Anita L. Halpern, a Great Neck resident for over 50 years, passed away at her home on April 12.
She was 96 years old and is survived by her children Judy Coniglio of Mt. Juliet, Tenn, David Halpern of Vestavia Hills, Ala., and Nina Gordon of Great Neck; 6 grandchildren, and 3 great-grandchildren.
An avid swimmer, Anita lived on Arleigh Road in Kensington from 1961-2014, and was a familiar fixture at the Kensington pool, swimming laps until she was in her 80s.
She was also an accomplished artist, whose work was awarded prizes at juried exhibitions throughout Long Island, including the Great Neck Artists Network and the Queens County Fair.
Anita began painting in oil and acrylic in the 1960s, studying at the Art Students League in Manhattan, and later expanded to watercolor, stone sculpture and jewelry making in the 1980s and 1990s, taking classes at the Great Neck Adult Center on Cumberland Avenue.
One of the earliest members of Womanspace, Anita joined a memoir group and began writing after the death of her husband Sid in 1982, and eventually published her memoir, “Swimming to Yaphank and Back,” in 2009. The book can be found in the Great Neck Library.
Politically active since her teens, Anita was an early member of Women Strike for Peace, SANE and other progressive groups.
She traveled the world with her husband while he was alive, and continued to travel with friends throughout North & South America, Europe and Asia for many years following his passing.
She lived independently well into her 80s, when her grandson Schuyler Gordon moved in with her to lend a hand.
At the age of 92, she sold the family home in Kensington and moved into a co-op apartment in Great Neck with her daughter Nina.
Although faced with numerous physical challenges as she aged, Anita’s mind remained sharp until the very end, and she enjoyed listening to “Live from the Metropolitan Opera” every Saturday on WQXR and watching “Jeopardy!” every night on TV.
When her vision deteriorated due to macular degeneration and she could no longer read, she adapted and listened to books recorded on a flash drive. While her formal education stopped at high school, her curiosity and hunger for learning had no limits.
Funeral services were held on April 15 at Sinai Chapels in Fresh Meadows, followed by interment at Beth Moses Cemetery in West Babylon.