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Gloria Klar, who helped sell LI homes after WWII, dies at 94

Gloria Klar died at a hospital in Florida.

Gloria Klar died at a hospital in Florida. The former Roslyn resident, an artist who worked with her late husband Henry to help sell homes in Long Island's post-World War II housing boom, was 94. Credit: Courtesy of Steven Klar

Gloria Klar, who worked with her husband to help spur Long Island's post-World War II housing boom, died Wednesday at University Hospital & Medical Center in Tamarac, Florida. She was 94.

The cause was respiratory failure, said Steven Klar, the youngest of her three sons.

With her late husband Henry, Klar assisted in marketing tens of thousands of newly built homes to veterans and others seeking the American dream of affordable home ownership.

Henry Klar died in 2003. His company, Henry A. Klar Realty, brokered more than 40,000 sales of new homes and condominiums on Long Island and elsewhere between 1947 and 1975, when he handed the company over to Steven Klar. Now known as the Klar Organization, the East Meadow company is one of the Island's largest home builders.

Gloria Klar put her keen artist's eye to work overseeing the firm's advertisements and the interior decorating of model homes, her son said. A cheerful and considerate hostess, she threw parties where builders and architects struck deals after games of gin rummy in the den.

"My mother was a remarkable woman," he said. "We are going to miss her."

Born in Brooklyn as Gloria Freedman, she met Henry Klar when she was a high school cheerleader and he was a football player for a rival school. She attended Brooklyn College, and the couple married in 1940.

The Klars lived in East Meadow and later in Roslyn. They moved to Florida in the 1970s after Henry Klar retired, but they kept a home base in New York, whether on Long Island or in the Catskills or Manhattan.

Klar was active in many charitable causes, and with her husband she helped found Temple Emanu-El in East Meadow in the 1950s.

The couple spent summers in Italy, where they studied marble sculpting. Gloria Klar studied with well-known Long Island artists such as George Gách. She offered free art classes to other seniors, in addition to organizing women's reading groups, said Ronald Klar, her middle son.

"She made sure that every day was of value," he said.

The funeral will take place Sunday at 10 a.m. at Star of David Memorial Chapels in Babylon. Burial will follow at Mount Ararat Cemetery in East Farmingdale. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Women's American ORT or UJA-Federation of New York.

In addition to Steven of Lattingtown and Ronald of McLean, Virginia, Klar is survived by her son Lester of Plainview; her grandchildren, Laura, Jennifer and Ashton; and her great-granddaughter Juliet.

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