Larry Elovich, president of the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce for nearly three decades and former city Democratic leader, who had a knack for bringing together both political parties, died Friday of kidney cancer at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan. He was 77.
Elovich advised elected officials, from those who sat on local school boards to U.S. senators, including former Sen. Alfonse "Al" D'Amato, a Republican.
D'Amato, who met Elovich when they were both in their 20s, said he sought out Elovich's input because of his experience and honesty. That Elovich was a Democrat did not matter.
"I could count on him for what he really thought," D'Amato said of his "second brother."
When he was senator in the 1980s and '90s, D'Amato said, Elovich, as a concerned resident, would often knock on his door, advocating for something Long Beach needed, like housing and urban development grants.
"If he knew it was good for the community, he was a lion," D'Amato said.
Elovich was born and grew up in Brooklyn, where he played baseball with his childhood friends, including Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax. He graduated from Long Island University and went on to teach history and physical education in a Brooklyn public school. He attended law school at night, graduating from Brooklyn Law School.
He moved to Lido Beach in the 1950s, where he lived the rest of his life. He met his future wife, Helen, in 1961, while he was working as a special patrolman for the Long Beach Police. They were married on Aug. 25, 1963.
When starting his law career, he became involved in politics to help drum up clients, said his daughter, Lisa Elovich, of East Greenbush. She said her father quickly discovered "he was really good at it . . . and was able to bring people together."
"Although he served as Democratic leader in the 1960s, his philosophy and impact crossed all party lines," she said.
He joined and became president of the chamber of commerce in 1980, serving in that position until 2010, then remaining on the board as chairman. He also was president of Long Beach Lawyers Association and on several other boards, including Nassau University Medical Center and Long Island Power Authority. He was a senior partner Elovich and Adell, which specializes in malpractice, arbitration and mediation services.
He loved to run on the Long Beach boardwalk, work out and smoke a good cigar, said his daughter. "He was a loving family man, who was driven by the desire to help others and to make life better for those around him," she said.
Services will be Monday at 10 a.m., at Temple Emanu-El, 455 Neptune Blvd., Long Beach.