Members of the New City Rotary Club and community turned out Monday afternoon to remember two former local leaders and Rotarians who passed away this year. Dorie McMaster and Judge Harry Edelstein were fondly remembered during the dedication ceremony of two wood benches with plaques placed in Dutch Garden.
Judge Edelstein’s daughters, Merryl Phillips, Susan Emanuel and Joan Lauder and grandson, Josh Emanuel, and McMaster’s son and daughter-in-law, Simon and Mae McMaster, joined Rotary officials and members for the reflective ceremony.
Simon McMaster said he really appreciated the Rotary’s gesture and their effort to continue his mother’s work to make the community more beautiful.
“I’m very happy they did it for her,” he said.
Rotary President Steve Bard said both McMaster and Edelstein had accomplished good things for the community. He recalled Edelstein had been a member of the club for 25 years, known for banging on the table during a meeting and saying “Quiet Please” when the room got too loud to hear the speaker.
“Harry was a treasure that we will all miss,” said Bard.
He then spoke about McMaster and her involvement in community organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters of Rockland, the Clarkstown Education Foundation and New City Downtown Corp.
“She cared so much about our town and she had a special place in her heart for the children of our community,” said Bard. “Dorie loved Dutch Gardens and it is fitting that she is going to have a bench here in her honor.”
Rotary Vice President William Warren shared his memories of Edelstein who moved from private practice in 1975 to become a Rockland County court judge and then in 1979 a Family Court judge. Warren, who also became a Family Court judge, acknowledged Edelstein’s leadership as an activist who took up causes and fought for them and served as a role model.
“So on a personal level I need to say thank you to Harry for his willingness to never accept the status quo,” said Warren. “During his years as a county court judge he demonstrated a thirst for justice and a desire to improve every system he touched and an unending advocacy for those less fortunate and that is a legacy that will long be remembered.”
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Rockland President and CEO Gillian Ballard reminisced about “Dorie my friend, Dorie the community activist, Doris the Rotarian.”
“She was a remarkable woman,” said Ballard, president-elect of the Rotary. “I considered her to be one of the best people I have known here in the New City community of which I have been here for 30 something years.”
Ballard described her as someone who lent her time, talent and financial support to Big Brothers Big Sisters and an individual who never did anything halfway.
“Because when Dorie made a commitment she kept it and was a person who worked through the bad times and the good times,” recalled Ballard.
Edelstein died on June 9 and McMaster passed away on June 20.
Dutch Garden is a small park next to the Rockland County Courthouse and set back from South Main Street.