For more than two decades, June Forschmidt of East Meadow was a staple at Newsday, which put the Bronx native in contact with ordinary people, heads of state and celebrities alike in her role as an assistant to top management in the 1970s and '80s.
Her secretarial role was her second choice -- she really wanted to be a singer and relished the opportunity to sing and dance at events, said her son, Don Forschmidt of the Riverdale section of the Bronx.
June Forschmidt, who cherished her tenure as executive secretary after she re-entered the working world, died of heart failure at the Hospice Inn in Melville on Monday. She was 91. "She was a really great friend and an amazingly social woman that made friends easily and kept them forever," her son said. "That was why I was always proud of her."
The former June Goldstein was born in the Bronx on July 9, 1923, and attended James Monroe High School. She became a secretary in New York City. At a cousin's wedding, she met Sam Forschmidt, also from the Bronx, two weeks before he went off to fight in World War II. They courted after the war, marrying in March 1947. The couple left the city in 1954 and settled in Westbury, where they raised two sons.
She landed a temporary secretarial job at Newsday in 1968. She would remain at the newspaper for more than 20 years, working in several departments and assisting top editors, mainly Dave Laventhol, whose posts included managing editor, editor and publisher. She retired in 1988.
"June thrived on her personal relationships and loved nothing more than to strike up conversations with perfect strangers as well as who she met through her profession," Don Forschmidt said.
Among the influential people who crossed her path at Newsday were Gov. Mario Cuomo and New York City Mayor Ed Koch, he said.
Forschmidt said his mother had a "great sense of humor" and was amused by comedians ranging from Milton Berle to Jimmy Fallon. A voracious reader, she also enjoyed helping youngsters become literate and aided the mentally disabled as a volunteer.
Sam Forschmidt died in 2002; for the past six years, she lived in a seniors' condominium development in East Meadow.
Survivors include her other son, Richard Forschmidt of Clifton Park, New York; and a brother, Bernard Goldstein of Sunrise, Florida.
Viewing will be Thursday, 10 a.m. to noon, at Gutterman's Funeral Home on Jericho Turnpike in Woodbury, followed by a memorial service.In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in her name to The Parkinson's Disease Foundation, The Lustgarten Foundation or Strayfromtheheart.org.