Great Neck Teacher Dies


Deborah Arkus, beloved community member and retired Great Neck teacher, died peacefully at home on Oct. 8, 2014 at age 85.  ArkusDies_102414A

Born on April 26, 1929 in Astoria, Debbie graduated from Julia Richman High School in Manhattan and received her BA and MS degrees in Early Childhood Education from Queens College.  On July 20, 1950, she married Albert Arkus, who predeceased her in 2001.  A resident of Great Neck for over 50 years, she retired from the Great Neck School District after 25 years as a highly esteemed and influential Kindergarten teacher.  

Debbie was a longtime [resident of the Board of Directors of CLASP Children’s Center and served on the boards of the New York State Retired Teachers Retiree Council and the Great Neck/Manhasset Childcare Partnership.  Debbie was an ombudsman at Highfield Gardens Residential Care Center for many years and a member of a wide variety of community organizations.  In 2002, Debbie was selected as a member of the Town of North Hempstead Women’s Roll of Honor and was named CLASP’s Annual Honoree at their 30th Anniversary Celebration in 2006.

She is survived by her four children: Jane (Richard) Fastiggi, Elizabeth (Neil) Cohen, Claudia Cruz, and Robert (Jeni) Arkus; seven grandchildren: Joseph and John (Melissa) Fastiggi; Daniel, Benjamin (Danielle) and Allison Cohen, Max and Nicole Cruz; great- grandson: Dylan Cohen.

Services were held on Oct. 10 at noon at Temple Beth-El of Great Neck.

Memorial donations may be made to:

CLASP Children’s Center, 80 Grace Ave. Great Neck, NY11021

The Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer 1111 Stewart Avenue Bethpage, NY 11714


  1. Sad news. What a wonderful teacher and person. I worked with Debbie while teaching in the Great Neck school system. She was always cheerful and great with her students, caring and compassionate. My wishes to her family. Jon Folber

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