BRENNER - Melvin Charles ("Mel"), 87, passed away on May 30, 2013 surrounded by his loving children. Born in The Bronx, NY, to the late Sarah Ellenbogen and Michael Brenner, he moved to Bridgeport CT and then to Brooklyn. He graduated from James Madison High School. Attained the rank of Staff Sgt. in the U.S. Army during World War II, with the 87th Infantry Division, 345 Regiment. Seven months of combat in Europe included the Battle of the Bulge and Siegfreid Line - ending up on the Czech border May 8, 1945. Received the Bronze Star. After the war he attended NYU, earned an MA in the Social Sciences and taught school in NYC for nine years. Married to Sandra K. Brenner for just shy of 60 years, they settled in N. Massapequa in 1960. He taught social studies at Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK H.S. and became Dept. Chair in 1971, retiring in 1981. A founder and past president of the Farmingdale-Bethpage Historical Society. Founder and past president of the NY Civil Liberties Union-Nassau County Chapter, sitting on the board for several decades. Candidate for the NY State Assembly in 1970, and a delegate to the 1972 Democratic Convention in FL. Following retirement Mel pursued his love of travel, including nine bicycling trips throughout France, Holland and England. He and Sandra traveled extensively, and often wintered in FL. He had many close, life-long friendships. Mel loved the game of tennis, playing throughout his life. He enjoyed fishing, biking, wood carving, gardening and reading, was a fan of Dixieland jazz, Woody Guthrie, was a politically astute speaker and a modern Renaissance man. He brought these traits to Jeffersons Ferry Retirement Community in S. Setauket, where he and Sandy relocated in July 2010. New meaningful friendships developed and Mel left a remarkable imprint on many people there as well. Mel is survived by his wife Sandra; daughters Janis Brenner and husband Mitchell Bogard of NYC; Amy Schettini and husband Frank, and their son Daniel of Long Beach, CA; and Leslie Brenner and her children Leigh and Frank Steinman of Portsmouth, NH. Brother-in-law Alan Klein and his wife Mary Ellen of Homewood, IL and their children, in addition to several cousins. He was pre-deceased by his sister, Miriam Goldman. Contributions may be made in his memory to a charity of your choice
, or ACLU-NYCLU Chapter, Southern Poverty Law Center, or the National Museum of the U.S. Army. A celebration of Mel's life will take place at Jeffersons Ferry in S. Setauket on June 27 at 2:00 PM.