Community activist Gloria Melnick dead at 79

BAY RIDGE — Gloria Melnick, one of Bay Ridge’s most respected and revered community leaders, has died at 79. She was an unsung hero who remained an active part of the Bay Ridge community for decades.

Melnick was a past president of the Bay Ridge Community Council and longtime executive secretary of the organization, and remained on the board of directors until recently. She was also very active in the BRCC’s Halloween art contest. Melnick also served as president of the Ragamuffin Children’s Parade and the Bay Ridge Women’s Club.

“I remember Gloria as always being pleasant and hardworking,” said former City Councilmember Vincent Gentile. 

“She was president of the Bay Ridge Community Council where I first worked with her. She so impressed me that when I became the city councilmember, I appointed her to join Community Board 10.  I remember her being actively involved in our community downzoning efforts during the building boom in the early 2000s as well as other efforts. She loved and was loyal to Bay Ridge and we loved her. The effect of her work is still felt today.”

Longtime friend and BRCC member Jane Kelly echoed Gentile’s sentiments.

“Gloria Melnick was a true Bay Ridgeite. She was involved in every aspect of activity in Bay Ridge. She will be sorely missed,” said Kelly.

Throughout the years, Melnick chose to keep a low profile while being actively involved in many projects behind the scenes. She was a retired teacher with the Board of Education, and always worked toward the betterment of her neighborhood.

CB 10 District Manager Josephine Beckmann recalled Melnick’s tenure with the board. “On behalf of Community Board 10, I would like to extend my condolences to Gloria Melnick’s family.  She was a dedicated community member and volunteer who will be greatly missed.” 

Former State Sen. Marty Golden said that even though he didn’t always see eye to eye with Melnick, he always had great respect for her. “Gloria and I would debate about a number of different issues in our community,” he told this paper.

“She was an activist, she worked hard, she was a teacher, she was a great community person and she will be missed,” Golden said. “She would be at all the community board meetings and all the different events over the years until recently. I’m sorry to see her gone. It is a great loss to our community.”

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