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Longtime Syosset resident Myrillyn Zweig dies at 86

So committed to being a good mom was Myrillyn March Zweig that the former Syosset resident turned down proposals to work for a prestigious New York modeling agency, preferring to put her children first and on the right path rather than to strut down a runway.

The Fayetteville, Tenn., native who lived in Syosset for 35 years and whose career as a homemaker was accented by mastering calligraphy, collecting and restoring antiques and tracing her family's roots, died Dec. 20 at a nursing home in Manhattan. She was 86.

Zweig grew up in two communities in Arkansas, Rison and Hot Springs. She attended Hot Springs schools and studied for one year at what is now Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Ark.

In 1942, she met and married Arthur Zweig, a New York City pharmacist and drug company detail man, while he was attending U.S. Army officer training school at Camp Robinson in North Little Rock, Ark. After Arthur Zweig returned from wartime service in New Guinea and the Philippines, the couple settled in the metropolitan area, moving to Syosset in 1953 to raise their three children.

For many years, Arthur Zweig and a partner owned and operated drugstores in North Merrick and Roosevelt.

It was in Syosset that Myrillyn Zweig chose to stay at home, enjoying and perfecting crafts, said her son, Phillip L. Zweig of Manhattan, a freelance financial journalist and author. He said his mother had declined to model for the John Robert Powers agency. Phillip Zweig said even as his mother was admired for her movie star looks she was a defender of the underdog.

She was a devout student of American history and adored the genealogical quest, tracing her roots to Colonial Virginia and North Carolina. She learned she was a descendant of people who had achieved distinction in Arkansas and Tennessee.

"She was devoted to roots and genealogy well before it became a national obsession," he said. "She thought it was important for everyone to know where they had come from."

In 1987, the couple retired to Chapel Hill, N.C., where Arthur Zweig died in September 2002 at age 94, about a month after they celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.

Myrillyn Zweig suffered a stroke in May 2004, prompting a move to the Mary Manning Walsh nursing home in Manhattan, where she resided until she died of old age.

Besides her son, she is survived by a daughter, Margaret Lee, of Manhattan; and a brother, Alfred Hume March, of Independence, Mo. A son, Stephen, died of Hodgkin's disease in 1980 at home in Syosset at age 28.

A spring memorial service is planned in Rison, where Zweig's ashes, along with those of her late son and husband, will be buried in the Stanfield family plot in Greenwood Cemetery.

The family asks that donations be made in her memory to Meals on Wheels, the Huntington Historical Society, or the Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church in Syosset.

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