Whether it was serving his country or serving on community boards, Elliot Spiro was always looking to do what many people believe is the right thing throughout his life.
Spiro, a Hewlett resident, died on Feb. 7. He was 90.
Born in Woodmere on Christmas Day, 1928, Spiro graduated from Woodmere High School in 1946. He attended the University of Illinois and graduated in 1950. Just months after getting his degree, Spiro began serving his country in the Korean War, where he spent most of the next two years stationed in Japan.
After returning home, Spiro went into the insurance business, a profession worked in for more than 65 years. He also served on the boards of the Five Towns Community Chest; South Nassau Communities Hospital; the United Jewish Federation; Temple Beth El in Cedarhurst; the Heart Fund; and the American Cancer Society. In addition, he was a member of the Sons of Italy, the Pfc. John J. Oliveri Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1582 in Inwood, the Masons in Woodmere, the Independent Insurance Agents Association of Nassau County and New York State as well as being a founding member of the Tempo Group which is a non-profit outpatient-counseling center that has been battling substance abuse through supportive therapies and prevention programs for nearly 50 years.
“For 90 years, through his generosity, philanthropy and time, Elliot affected so many,” his son, Steve, said. “We are all better off because he did. He was a good guy and he indeed had a wonderful life.”
Spiro was also active with the Republican Party, serving as committeeman in the 1950s and ’60s. Locally with the Five Towns Kiwanis as well as at the divisional and state levels of Kiwanis in the 1960s and ’70s in which he ultimately served as the New York District Governor.
“None of his involvement was because he had a family member or a friend in need, but it was because it was the right to do,” Steven, said. “Elliot’s credo was ‘things don’t happen by themselves, people make things happen.’ This speaks to his constant belief in serving and giving back to his community.”
His wife of 40 years, Marion “Pigeon” Haber, predeceased him in 1996. Spiro is survived by son Steven, his wife Debbie; son Marc and his wife Debbie; son David and his wife Lani; daughter Micki, her late husband Angelo Licciardi who predeceased Elliot in 2010 and her current husband Rob; 16 grandchildren Jeffrey, Erin, Brian, Marisa, Stuart, Sydney, Robbie, Isabel, Jordan Bethany, Rachel, Adam, Allison, Perry, Nathan and Mara; two great-grandsons Logan and Gavin. Another great-grandson is expected to be born at the end of May.
A funeral service was held at the Boulevard Riverside Chapels in Hewlett on Feb. 10.
“Each and every one of us had a very special relationship with Elliot and vice versa,” Steven said.