Harry Beltrani’s friends said he was a community-minded person who was always a man of his word. The longtime Woodmere resident and Korean War veteran died of a stroke on July 28. He was 88.
Born in November 1930 in Queens, Beltrani served in the United States Army from 1952 to 1954. While on service, Beltrani married his wife, Anna. After the war, he moved to Woodmere, where he would spend the majority of his life.
Beltrani worked in his family’s business; Inwood-based Bedcraft by Beltrani Mattresses, founded in 1935 by his father. Beltrani was active with the Five Towns, Peninsula and Howard Beach Kiwanis clubs and was an American Legion Lawrence-Cedarhurst Post 339 member.
Post Commander Syd Mandelbaum knew Beltrani for 39 years. “Harry was a kind and down to earth person,” Mandelbaum said. “One thing that stands out to me about Harry is that his word was his bond.”
Mandelbaum said that Beltrani was the chairman for Post 339’s annual Disabled Veterans Night for roughly 20 years. He expanded the night to the Howard Beach Kiwanis in 2014. Club president Pat Alesia helped Beltrani present the idea the members. “Harry was a very difficult person to say no to,” Alesia said. “I knew Harry for only five years but it felt like I knew him for a lifetime. He was an amazing individual.”
Hewlett resident Josephine Panzarella knew Beltrani for roughly 20 years and she recalled a story that underscored his kindness. “We invited Harry over for dinner one night about 15 years ago,” Panzarella said. “He noticed that the chair he was sitting on was wobbly. The next weekend, he showed up at our door early in the morning with tools in his hands and he fixed all of our chairs.”
Panzarella also noted Beltrani’s support of Disabled Veterans Night. “There were times when more money needed to be raised for Disabled Veterans Night,” she said. “With no hesitation, Harry raised the money from his own pocket.”
He was a Sanitary District 1 commissioner for more than 15 years. He was re-elected for a fourth term in 2018. James Vilardi, a fellow commissioner, remembered Beltrani. “Harry’s involvement with the veterans is always something that will be ingrained in my mind since my father was a veteran,” Vilardi said. “He was also just an overall nice man. He would always ask how you and your family were doing.” In 2017, Beltrani received the distinguished Nassau County Veterans Service Award.
He was predeceased by Anna six years ago and survived by his son, Harry Beltrani Jr. Funeral services were at St. Joachim's R.C. Church in Cedarhurst on July 31. He is interred at Calverton National Cemetery. “Harry was the most generous, kindest and giving man that I’ve ever known,” Panzarella said.