Stella Gray Maisel Dies “Life is Not a Dress Rehearsal”

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Stella Maisel, age 91, passed away August 6, 2014, in Port Washington, NY after an extended illness and hospice stay, spending her final days surrounded by loving family.

Stella Maisel, age 91, passed away August 6, 2014, in Port Washington, NY after an extended illness and hospice stay, spending her final days surrounded by loving family.

Stella was born Stella Gray on June 3, 1923 in New York, NY to parents Louis and Henrietta Gray, and at various times lived in New York City, Great Neck, and Miami Beach. Her maternal and paternal grandparents were born in Russia and immigrated to the United States in 1906.

Henrietta Gray was a milliner and Louis Gray was a dress manufacturer by trade. Stella was the exact size of her father’s dresses, so she had 200 new ones each year. She was so popular in college that Ted, her future husband had trouble getting a date with her! She married Theodore (Ted) Maisel in a ceremony at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in 1946. Together, they raised three children in Great Neck: Eileen, James, and Louis, all of whom followed in their mother’s footsteps to become health care professionals.

In her own career, Stella combined her love of health care and art. She worked in art therapy as Occupational Therapist serving veterans at the New York VA; as Coordinator of Rehabilitation Medicine at Nassau University Medical Center; and later in a similar capacity at A. Holly Patterson Nursing Home. She did her undergraduate work at NYU and Columbia, and subsequently received a Masters in Health Administration. She served as President of the National Association of Occupational Therapy, and traveled to China on a health care diplomatic mission, one of the first Americans ever invited on a medical tour of that country. With a love for the theater, she served as a theater critic for Back Stage Magazine. Moving to Manhattan when she retired, she frequented museums and enjoyed the shops on the Upper East Side. Since 2011, she made her home in Atria, Roslyn, NY.

Stella was interested in culture, museums, decoration, jewelry making, hat design and politics. She was known for her sense of humor, creativity and refined sense of style. She once brought baby chicks to her nieces and nephews in Brooklyn. The kids loved her and the relatives didn’t want to invite her back again.

To those that knew her, she offered the following, “May you live as long as you like, and have what you like, as long as you live.” She once revealed, with hint of a twinkle in her eye, that her greatest disappointment was to have never gotten a magnificent Manhattan penthouse with a garden.

Words that come to mind when attempting to sum up her rich and joyous life would be that Stella enjoyed beauty everywhere. Lightheartedly joking about her occupation as an Occupational Therapist, she liked to say, “OTs are inventive. Silk worms make silk. Moths make holes. We can cross breed them and make lace.”

Stella was preceded in death by her parents, and brother Henry Gray. She is survived by her husband Theodore (Roslyn, NY), retired Vice President of Morgan Stanley and children: Eileen (Armonk, NY), a PhD in Developmental Psychology, and her husband Richard Barna, Chairman of RAB Lighting; James Maisel, MD (Muttontown, NY), a retinal surgeon and CEO of and his wife Laura Maisel, an attorney and journalist; and Louis Maisel, MD a retinal surgeon in New City, NY; eight grandchildren: Ross and Hayley Barna, Jennifer and Jonathan Maisel; and Louis’s four children, Remy, Skye, Zoe and Willow Maisel; and two great-grandchildren: River and Linden Barna.

A funeral service will be at the Atria, in Roslyn NY on August 7, 2014 at 10AM, with graveside services and interment at the Old Mount Carmel Cemetery in Flushing, NY. Arrangements are being handled by the North Shore Memorial Chapel. For information, please contact her son, James Maisel at jmaisel(at)rgony(dot)com.

The family wishes to thank the caring, attentive doctors, nurses, and staff at North Shore University Hospital for helping make Stella as comfortable as possible throughout her stay and her friends for their support.

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James M. Maisel, M.D.

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