Long Beach loses a leader

Larry Elovich, former Democratic chair and Chamber president, dies at 77


Before Larry Elovich’s funeral service at Temple Emanu-el on Monday ended with the playing of his favorite Frank Sinatra song, “My Way,” former U.S. Sen. Al D’Amato recalled meeting his close friend.

It was 1961, and they were both young men in their 20s from Brooklyn studying for the bar — and it was “brutal,” D’Amato said.

“It was the two of us, Frick and Frack,” he said. “I said, ‘Don’t worry, this Italian will get you through the bar.’ He said, ‘What are you, kidding me? I know more than you do, and that’s not much.’ Notwithstanding the difference in political ideologies … we became friends. We had a common bond. He was honorable … you knew where you stood with him. I could depend on him to tell me the truth.”

Elovich and D’Amato went on to become not only powerful political leaders but, as D’Amato put it, “brothers.”

Elovich, a well-known local attorney, a former Long Beach Democratic Committee chairman and a past president of the Chamber of Commerce, died at age 77 on Sept. 21 at Memorial-Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, after battling kidney cancer. He was buried in Wellwood Cemetery in Farmingdale.

Roughly a thousand people attended the funeral, at which Elovich’s family and close friends — including U.S. Rep. Peter King and New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli — recalled a man who fought to transform Long Beach into the vibrant city it is today. Elovich was remembered for his ability to reach out to Republicans and Democrats alike, bridging not only political divides, but ethnic ones as well.

“Republicans, Jews, Democrats, blacks, whites, Italians … people from every origin — they came to him because they knew they could count on him,” D’Amato said. “And when he fought for them, he knew that he was going to get the best for them. He never took things or people for granted.”

Elovich is survived by his wife, Helen Mirel, whom he married in 1963; a sister, Eleanor Elovich Glanstein; three daughters, Lisa, Lauree and Lynn; and nine grandchildren.

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