Family and community activists remembered Susan Noreika as a tireless supporter of her community with a feisty side during her wake last Thursday in Bayside.
Noreika, a New Hyde Park resident, died earlier last month at age 90 and was chairwoman of Community Board 13 for three decades.
“I could see her going to and talking about community service,” said Noreika’s niece, Jacqueline Truet. “If Aunt Sue needed a ride somewhere, I’d give her a ride, which was mostly [for] civic things. I know she was very big with Community Board 13.”
Truet said one of her most vivid memories of her aunt was driving her to CB 13’s office in Queens Village, where besides being chairwoman Noreika volunteered for a youth summer employment program run out of the office. CB 13 stretches from Glen Oaks along the Nassau County border down through Cambria Heights, Rosedale and Laurelton.
“She was generous to a fault,” Truet said during Noreika’s wake at Gleason’s Funeral Home in Bayside. “She was a very caring, loving woman.”
Noreika was a fixture at CB 13 meetings for more than 30 years and served as chairwoman from 1971-2001, when her health deteriorated.
“She had a very strong voice and she was strong-willed — she had to be,” Truet said. “Her husband was a cop. She never knew if he’d ever come home.”
Noreika and her husband had a fondness for German shepherds, owning three named Wolfie and, when he died, Wolfie II, followed by Wolfie III.
Born in Corning, Neb., in 1921, Noreika was a World War II veteran and baby-sat for future “Tonight Show” host Johnny Carson, another Nebraska native.
“That was her claim to fame,” said Linda Leest, president and chief executive officer for Services Now for Adult Persons, a nonprofit that assists senior citizens.
Leest said Noreika was instrumental in connecting SNAP to elected officials in the area when the organization was founded in 1980.
“She was extremely helpful,” Leest said. “She knew everybody. She opened up doors that I could go and talk to people and help SNAP grow.”
Noreika volunteered for a number of organizations, including the PTA and St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, and was a member of American Legion Post No. 301, based in Queens Village.
Her burial was scheduled for Friday at the Hackensack Cemetery and she was laid to rest alongside her husband, Frank.
She is survived by a daughter and two grandchildren.
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz
©2011 Community News Group
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