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Harvey Kalem, Island Park phys ed teacher, coach, dies at 80

After marrying Meryl Dobin in 1961, Harvey Kalem

After marrying Meryl Dobin in 1961, Harvey Kalem and his wife lived in Oceanside and in Long Beach. Kalem died of lymphoma in Jacksonville, Fla. on June 20, 2015, at 80. Credit: Courtesy Photo

Harvey Kalem, a physical education teacher who also coached baseball in Island Park for more than three decades, died of lymphoma in Jacksonville, Florida, on June 20. He was 80.

Born in Brooklyn, Kalem graduated from James Madison High School and served in the Air Force before attending Long Island University, where he received a degree to teach physical education. He married Meryl Dobin in 1961, and they lived in Oceanside and in Long Beach.

After graduating from LIU, Kalem played minor league baseball for the Washington Senators, and pitched in one major league exhibition game against the Detroit Tigers.

He went on to teach physical education and coach baseball in the Island Park school district, including at Francis X. Hegarty Elementary School.

He also served as head counselor of Brandeis Summer Day School in Lawrence for about 15 years each summer and taught driver's education at the Brandeis School during the school year.

Kalem was an avid golfer and a voracious reader of modern mysteries and classic literature. He loved crossword puzzles and classic movies, his family said.

"From the elaborate stories he spun and pranks he pulled at Brandeis Camp to the made-up words he peppered his speech with for his Island Park gym class students, no one who ever spent time with Harvey easily forgot him," said his daughter, Stefanie Kalem of Oakland, California.

"He was a beloved father and grandfather, a gifted athlete and storyteller, and truly one of a kind," she said. "His motto was, 'Always take time to stop and smell the roses.' "

He retired to Lauderhill, Florida, in 1995 and moved to Jacksonville in 2012.

In addition to his daughter, he is survived by his daughter, Danielle Kalem of Boca Raton, Florida; son, Asher "Andy" Kalem of Jacksonville, Florida; and five grandchildren.

At his request, there was no service. Donations in his honor may be made to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society at

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