In kindergarten, Eileen Aluska would take crayons and chocolate milk from Allyson Mestel-Schapira without asking. Such an act could have ended what would become a lifelong friendship that included Aluska naming Mestel-Schapira her maid of honor on two occasions.
“Ally thrived on making her friends and family happy,” said Aluska of North Massapequa. “She brought joy to anybody she encountered.”
Mestel-Schapira died on April 19 of complications from the coronavirus. The Woodmere resident was 48.
Born on July 13, 1971, Mestel-Schapira pursued a career as a speech pathologist after her late father, Asher Mestel, passed away of throat cancer in 1991. She taught at PS 229 in Woodside, Queens, where she was known for organizing birthday celebrations and social outings. On a United Federation of Teachers tribute page, her colleagues remembered her as a dedicated professional with a radiant smile.
“She loved working with children and loved going to PS 229 every day to be with her colleagues for close to 30 years,” said Aluska.
When she wasn’t teaching, Mestel-Schapira had a passion for beauty, hair and makeup. She was a fan of Broadway musicals as well as "Dancing With the Stars" and "Days of Our Lives." She also loved to travel, taking yearly trips to Aruba. She frequently traveled to Israel to visit her husband’s family.
Mestel-Schapira is remembered as a dedicated wife, mother and daughter, who was extremely close to her 86-year-old mother. She was also a devoted friend, who would often spend holidays with Aluska and their close friend Elena Malinconico. The trio spent summers going to the beach and having barbecues. Every fall, they went on an apple-picking trip.
“Allyson's smile and laugh were contagious and lit up every room she entered,” said Aluska. “She was just that friend who you could tell anything to, and she would never judge you. It was so easy to make friends with her.”
Mestel-Schapira is survived by her 16-year-old twin children, Asher and Tamar; her husband, Gil; and her mother, Perry Mestel. Her family held a graveside service on April 20, and friends will gather this summer to celebrate her life.