Village of Kings Point resident Evelyn Horowitz Weinstein, a longtime social worker at several Long Island hospitals who dedicated much of her career caring for military veterans suffering from mental illness, died on Monday. She was 89.
Weinstein “died peacefully in her sleep,” her husband U.S. District Court Judge Jack Weinstein confirmed on Tuesday.
“The family was very important,” Weinstein said of his wife. “She was one of those early feminists who carried a heavy professional work load and brought up three wonderful sons.”
The daughter of Polish immigrants, Weinstein said Evelyn’s work ethic was formed at an early age, along with her passion for social work.
“She worked as a child, really, beginning at 13 taking care of children in the Catskills,” Weinstein recalled of his wife. “By that time she wanted to go to college and she wanted to be a social worker. So she wanted to put money in the bank.”
Through scholarships and the money she saved, Weinstein eventually went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in social work from Brooklyn College in 1942. She later received a master’s degree in social work from Columbia University in 1944.
“Thousands of frail and poor were helped through her role as psychiatric social worker and advocate for the disadvantaged,” Weinstein recalled of Evelyn in an obituary he wrote this week.
Weinstein, who was grand marshal of this year’s Great Neck Memorial Day parade, said he met Evelyn before he joined the Navy in 1942. The couple was married in 1945 when Weinstein returned from World War II, where he served in the Atlantic and Pacific theaters as a qualified submariner.
“We became engaged and were married in October of ’45 just after war was over,” Weinstein said. “It was 70 years that we (were) together.”
And for Evelyn Horowitz Weinstein, her professional career as a social worker nearly goes back that far as well.
After getting married, Weinstein said his wife accepted a job with the Red Cross after the young couple “moved to the west coast where I was decommissioning my ship.”
Weinstein said Evelyn’s main duty in that position with the Red Cross was “reconnecting families with returning war veterans that were having trouble adjusting.”
Evelyn Horowitz Weinstein then transitioned into what her husband described as a “joint operation” between the Red Cross and Jamaica Hospital in Jamaica, Queens, where she continued her work with military veterans dealing with what is now known as “post traumatic stress disorder.”
That type of work would be a recurring theme for Evelyn Horowitz Weinstein, as she later took similar social work positions with the Long Island-Jewish Health System and North Shore University Hospital, Weinstein said.
Later in her career, Weinstein said Evelyn transistioned to a role as an ombudsperson for local health care institutions.
“She trained and supervised many volunteers protecting residents in institutional care,” Weinstein said.
Evelyn’s work as an “ombudsperson” was influential for health-care professionals across New York, Weinstein said.
“She set up the first of the programs in Nassau County for the state and it was a widely followed model,” he said. “She trained over 100 people in Nassau, Suffolk and other places. She used her social work techniques in training and socializing the people in all the homes.”
Weinstein said his wife also “organized and served” on the boards of numerous social agencies and was an activist for social work causes locally and in Albany.
“She was a great public speaker and she always had amusing stories to tell,” Weinstein said of Evelyn.
A lifetime spent helping people overcome mental illness was something that came naturally to Evelyn, Weinstein said.
“She was not a prideful woman,” he said. “To her it was like breathing. Other people might think, and should think, it was an extraordinary life. She worked with other woman and men to improve their situation. She just did it.”
Now 90 years old, Weinstein said his family was “entranced” by its matriarch’s “beauty, love and devotion.”
Evelyn and Jack Weinstein, who have two grandchildren, raised their sons Seth, Michael and Howard in Great Neck.
“She’s going to be missed,” Weinstein said. “She was a beautiful woman. An absolutely smashing woman.”
In addition to her children and husband, Evelyn Horowitz Weinstein is survived by her family members Marcie, Donna, Debora, Kelsey and Luke.
The Weinstein family is holding a private burial. A memorial service will be held at Temple Emanuel of Great Neck on Sunday, June 24 at 12 p.m.