Obituary, Neil Oratz

Neil Oratz (69) of Pawling, New York–loving father, beloved friend and coach, and prolific guitarist–died on October 7th of cancer.

Neil was born on October 16, 1952 in Brooklyn, New York to Samuel and Jean Oratz. He attended Samuel J. Tilden High School in Flatbush, Brooklyn where he forged close friendships that lasted his entire lifetime and began a lifelong love affair with music. After attending Brooklyn College, he embarked on a 30-year career working for the United States Postal Service first as a clerk and then as a letter carrier, first in Brooklyn, and then Tarrytown, and then finally in Carmel, NY before retiring in 2008.

In 1978 Neil married Barbara (Farrell) Oratz and shortly thereafter moved to Carmel, NY where they raised their two sons, Devon and Jeffrey. A passionate, lifelong sports fan (Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Giants) Neil quickly became a fixture of local community sports. Neil spent decades as an umpire for the Westchester Putnam Baseball Association and coached Little League and later travel baseball for the Kent White Sox from 2000-2015.

Neil started playing guitar in high school and did not stop until his illness rendered him unable. A gifted rhythm guitarist and slide-guitar bluesman, he also played the bass, mandolin, and ukulele and sang. Over the course of 54 years, he was a dedicated, talented, humble, and prolific gigging musician and occasional music teacher. He fronted and played with many bands over the years and even played at the legendary CBGB’s but kept playing with his Brooklyn High School friends his entire life. Primarily playing in cover band’s, Neil’s original compositions included “God Created Beer” and “Superbowl Sunday” (limited release on CD in 2007). Through his coaching and his music Neil touched and enriched countless lives, and even more as a treasured member of his community and affable friend to many. A man of diverse interests, he also demonstrated a mastery of trivia and instilled his sons with his lifelong love of cinema and science fiction.

Neil was predeceased by his father, Samuel Oratz, mother, Jean Oratz, and sister, Karin Foreman. He is survived by his wife Barbara, sons Jeffrey and Devon, nieces Dara Carrell and Lisa Duffy of Santa Rosa, CA, niece Cecelia Lefurgy, many more nieces, nephews, and cousins.

And Now His Watch Is Ended.

 A Memorial Service will be held at 3PM on Sunday, October 23rd at Centennial Country Club, 185 Simpson Road, Carmel, NY 10512. His friends and family are invited to share happy memories and celebrate Neil in the way he would want to be remembered as a goodhearted and fun guy who loved life.

Arrangements are under the direction of the Horn & Thomes, Inc Funeral Home, 83 East Main Street, Pawling, NY.

Author: Harlem Valley News