Lee Snell Greenberg
January 22, 1918 (Spanish Influenza) -- January 29th, 2021 (COVID Pandemic)
Lee Snell Greenberg, 103, of Westport, Connecticut passed away on Friday, January 29th, in the comfort of her beloved home of 43 years at 9 Duck Pond Road.
Born January 22, 1918 during the Spanish Influenza, in Hells Kitchen, New York to Rebecca Sprintz and Harry Snelnicoff originally from Belarus and Chernikow, Russia. "Lee Gee," as she preferred to be called, dreamed about living in the country and did so. Her marriage to the late Nathan H. Greenberg brought her to Westport in 1941 where Nat operated the Westport Hardware Store for more than 55 years, and during those years he also became a trusted real estate developer. Nat and Lee were amongst the earliest of Jewish families in Westport. Her husband was one of the original organizers to establish Temple Israel of Westport. Later he enabled the development of Birchwood Country Club that also helped support the growing Jewish community. Westport's "Grand Dame" (as remarked by Gillian Anderson of the Westport Rotary Club for knowing everyone in the room and just about everyone in Westport) colored her 80 years in the town through her dedication and service to Westport and the global community. She brought "the world into their home" (Ann Sheffer, Rotarian) - including ethnically diverse figures who were rising. Over many decades, Lee and her husband, fixtures in the town, hosted fundraisers for countless political candidates -- "always Democrats" (as she proudly would share) and hosted U.N.- related gatherings. She was a board member of the Norwalk Symphony, the Westport Arts Center, a dedicated artist contributor to the Carriage Barn sculptor group at The New Canaan Society for the Arts (resulting in some captivating designs of grace, humor, and imagination including: The Tennis Player, Horses in the Waves, and The Flying Pig!), an active member of the Westport Historical Society, and a Rotarian since 2002. The Rotary Club of Westport celebrated with Lee and her family not only her commitment to service (via a 2018 Paul Harris Award in recognition of the many ways she has enriched the lives of the people of Westport), but also her becoming a centenarian and just days ago, her remarkable 103rd milestone, in a COVID-safe gathering in her garage.
Lee developed signature cultural Salons -- hosted in her home and co-designed with Herb Podel. Her Salons were lively learning-filled gatherings for friends and acquaintances to hear from artists and musicians, journalists, political columnists, photographers, human rights activists, politicians, economists, authors, physicians and wellness experts. Her impressionable persona was framed not only by her being a lifelong networker and social queen, but also by her intellect, curiosity, and bold outward looking peppered questions and references to current events, news, figures, and articles.
Her extraordinarily long life was rooted in/marked by her dedication to a healthy lifestyle (ahead of the curve), "exercise, exercise, exercise" and mobility (tennis to yoga) -- famed by her splits done into her 90s!! Lee also was the queen of games. A perennial beach/sun worshiper, year-round she held court with friends and family while playing backgammon and scrabble on her cherished beaches (from Block Island in the summer to St. Thomas in the winter) -- Always keen to teach her lineage her special moves or rules! Endlessly young at heart and kept in form by continuing to keep her mind active with her games and news learnings. Mobility (of mind and body) was her mark through 103!!! She loved to be out in her beloved town of Westport. Thanks to the irreplaceable gift, love, endless dedication and careful driving of her 18-year caregiver Gina, Lee was found even throughout the pandemic and into the winter at her beloved Compo Beach, listening to her favorite operas and watching the sun set next to her "bouquet of trees," while holding court with friends and family.
Lee was married to the late Nathan H. Greenberg, a Connecticut real estate developer for 43 years and an early member of the Westport Rotary Club and the late Jacques C. Sternberg for 10 years.
"Lee Gee" is survived by her four children: Linda G. Libow of New York, Gail Greenberg of California, Michael S. Greenberg of Connecticut, and Debbie Filkins of Block Island/Rhode Island and their spouses; Step-children: Edward Sternberg and Cathy O'Gara; 8 grandchildren: Adam Libow, Karuna Greenberg, Alana Libow, Allegra Brucker, Jessica Filkins, Walter Filkins IV, Nathan Greenberg, Noah Greenberg and spouses; 3 step-grandchildren and spouses, four great-grandchildren, six step great-grandchildren, the Snell nephews and their spouses and children and her beloved caretaker Gina Prempeh from Ghana of 18 years.
Family was her pride and foundation.
In the spirit of Lee's love of and support for the environment, music, history, and equality and in lieu of sending flowers, the family welcomes donations in her memory by clicking on the link of your choice:
Block Island Historical Society
The Norwalk Symphony
The Rotary Club of Westport
The Salmon River Restoration Council
Temple Israel of Westport: "Community Funds - The Tzedakah Fund (Social Action)"
Published in Westport-News & The Hour on Feb. 3, 2021.