Recent Passings:

We are sad to report the recent passing of Lan O’Kun, M&A ’50, who died on January 9th at age 87. Mr. O’Kun had been a longtime collaborator with his sister-in-law, Shari Lewis (M&A ’49), creating hundreds of songs and scripts and songs for Lewis and her puppets. His career included writing scrips for many television shows including “The New Twilight Zone,” “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” “The Love Boat,” and “Highway to Heaven.”  He also served at the Musical Director for NBC Television for many years.



We are sorry to report the recent passing of Nelson Grumer, M&A ’55. We received word that he passed away on November 7, 2019.


John Zimet

John Zimet, M&A ’56, passed away on December 23, 2019 at age 81. He had a long career as an accountant and comptroller of printing companies. He was the President of The New York Choral Society, served as President of Rotary International clubs in Tennessee and Virginia, led the Polio Plus campaign for his Rotary district in the effort to eradicate polio around the world, and brought humanitarian relief to Rybinsk, Russia after the fall of Communism. Read more here.

We learned of the passing of Herbert Wekselblatt, M&A ’45, who passed away on July 14 at age 92. Mr. Wekselblatt had been the former principal tube player with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and a leading tuba player in New York City for over 50 years. During his career he taught in Long Island public schools and served on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music. In the 1960s he helped win the blind audition process at the Met, which opened doors for many women to win positions in the orchestra.

We were recently informed of the passing of Larry Lurin, M&A ’52, who died on April 23, 2019. Larry knew at age four he was going to be an artist. He spent his whole life creating and designing graphic art for a living while enjoying oil painting for himself. His was known in the graphic arts industry for his unique film posters, logos, and book jackets. He is survived by his wife Eileen, his son, Dr. Matthew J. Lurin, his sister, Elaine Goodman and her children, Linda (Paul) Dickinson, Adam (Sheryl) Goodman, and his sister-in-law, Dena, and her children Allison (Keith) Berecz, and David and Deidra Lurin.

We are sorry to relay Bernadette Zirkuli, M&A ’63, passed away on November 30, 2019. Following graduation from M&A, she received a Bachelor of Music Degree and was awarded the Nuremberg Scholarship and a Teaching Fellowship for Woodwind Chamber Music at the Julliard School of Music. Continuing her studies she received her Master’s Degree in 1968. From 1968-1983 she was a member of the Julliard Pre-College Faculty. Early in her career she toured with the Stuttgart Ballet, was a member of the Lake George Opera Company, the Vermont Mozart Festival and the New York Chamber Soloists. For many years she was the principal bassoonist with the Music Aeterna Orchestra, the Little Orchestra Society and the Composers Conference for Contemporary Music. In 1974, she organized and presented the New York Bassoon Quartet at Carnegie Recital Hall. In 1975 and again in 1977 she presented solo recitals at Carnegie Recital Hall. She later became an associate member of both the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and the New York City Opera Orchestra and a regular member of the American Ballet Theater Orchestra. Beloved wife of James Biddlecome for 26 years.

We are sorry to report the passing of Joyce Kent Helman, M&A ’50.

We recently learned that Paul Glickman, M&A ’59, passed away on October 26, 2019. His daughter Jennifer shared a short obituary: Following his graduation from High School of Music and Art, he attended Mexico City College, Pratt and NYU Film School. Paul’s film career as a cinematographer, director, and DP included commercials, industrials, television, and feature films. Highlights include: Larry Cohen’s “The Stuff,” “The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover,” and the Israeli entry to the Cannes, “The Dreamer.”  While others might have been embarrassed to admit to working in the adult entertainment industry, Paul was proud that one of his films, “The Opening of Misty Beethoven,” is considered a classic from the “Golden Age of Porn” and he was interviewed for the extra materials on the DVD release.
Paul “retired” from the film industry and moved to Santa Fe, NM, where he was well-known as the man behind The Puppet Truck, a converted post office vehicle that served as a mobile theater stocked with dozens of puppets he created and voiced.  After receiving his MSW from Highlands University, Paul and his wife, Dr. Susan Marcus, created Columbia Mediation. As part of the Santa Fe community for more than 20 years, Paul volunteered with anti-smoking and anti-bullying campaigns, and performed for families in the New Mexico penal system.
A two-time cancer survivor, Paul spent a number of years living in Chicago before moving to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico in 2017. As usual, Paul became a beloved part of the community, making friends with anyone who crossed his path, and performing weekly at a local orphanage.
On October 22, 2019, Paul was in a motorcycle accident and suffered a traumatic brain injury. He was instantly unconscious and felt no pain. He died several days later in accordance with his wishes – quickly and without fear.  Paul will be remembered always for his larger than life personality, his creativity and love of performing.

We are sorry to report that Allen Gross, M&A ’60, passed away on August 20, 2019.

Dr. Kassoy, Ph.D., age 70, of Bedford MA passed away on September 3, 2019 after a three-year battle with cancer. She was born in New York City in 1949 to Bernard, a Music and Art Teacher for many years and Hortense (“Honey”) Blumenkranz Kassoy. Following Ms. Kassoy’s graduation from M&A in 1966 and Antioch College in 1970, she received her Masters Degree in Psychology from Cal State Hayward in 1981 and Doctorate in Psychology from UC Berkeley in 1988. Her career was centered on outpatient counseling and the training and supervision of post-doctoral interns in the practice of clinical psychology. She was a tireless advocate for progressive causes, opposing unjust war while supporting labor, feminism, civil rights, and social justice. She loved romance and mystery novels by Jane Austen and other female authors; old-timey and folk music, Motown and rock and roll; folk dancing, modern dance, and most especially, ballet. She is survived by her husband of 28 years Raphael Bustin, sister Sheila Kassoy Krstevski, nieces and nephews Toby Krstevski, Alexander Krstevski, Jessica Berkline Gallegos and Daniel Berkline.