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Co-founder of Lions Club in Little Neck dies at 89

Herman “Doc” Belkin, one of the founding members of the Little Neck-Douglaston Lions Club and a dentist in the community for 55 years, died in his home July 17. He was 89.

Friends and family of Belkin, who was better known as “Hy,” described the Brooklyn-born dentist as “selfless” and said he had been involved with the Lions Club for more than 40 years.

“He was remarkably selfless,” said David Belkin, Herman Belkin’s oldest son, who lives in Manhattan. “He was very quiet and did a lot for other people without in any way calling attention to himself. He was totally oriented toward what he could do to help someone.”

David Belkin said his father continued to visit patients at home up until 2006, when he retired.

“He was probably the last dentist in New York to do house calls,” he said. “He was doing that into his 80s.”

Herman Belkin was born in 1920 in Brooklyn to Russian immigrant parents. During World War II, he was a communications officer in the Army Air Corps and helped establish the first air traffic control tower at the Anti-Submarine Squadron in Dover, Del. He also traveled with a bomber squadron to Hawaii, Guam, Saipan and Okinawa.

Belkin met his wife, Barbara, as he attended New York University’s Dental College in the late 1940s. He opened his dental practice on Northern Boulevard in 1951 and practiced at that site for 55 years.

In 1952, Belkin became a charter member of the group that would go on to become the Little Neck-Douglaston Lions Club and served as its president from 1966-68 as well as acting as its treasurer and secretary during his years with the club.

“He had a very gentle way about himself,” said Charles McBride, acting president of the Lions Club. “He helped people out — family, friends and strangers. His contributions to the Little Neck and Douglaston areas cannot be measured. His work was out of love and kindness, never seeking rewards. We will miss his friendship and guidance.”

During his work with the club at Creedmoor State Hospital, he helped to set up the Little Neck-Douglaston Ambulance Corps and, in 2008, was given the Lions Club International’s Dedicated Humanitarian Services Award.

Memorial services were held for Belkin at the Community Church of Little Neck Saturday. He is survived by his wife, three children, four grandchildren and two sisters.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at nduke@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

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