when she donated money to his PAC 174, a Boy Scouts troop, at PS 173, that they used to buy supplies for the scouts’ projects.

“It was very nice of her to do that,” Callari said. “She was very ill at the time.”

Jeff Gottlieb, president of the Central Queens Historical Association, who previously served as Povman’s chief of staff and president of the JFK Democratic Club, said that when he became involved in civic life in 1973, Weinstein took on many causes, especially pertaining to parks, zoning and other environmental concerns.

He noted that the Mid Queens Community Council was her way to put pressure on civic groups, legislators and political leaders to get things done.

“I just remember her being honest and decent and a tough person, but she did it for the communities that she represented in central Queens,” Gottlieb said.

Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtoure@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4566.

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