Hundreds Mourn Elovich at Funeral

Service held for longtime Long Beach attorney and political adviser at Temple Emanu-el on Monday.

Pallbearers carry the casket of Larry Elovich from Temple Emanu-el after a service to remember the longtime Long Beach attorney and political advisor on Monday. An estimated 1,000 people were in attendence to mourn his loss.  (Photo by Joseph Kellard
Pallbearers carry the casket of Larry Elovich from Temple Emanu-el after a service to remember the longtime Long Beach attorney and political advisor on Monday. An estimated 1,000 people were in attendence to mourn his loss. (Photo by Joseph Kellard

U.S. Rep. Peter King recalled a talk he had with Larry Elovich a month ago, before the former Democratic leader in Long Beach, known for his health-and-fitness consciousness, succumbed in his battle with cancer last week.

“He told me that he always thought that he would drop dead on the boardwalk when he was 95 after running five or ten miles,” the Congressman from Seaford said during his eulogy to Elovich. “Well, Larry didn’t make it to 95 but he certainly lived a very good life. He accomplished more, and a did more for more people than you can expect from any one man.”

King was among an estimated 1,000 people who attended a service for Elovich at Temple Emanu-el, led by Rabbi Bennett Hermann on Monday. Slices of Elovich’s life were on display outside the sanctuary, in the form of many photos of him with his family: Helen, his wife of 49 years; his three daughters, Lisa, Lauree and Lynn; and nine grandchildren, all of whom survive him.

Other snapshots showed a young Elovich on sports teams from his native Brooklyn, as well as the many people the attorney and political adviser knew, worked with or met from Long Beach to Washington D.C.:, including his best friend former Sen. Al D’Amato, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy and President George W. Bush. Elovich died on Sept. 21 at age 77.

The chairman of the Long Beach Democratic Committee from 1967 to 1973, president of the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce from 1981 to 2006, and a powerful attorney in town, Elovich was remembered by his family and friends as a devoted husband and father and a man who pragmatically tried to unite people from all walks of life and across the political spectrum.

“Republicans, Jews, Democrats, Italians, blacks, whites — people from every origin,” D’Amato, who met Elovich when they were studying for the bar exam in 1961, said about those who were drawn to the attorney and adviser. “... They came to him because they knew they could count on him. And when he fought for them, he know that he was going to get the best for them.”

From when he first worked in Long Beach at City Hall during the 1950s, Elovich got involved in numerous and diverse organizations, including serving as a Long Beach volunteer firefighter and special police patrolman, as well as president of the Long Beach Lions Club and a trustee with the Long Beach Medical Center, Nassau University Medical Center and Long Island Power Authority.

All In The Family

Elovich’s daughter, Lisa, called her father “everyone’s go-to guy” for advice, because of his “strength, wisdom and honesty.” She said reminders of him are all around the city, from the boardwalk and beaches to the shops and restaurants that he helped to revitalize, making him synonymous with Long Beach.

“He dedicated his whole life to his community, his family and his friends with such fierce intensity and continuity, and even though he is gone he lives on,” Lisa said.  

Her sister, Lauree, noted that her father’s greatest achievement was his loyalty as a husband, father and grandfather. And like others who eulogized him, she remembered the pride he took in his dedication to fitness and his ability to do more push-ups than any challenger.

“He woke us up every morning from the age of three and strongly encouraged us to get out there and go for a workout, go for a run, and after the run was over we would have us do abs, push-ups, squats,” Lauree remembered. “And we would cry but we would get through it. He would tell us that we’d have better days if we worked hard and tried.”

To honor his memory, Elovich’s daughter, Lynn, announced, she and her family would hold the Larry Elovich 5K Run on the boardwalk on the first Saturday of August, as a fundraiser for Long Beach High School students with outstanding athletic and academic abilities who are unable to afford college. Lynn also called on city officials to rename New York Avenue in his honor. It was there that Elovich first met his future wife, when he worked as a patrolman and offered her an option: he would not ticket her for J-walking if she would give him her phone number.

From Borough to Beach Town

Born in Brooklyn, Lawrence E. Elovich graduated from Lafayette High School in 1953, Long Island University in 1957 and Brooklyn Law School in 1961, after which he started to practice law in Long Beach. Two years later, he married Helen and the couple bought a home in the Canals neighborhood. They lived on a street across from Arthur J. Kremer, who was later elected to the state Assembly and became chairman of its Ways and Means Committee. Their annual summer block party included statewide political dignitaries, including RFK. “We would have this huge party every year where literally a couple of thousand people would come,” Elovich once recalled.

He became a partner at Elovich & Adell, working from a second-floor office on East Park Avenue, where he specialized in personal injury and medical malpractice cases. Among the positions he held as a trial attorney were president of the Long Beach Lawyers Association, chairman of the Nassau County Bar Association’s legislative committee, and director of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association.  

Tom DiNapoli, the state comptroller, was a teenager who volunteered at Nassau County Democratic headquarters when he first met Elovich 40 years ago. DiNapoli said that Elovich was “feared” as the Democratic leader of the City of Long Beach, a longtime Democratic stronghold in the county, and that he was a respected attorney.

“He was respected by the judges he appeared before, especially the judges he had a personal hand in getting elected,” DiNapoli said, which drew many laughs from the crowd at Monday’s service.

DiNapoli also remembered Elovich as “a powerful example of how to get everything out of life that you can,” as someone who “lived and breathed” Long Beach and who was its biggest booster. He read from a speech that Elovich gave as the grand marshal of the Ancient Order of Hibernians parade in Long Beach two Octobers ago. Elovich said that he admired New York and especially Long Beach as places where people of so many different ethnicities “learned to live in relative peace.”  

DiNapoli said that Elovich’s words of wisdom to him from years ago still ring true to him today: “It doesn’t matter how you’re doing when you’re on top. What matters is how you pick yourself up and move forward when you’re down.’”

Leonard Bauman September 25, 2012 at 02:25 PM
Thank you Larry Elovich for your service to Long Beach. The democrats running the City today, I am certain you would give failing grades and scolding remarks for making Long Beach a tax and spend hole in the wall. I think New York Avenue should not be renamed, however. Grand Blvd. is not a very good name and I could see Grand Blvd. renamed Elovich Blvd. If not Grand Blvd., then rename Maple Blvd. as Elovich Memorial Blvd.
Eddie September 25, 2012 at 08:10 PM
Easy on the renaming stuff. Rest in peace, Mr. Elovich.


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