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Dr. Edward S. Orzac, 95, a Franklin Hospital founder

Edward S. Orzac, a retired doctor and professor

Edward S. Orzac, a retired doctor and professor of Hewlett Harbor, died Dec. 9 of cancer at the age of 95. Credit: Handout

Dr. Edward S. Orzac spent much of his time enriching his life while helping and teaching others, whether as a professor of medicine in India, a founding member of a Valley Stream hospital or as a teacher of Asian history at Hofstra University.

"My dad loved life," said Orzac's eldest daughter Caroline Orzac Shoenberger, 63, of Chicago. "He just loved being productive."

Orzac, who received a Bronze Star for his Army service, died of cancer on Dec. 9 in his Hewlett Harbor home. He was 95.

Orzac had been an ear, nose and throat specialist and continued to practice until he was 83 years old.

He was among a small group of doctors who founded Franklin Hospital in Valley Stream, Orzac Shoenberger said. The small, community hospital opened in 1963 and, today, is a member of the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System.

Franklin Hospital is also home to the Orzac Center for Extended Care and Rehabilitation -- a 120-bed long-term care facility that opened in 1989. It was named after Orzac, who was a donor.

After serving in Southern Italy in the Army during World War II, Orzac told stories about the suffering by civilians there, his daughter said. She said he also developed an "immense love" of Italy and Italian opera.

Orzac went on to receive his medical degree from the University of Virginia, she said. He returned to college around 1971 and graduated from Adelphi University with a bachelor's in history, and earned a master's in Asian studies from St. John's University in 1977.

Lead by his intellectual curiosity, Orzac devoured all kinds of books, ranging from Winston Churchill to Longfellow poetry, said Orzac Shoenberger.

"He was always reading and trying to find new information," she said. "He loved poems. He said you are not truly educated until you could recite a poem."

Passionate about history and learning about different cultures, Orzac traveled to Afghanistan, India, and Vietnam with his wife, Beatrice F. Orzac, loved ones said. They had married in 1948.

For about 20 years, he taught at the Kasturba Medical College in Manipal, India, closing his practice for about two months each year to travel there to teach, said Orzac Shoenberger. He also taught medicine at Stony Brook University and Asian history at Hofstra University, she said.

Dr. Irwin Lipp, of Boca Raton, Fla., who shared a practice with Orzac from the late 1960s to late 1980s, described him as an eternal optimist with a zest for life.

"He always seemed to look for and hope for the best in mankind," said Lipp. "If you called him and you said to him, 'Ed, how are you doing?' he would say, 'never better.' He was known as Mr. Never Better."

Orzac was preceded in death by his mother, Gertrude Wachtler Cohen; stepfather, Charles Cohen, and brother, Sidney W. Orzack, of Sarasota, Fla.

Besides his wife and daughter, he is survived by two other daughters, Virgina Orzac Secemsky of Inverness, Ill., and Elizabeth Orzac Yelen, of Chicago; seven grandchildren, a great-grandchild and a godchild.

Memorial services will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday, at the Riverside Memorial Chapel, 1450 Broadway, Hewlett.

In lieu of flowers, contributions are requested to be sent to the Orzac Center for Extended Care and Rehabilitation, 900 Franklin Ave., Valley Stream, NY 11580.

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