In his 100 years, Hewlett Harbor resident Harry Kassel was a successful businessman, creating the nation’s largest kosher beef wholesale operation in the 1960s and lending a helping hand to what has become Mount Sinai Nassau Hospital in Oceanside.
Kassel died on June 29. He was 100.
The former kosher beef wholesaler, and emeritus and former chairman of the Board of Directors of Mount Sinai Nassau hospital (originally South Nassau Communities Hospital), was said to be a businessman who feared nobody, but possessed a very infectious and energetic personality.
“We will forever remember and be thankful for Harry’s service, commitment, loyalty and leadership as a member and chair of the Board,” Joseph Fennessy, a Board Co-chair said in a news release.
In the 1960s, he Kassel founded and ran Flushing-Zeger and as an innovator in the food industry, he was the first to adopt the then-new Cryovac technology. This allowed meat to be tightly sealed before being shipped. The company supplied a majority of New York’s best restaurants, hotels and supermarkets.
Nearly 20 years later, Kassel had created an export-oriented co-op of 250 Israeli agricultural entities to bring Israeli food products to an international market. He also had a role in management consultation to many of the nation’s top food brands. Including Land O’ Lakes, Hebrew National, Armour & Co. and more while serving on the boards of several public companies.
He also served his community as a vice president and a longtime board member of the Hewlett-East Rockaway Jewish Centre in East Rockaway, where he served for years as a board member and Vice President.
Community service was viewed as a tradition rather than a burden. Kassel served on the New York State Court of Appeals Grievance Committee. He was the first of what were considered blue-collar businessmen to be appointed for this position. Before that the committee was comprised of only lawyers.
Kassel served on the Board of Directors of South Nassau Communities Hospital for three decades, being appointed to the Board of Directors in 1994.
He was then elected Board Chair and served in that position from 1998 to 2004. In that post, he worked relentlessly to expand the board into a well-organized governing body with an extensive focus on the needs of the residents of the South Shore communities.
Following 25 years of service, he retired from Mount Sinai South Nassau Board in 2019 and served ad emeritus. He then committed countless hours on various hospital committees, was known as a generous donor and a highly effective fundraiser.
“His legacy of giving his time, talents and leadership serves as an enduring inspiration for the Board of Directors as it continues its dedicated work of providing the vision, innovation and strategic guidance that empowers Mount Sinani South Nassau to fulfill its mission: providing high-quality, accessible healthcare and medical services to the residents of Long Island.” Fennessy said in the release.
Kassel loved to travel with his wife of 74 years. Zeena, who is still alive. The couple visited museums and attended cultural events. He is survived by Zeena, daughters Wendy and Lisa (Mitchell Winter), son Richard (Penny Venetis), and his five grandchildren.
A funeral service was held at Boulevard Riverside Chapels in Hewlett on July 2. He was interred at Mt. Ararat Cemetery in Lindenhurst.