Susan Noreika, a charter member of Community Board 13 who served as its chairwoman for three decades, died Oct. 4. She was 90.
Born in Nebraska in 1921, Noreika was also a World War II veteran, having been a member of the Women’s Army Corps.
One of her earliest memories was baby-sitting “The Tonight Show” host Johnny Carson.
Back before there were community boards, Noreika was an original member of their predecessor, the local planning board, which was established in 1965.
A New Hyde Park resident, Noreika served on the planning board and CB 13 for 36 years and was CB 13’s chairwoman from 1971-2001.
For the first time this year Noreika was not reappointed to the community board and made rare appearances at meetings after she stepped down as chairwoman due to poor health.
“Just about every project in eastern Queens, she had some role in it,” said CB 13 member Corey Bearak. “She was a mentor to me.”
Former CB 13 Chairman Richard Hellenbrecht, the board’s current Land Use Committee chairman, said Noreika’s biggest accomplishment was helping to come up with a rezoning plan for southeast Queens when John F. Kennedy International Airport was expanding in the 1960s and ’70s.
“She was quite a feisty character,” Hellenbrecht said.
Hellenbrecht said Noreika was instrumental in establishing the South Shore Land Use Separation Agreement, which prevented air freight trucks from driving down residential areas.
“This was pretty much her instigation,” Hellenbrecht said. “I know that was a feather in her cap.”
In April, CB 13 honored Noreika with a resolution that noted she testified at more city Board of Standards and Appeals hearings than any other community board chairman in the history of the city.
Noreika was a founding member and longtime board member of Services Now for Adult Persons, or SNAP, which provides services to the borough’s senior population.
She was heavily involved in other organizations, including the PTA, and volunteered for the Summer Youth Employment Program at CB 13’s office.
Noreika was a member of American Legion Post No. 301, based in Queens Village, a board member of the Children’s Psychiatric Center in Bellerose and founder of the Queens Economic Development Council.
She also was a founding co-chairwoman of NORC-WOW’s steering committee, based at the Samuel Field Y.
A wake for Noreika was scheduled for Thursday at Gleason’s Funeral Home, at 36-46 Bell Blvd. in Bayside. Viewings are scheduled from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., with services at 8 p.m.
Noreika is survived by a daughter and two grandchildren.
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4573.
©2011 Community News Group
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