Recent Passings:

Eli Leon (M&A ’53) passed away March 6, 2018. Eli Leon, a Bronx-born, Oakland psychotherapist who quit to devote his life to becoming a foremost scholar and collector of African American quilts, died at 82.
“Eli Leon turned the full force of his exceptional intelligence and visual acumen onto the field of African American quilts,” said Lawrence Rinder, director of the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. “His exhibitions and publications, as well as his phenomenal collection, leave a profound legacy.” Read more about Eli.



We are sad to report that Arnold Burk, M&A ’49, passed away on December 10, 2017 at his home in Chapel Hill, NC.

Phoebe Frieman Cohen, M&A ’48, passed away February 15, 2018. Phoebe was an avid supporter of Alumni & Friends of LaGuardia. She grew up in Brooklyn, studied instrumental music at Music & Art, playing piano and violin, then attended Vassar College. She was awarded a Fulbright to study history in Grenoble (1951-1952), worked at Time magazine before marrying Bernard Cohen and raising a family. Phoebe completed a Masters in Cinema Studies at NYU in the 1970s when the field was forming, and subsequently she worked as an independent investor. Her extraordinary gifts, interests, and keen insights enriched the lives of everyone she touched. She is survived by her husband, Dr. Bernard Cohen, Professor Emeritus of Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical School, her children, Alexander (Kim Allen) Cohen, Margaret Cohen and Nathaniel (Sherry) Cohen, as well as her grandchildren, Samuel and Maxwell Klotz, Ari, Shaina and Jonah Cohen, and Zachary Allen Cohen. The family will establish a fund in her honor.

We are sorry to report that Stanley Louis Levine, Ed.D., M&A ’45, died on December 31, 2017.  His wife wrote to us that he was a loyal supporter of the school and a proud alumnus.


Anne Hale (Codding) Tonachel, retired faculty, died suddenly at her home on January 5th, 2018. She was 86. Anne was a dedicated educator and taught high school social studies for 25 years in the New York City public school system, the majority at the High School of Music and Art and the High School of Performing Arts.

Read more.




Robert Pincus-Witten, M&A ’53, passed away on January 28, 2018. He was an art critic and art historian who wrote for Artforum Magazine for nearly 50 years. Born Robert Pincus, he adapted his mother’s maiden name and became Robert Pincus-Witten. Following his graduation from M&A he went on to Cooper Union and University of Chicago. He was a professor for the City University of New York for decades, and curated shows and advised art collectors. He is survived by his husband, Mr. Leon Hecht.  Read the NY Times obituary.


Paul Dunkel

Paul Lustig Dunkel (M&A ’60) passed away on January 14, 2018. Paul was most recently the Principal Flutist with the New York City Ballet and a member of “Music From Copland House,” an ensemble he co-founded with the pianist Michael Boriskin, dedicated to the performance of American Chamber Music. More about Paul here:and on his website.



We are saddened to report that Nikki Langer (nee Shirley Poltorack) of M&A ’39, died peacefully on Dec. 21, 2018, at her home in Chilmark, Martha’s Vineyard. She was 95. Read her obituary here.



We are sad to report the passing of Eli Zucker, M&A ’58.

Clifford Irving (M&A ’47S) passed away December 19, 2017 at the age of 87. Clifford was a successful author. For more about Clifford Irving, please read more.