March 7, 2013 | 793 views
Founder of East Meadow Chamber turns 100
Frances Silece Reder helped unify local business community
A little more than 50 years ago, Frances Reder moved from Manhattan to East Meadow and opened an Army-Navy store on Front Street, called Reder Surplus, with her late husband, Louis.
The shop had been open for only a year when Frances, aiming to enhance the allure of the local business community, helped establish the East Meadow Chamber of Commerce. Louis became its first president, and his wife took the reins as the president shortly after.
Since then, the Chamber has grown exponentially, boasting a network of hundreds of business owners whose mission is to ensure a flourishing local economy.
Reder, whose family would grow to include nine children, has never left the local scene, having moved to Westbury in the 1960s. She moved into Bristal Assisted Living, also in Westbury, three years ago.
After years of operating Reder Surplus’s East Meadow location, and then a second store in Merrick, Reder worked as a clerk in the Nassau County court system for 30 years before retiring. In between, she helped found the East Meadow Kiwanis Club, which, at the time, was a male-dominated organization. And on Feb. 27, capping a lifetime full of milestones, Reder, surrounded by her siblings, children, grandchildren, friends and admirers, celebrated another one: her 100th birthday.
Two of her daughters, Rosemary Reder — who flew in from Florida for the occasion — and Anne Jensen, organized the centenary celebration. Reder’s other daughter, Gale Anziano, died 10 years ago. “My mother’s been waiting for this day to come,” said Rosemary. “I’m so happy that it turned out so successful and that so many wonderful people arrived.”
Among the celebrants were County Legislator Norma Gonsalves, former County Executive Thomas Gulotta and Gulotta’s brother, Frank, a Nassau County judge. Gonsalves said she has known Reder since her early days as a member of the Chamber of Commerce, as well as Kiwanis. “At one point, Kiwanis was really a male-oriented club,” Gonsalves recalled. “And eventually they opened the door to women.”
The legislator joked that she doesn’t often have the opportunity to attend 100th birthday parties. “And when I heard about Fran’s,” she said, “I said, that’s even better, because I know her. I was thrilled to come today.”