Recent Passings:

It is with sadness that we announce the passing of Juris Mednis, M&A ’56, in March 2017.


Joan NevinsJoan Nevins (M&A ’47), an artist who worked as an interior designer and teacher, died March 17, 2017 at age 87, of complications from Alzheimer’s disease.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in art from Cooper Union and a bachelor’s degree in teaching from the University of Maryland. Mrs. Nevins began her career as a commercial artist, designing ads and packaging for products. She later worked as an art teacher and an interior designer, eventually running Joan Nevins Interiors in Rockville, MD. Throughout her life, she painted extensively. Her son David said, “She was an ‘early-on feminist’ who cared deeply about women’s rights and social justice issues.” Read more

Lynn Phillips – fiery intellectual, committed feminist, and eclectic writer – passed away on January 5 from complications from lung cancer. Lynn wrote and edited for film, television, print, and online media over the course of several decades. She was a staff writer for the groundbreaking Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, produced by Norman Lear. She wrote for publications such as Glamour, The Harvard Lampoon, The Realist, The Nation, Nerve, The New York Times’ T Magazine, Psychology Today, and Newsweek International.

Following Music & Art, Lynn graduated from Harvard University with a BAFA in Fine Arts in 1966. Her papers and literary works are to be archived by Harvard University’s Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America. Selected recent works can be read online at and Read more from the NYT obituary.

It is with great sadness that we share the news that Maestro Jonathan Strasser, M&A ’63 and teacher at M&A, PA, and LaGuardia passed away. You can read many beautiful tributes to him on his public facebook page,
and read his bio from the Manhattan School of Music

The funeral service was March 10, 2017. You can view the service:
Log on to:
The ID is: 14420
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It will be available to view for 90 days


Legendary Latin jazz musician Dave Valentin, M&A ’70, passed away on Wednesday, March 8, 2017. He was 64. Valentin passed away from complications due to a stroke and Parkinson’s disease. Valentin was born to Puerto Rican parents in the Bronx and learned percussion at an early age. He went on to play jazz flute and was mentored under Hurbert Laws. A grammy award winning musician, he toured the world, but always returned to the Bronx.  Please read his New York Times obituaryHere is a 2011 New York Times article about his Sunday routine.

We had a letter recently from Rita Greenstein, M&A ’45, regarding the passing of classmate Joyce Hope Suskind:

“With great sadness, we announce the passing of Joyce Hope Suskind and her husband, the photographer Olaf Ringdahl in February, 2017. We all knew Jinx as an outgoing and bright musician, her interests not only in music but in humankind. She was a wonderful friend and her talent was obvious even in her young years at M&A. Jinx was a talented pianist, her oboe achievements were formidable and her vocal performances were always a delight. Upon graduation from M&A in June of 1945, she attended the Juilliard School and went on to be not only a teacher of voice but also of the Alexander Method. Jinx attained fame as a composer and her compositions have been performed throughout the world. Her set pieces on poetry of Yeats has been widely acclaimed. Her presence in the world was a high mark in music; her presence in the world was a high mark in humanity.”

Maria Pechukas (PA ’84) passed away on February 1, 2017. She was the granddaughter of Anthony M. Gisolfi, who taught Italian for many years at Music & Art, and sister of Fiona Pechukas (LaG ’91, who also passed away). She was an outstanding actress, earning the Ruth Klinger Award in her graduating class of 1984 at Performing Arts. She went on to earn her MFA in the drama program at Marymount Manhattan where she again won top acting awards. Her work in drama continued, with leading roles in Wellfleet, MA summer theater WHAT (Blithe Spirit), West Side Repertory Theater in NY (School for Wives), and Baltimore theater (All My Sons).
An Ecumenical service will be held for Maria Pechukas on Saturday, February 11th at 3pm at Old First Church in Park Slope, Brooklyn, 729 Carroll Street at Seventh Avenue.

Byron-DobellByron Dobell, an editor at Time-Life, Esquire and New York magazine who played a pivotal role in the careers of Tom Wolfe, Mario Puzo and other writers, died on Saturday at his home in Manhattan. He was 89.
Extraordinarily talented, creative and full of life. Born in the Bronx on May 30, 1927, he died at his home in Manhattan on January 21, 2017, from complications of Parkinson’s disease. He is survived by his daughter Elizabeth Dobell and his grandson Adam Dobell Wiener. A memorial will be held at a future date. Donations in his memory may be made to Alumni and Friends of LaGuardia High School (for The Byron Dobell Art Fund), 100 Amsterdam Ave., Room 853, New York, NY 10023. Read the full obituary here.

Painter, sculptor, author and satirist Charles Bragg (M&A ’49) passed away on January 9, 2017 at the age of 85. Bragg was born in 1931 in St. Louis to two Vaudeville performers, whom he toured with during his young life. In 1949 Bragg graduated from New York’s High School of Music and Art in Harlem. He later studied at the Art Students League in New York City before moving to Los Angeles.
Bragg held numerous jobs, including cab driver, factory worker and stand-up comedian, before pursuing art. When he arrived in California he painted for the wealthy and gave lessons — fueling the satirical outlook that later emerged in his artwork.
In the early 1960s, Bragg exhibited his works, exposing audiences to biting caricatures that poked fun at the military, clergy, and other professions. During the 1970s, Bragg began depicting more universal themes, but still poked fun at the mentality of his subjects….[read more]

Stacy Williams, M&A ’83, passed away on January 8, 2017.