With Dr. Strauss gone, who’s going to keep me alive?

Brooklyn Daily
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Look, folks, I have to go off script this week because I got some sad news that makes me the opposite of mad: my good friend and doctor since I was just a little screecher, Carl Strauss, died on Aug. 8, and I’m really sad about it.

Now I don’t need to tell you that I dubbed Dr. Strauss the Marcus Welby of Bensonhurst four generations ago (not decades, generations!), because he was the most caring, nurturing, polymath who was more than just a doctor — he was our family.

He delivered god knows how many babies in the neighborhood. He knew more about our heritage, history, and religion more than we did. He could speak on any subject and never let you get a word in edgewise. He talked, and talked and talked, until you forgot what you went to him for. He made house calls, you could call him at his office or home at any time of the day or night, weekday or weekend and he would come and cure you!

The ol’Screecher recalls my first office on the corner of 25th Avenue and 85th Street that Dr. Strauss shared with a dentist. It was always crowded with his patients, and his massive desk was forever cluttered with papers, files, fountain pens, and models of hearts, lungs, skeletons, and his collection of pipes in their rack. And there was always this lingering smell of pipe tobacco and cologne.

Most important was the framed photos of his family which he was always so proud of — his beloved wife Shirley, to whom he was married for 47 years, and his two beautiful children.

For 50 years, he was my only doctor, and he wasn’t just any general practitioner — he was a specialist in his own way. He was the surgeon who performed circumcisions (including my own, in my 40s!), a psychiatrist, a psychologist, counselor, rabbi, priest, and minister all at the same time. When he retired some years ago, I panicked! Who’s going to take care of me. Who’s going to keep me alive! Fact is, there will never be anyone like Dr. Strauss and, actually, there never was!

More than 120 friends and family came to his 90th birthday party, which was akin to an Academy Awards celebration with song, dance, and video montage. A letter dating back to 1981 was reproduced from Bensonhurst families read, “There are some things in this world that should always remain: The Yanks in the Stadium, the Parachute Jump in Coney Island, Carnegie Hall and you Dr. Strauss, taking care of us people in Brooklyn.”

To his devoted wife Shirley and the kids and grandkids, the Santa Maria, Vento, and Zazzali families, thank you and god for allowing Dr. Strauss to become such an important part of our lives. Godspeed on your heavenly call.

I’m sure that no one in Heaven will ever get sick again.

Screech at you next week!

Read Carmine's screech every Saturday on E-mail him at
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Reasonable discourse

Comments closed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: