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Sheldon Friedman, former real estate broker with 'thirst for learning,' dies at 88

Long Island commercial and industrial real estate broker

Long Island commercial and industrial real estate broker Sheldon Friedman, shown in 2013, died on Oct. 6. He was 88. Credit: Rob Amato

Sheldon B. Friedman, a commercial and industrial real estate broker on Long Island since the 1970s with what his family described as a "thirst for learning" and a love for music, died on Oct. 6. He was 88.

Friedman, of Woodbury, was involved in real estate deals with such names as Goya Foods and Bactolac Pharmaceuticals. Outside of work, he made sure family trips were teachable moments that expanded on what was learned in textbooks.

"He wanted us to be there and see where these sites were, including the cannons of Fort Ticonderoga, and to actually look at the Liberty Bell," said his daughter Joy Fallick of East Northport, "so we would get a sense of history instead of just reading about it."

After working for 25 years at Windsor Knit in the Garment District, eventually as vice president, Friedman started at Schacker Realty in Melville as a commercial real estate broker in 1978. The career change is remembered by those close to him.

"I did really end up following in my father’s footsteps by doing the same exact thing that he did at the same point of my life and for the same exact company," said his son Gary Friedman, vice president and partner at Schacker Realty. "His thirst for learning was something that I apply to work every day — and his civic-mindedness."

Sheldon Friedman, a former president of the Commercial Industrial Brokers Society of Long Island, later went on to work at Coldwell Banker, Greiner-Maltz and Heartland Business Center. He also volunteered often, making food deliveries for Project HOPE and serving as president for civic associations, including the South Park Civic Association and the now-defunct Greater Roslyn United Civic Association, his family said.

Outside of work, Friedman’s passions included music and the theater, said his daughter Lesley Rosenthal of Scarsdale.

"My love of music comes from him and my mom, and it’s been my lifelong companion, thanks to him," said Rosenthal, who is the chief operating officer of The Juilliard School, adding she recalled performing with her dad at a local synagogue.

Music was always in the house, said Friedman’s youngest son, Kenny Friedman of Huntington.

"My dad was playing the guitar and he had the Beatles albums … and my mom played the piano," he said. "In our house, music was what you did."

Born on March 30, 1933, to Margaret and Max Friedman, Sheldon Friedman was raised in Brooklyn. He graduated from what was Long Island University Brooklyn with a bachelor's degree in accounting.

Friedman was first married to Nancy Merblum, and they later divorced. He then married Deanna Robbins Friedman, also of Woodbury.

In addition to his wife, Deanna, and his four children, Friedman is survived by three stepchildren, Randi Solis of Lloyd Harbor, Brian Robbins of New York, and Maureen Robbins of Albuquerque, New Mexico; six grandchildren and six stepgrandchildren.

A graveside funeral was held on Oct. 10 at Beth Moses Cemetery in Pinelawn.

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