Stan Einbender, Jamaica ’56 and Hofstra ’60, passed on June 10. He had turned 83 on June 1, and had been in failing health for months, lovingly cared for by his wife, Roberta.
This is a hard one for me to put together because Stan and I were in the same school for nine straight years -- Halsey Junior High and Jamaica High in Queens, then Hofstra College in Hempstead.
Then Stan went to dental school and served as a dentist as a captain in the Army at Fort Lewis, Wash., and settled into his practice in New Hyde Park, marrying Roberta Atkins, helping her with their two children, driving around to dog shows all over the place, in with their English Mastiffs -- a big guy showcasing his big pets.
We became much closer in the past two decades, as old Hofstra basketball and baseball guys (and one aging student publicist) got together at Foley’s in NYC.
I would drive into the city and back, sometimes with other front-liners, Donald Laux and Ted Jackson. Basketball was our common denominator.
Stan had a great souvenir of his season as a 16-year-old senior on the Jamaica varsity -- a scar on his forehead, from the city tournament in the old Madison Square Garden when he was hammered by Tommy Davis of Boys High. When Tommy became a star with the LA Dodgers, I would remind him that an endodontist on Long Island was looking to get him back.
I was at courtside on a sleepy January afternoon in 1960 when Hofstra lost on a long basket by Wagner at the buzzer. It turned out to be the only loss in a wonderful season – 23-and-1, but not good enough to get into a post-season tournament.
Half a century later, we caught up with the villain who had beaten Hofstra with that long jump shot – Bob Larsen and a couple of teammates met a few old Hofstra guys at Foley’s, and I wrote about that in the Times.,
In our old age, basketball was the link. Stanley had two season tickets at the Hofstra gym, right above the scorer’s table, and sometimes he would invite me. He became friendly with the coaches, first with Mo Cassara, then with Joe Mihalich, two basketball lifers who loved our old stories about the memorable coach, Butch van Breda Kolff, the old Knick.
(Crude and also insightful, Butch was oddly formal, often calling his players by their full first names—Donald, Curtis, Stanley. As the publicist, I was “Grantland.”)
Every October, Joe would invite us to a practice, let us sit behind the basket, give us frank insider critiques of his team. He called Stanley “Doc.” For one afternoon, my guys were part of the team, part of the school, again.
I remember at one October practice, the star of the team, a shooting guard at 6-foot-3, also from Queens, was chatting with us, and was politely bemused that Stanley was the star rebounder at the same height.
(I wrote about those sweet annual visits to our alma mater.)
Just before the pandemic, Stan stopped getting around, because of Parkinson’s disease and other problems. We would talk on the phone and he would talk about Roberta’s art work and how well she took care of him…and proudly about their family: son, Harry, who had taken over the endodontist practice, (“better hands than me”) and his wife Macha and their children, Max and Remy, and Stan and Roberta's daughter, Margaret Morse, and her husband Richard and their children, Olivia and Henry. He always knew what they were doing.
When I visited them last week, Roberta was masterfully managing a hospice operation. (I never heard him complain about his bad breaks with health, and he was always upbeat about the home care from aides like Kenia.) We sat by his hospital bed and we talked about the old days and our dwindling Hofstra guys, and his Yankees and his Rangers….and I praised how inclusive he was about his basketball world.
This is what I told him:
A decade ago, my wife and I were visiting our friends, Maury Mandel and Ina Selden up in the Berkshires, and Maury’s kid brother Joe and his wife Jean were also there. I suddenly blurted to the younger brother, ”Hey, I know you – from junior high school.” Turned out, Joe had been in the same class as Stanley – and had played on the same class team (Stanley was also on the school team.)
I ostentatiously pulled out my cellphone and called Stanley: “I got Joe Mandel here, from Halsey.” They started chatting, more than six decades later, and Stanley told him, “You were a good point guard on our class team.”
As any old schoolyard player knows, there is no higher compliment than being praised by a college star. Generous guy, Stanley. Then they started talking about the girls in their class.
We continued that conversation the other day -- basketball and girls in our grade -- and for a few minutes, it was very nice to be 13 again.
(It's so nice to see comments or emails to me, from old friends. Ken Iscol from junior high. Jean White Grenning and Wally Schwartz from Jamaica. A lot of the Foley's gang. Just to drop a few names. Roberta (I knew her brother, Jerry Atkins -- in grade school!) has held things together, admirably. The funeral is Monday at 11:30 AM at Beth David Cemetery, 300 Elmont Rd., Elmont, N.Y. 11003.)
For the moment, please feel free to remember Stanley…and say hello to Roberta and the family… here…. They are monitoring the lovely comments here on this site. Thanks. GV
6/10/2022 05:10:09 pm
Sorry for wife and family, for you and friends.
6/11/2022 03:30:55 pm
Ed: That might have been me, I remember being part of a Saturday morning game in a church gym, upper west side, and my dream seemed to come true when a 6-6 guy got chosen on my side. The passes I could throw him! But he stayed on the perimeter and called for the ball and tried to drive. When I motioned (like any NYC point guard wannabe), he said, "No, I am a point guard." Stanley did not have those fantasies -- but he wanted to dunk. A whole other conversation. Butch did not agree. GV
6/10/2022 05:28:21 pm
Sorry you have lost a special friend, George
Alan D. Levine
6/10/2022 05:49:21 pm
Our graduating classes get smaller. Cherish those who remain with us.
6/10/2022 05:51:07 pm
Sorry for your loss. Hardest thing about growing old. Was your JHS named after Gen. Bull Halsey?
6/10/2022 05:54:32 pm
Dear George: I am truly sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. RIP Stan Einbender.
6/10/2022 06:26:49 pm
What sad news! Stanley was a classic in junior high and. although we lost touch for decades thereafter, George's generous use of his cell phone years later, as George accurately describes in a cleaned-up version in his column, was a heart-tugger. Stanley will be missed but leaves behind any rich memories.
6/11/2022 03:35:24 pm
Joe, of course it was cleaned up. This is a family website. We all remember how mature those girls were And some of us were....not.
6/10/2022 06:26:53 pm
A fine tribute, George. You always have just the right words.
6/10/2022 06:51:48 pm
So sorry to hear about Stanley's passing. It is always sad to lose such a nice person. We had a lot of fun reminiscing at the Foley's lunches. Please extend my heartfelt condolences to his wife & family.
6/10/2022 07:04:26 pm
RIP, Stan was a true gent and I looked forward to his visits with the Hofstra Boys
6/10/2022 07:32:02 pm
I am so sorry to hear of Stan’s passing. I remember him well as an outstanding player on our Jamaica High School Championship basketball team and as really great person.
6/10/2022 08:14:55 pm
George so sorry to have learned about Stan’s passing. He was always in good spirits and loved getting together with the gang at Foley’s. Please extend my condolences to Roberta and family.
Margaret Einbender Morse
6/10/2022 08:43:24 pm
Thank you for this wonderful tribute to our father. He would have loved it.
6/11/2022 08:27:40 am
Dear Margaret: We had such a nice visit last week. He was happy about all the times you;ve been downstate...My best to the family. G
6/10/2022 09:15:59 pm
George, As another Jamaica High classmate of both Stan and you, I understand how much your friendship meant to one another throughout the years. Your loving and admiring tribute brought to my mind the time Stan graciously and proudly invited both of us to a Hofstra basketball game and how deeply he cared for his friends, teammates and alma maters. I recall at Jamaica, he excelled in baseball as well as basketball, but Stan's excellence and character carried well beyond, into his profession and family. To the Einbenders, my condolences.
6/10/2022 11:37:27 pm
Thank you so much George such a beautiful tribute
6/11/2022 06:23:06 am
Stan was a class guy. I was his first patient before he went in the
6/11/2022 08:32:19 am
Sid, Marianne says yours is the best comment here -- made us laugh.
6/11/2022 11:11:40 am
There's an easy test to see if a good guy is coming your way. You instinctively want to smile. I'm smiling now, Stan.
6/11/2022 01:02:06 pm
6/11/2022 02:19:53 pm
George, thank you for your beautifully written and heartfelt tribute to Stanley.
6/13/2022 04:37:54 pm
I was lucky enough to know Stan as a pre-teenager member of the Queens Village Jewish Center even before we were at JHS. I was the overweight short kid that Stan made sure was included. He gave me confidence and i never forgot that. Thank you, Stan.
Thor A Larsen
6/13/2022 05:56:14 pm
6/19/2022 05:56:34 pm
We attended Halsey JHS, Hofstra and NYUC of Dentistry, and kept in touch for many decades. We were always in each other's corner. A large man with a warm heart. Sorry for you and the family's loss.
Comments are closed.
From the great Maureen Dowd:
As I write this, I’m in a deserted newsroom in The Times’s D.C. office. After working at home for two years during Covid, I was elated to get back, so I could wander around and pick up the latest scoop.
But in the last year, there has been only a smattering of people whenever I’m here, with row upon row of empty desks. Sometimes a larger group gets lured in for a meeting with a platter of bagels."
--- Dowd writes about the lost world of journalists clustered in newsrooms at all hours, smoking, drinking, gossipping, making phone calls, typing, editing.
"Putting out the paper," we called it.
Much more than nostalgia.