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Saturday, May 30, 2015

Doris ‘Bunni’ Singer, 82

Doris “Bunni” Singer of University Park, Fla., formerly o f Westport and Weston, and New York City, died May 22, at Tarpon Point Nursing Home, Sarasota. She was 82.

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Doris Singer: lover of theater. Contributed photo

The following was written on the day of her death by her son Barry, with an addendum by her son Tim.

‘My mother Bunni Singer, age 82, died peacefully in her sleep early this morning, May 22, 2015, in Sarasota, Florida, after a long struggle with respiratory illness. To all of us who knew her, she was a most amazing and remarkable woman.

Bunni was loving, devoted, and inspirational as mother to Tim and me, as grandmother to Benn and Chloe, as mother in-law to Betsy and Augusta, and as wife and life partner to Gary. She was an intensely loyal friend to many, and a friendly and interested ‘second mom’ to many friends of ours. She was intelligent, creative, inventive, a passionate believer in justice and human rights, and a great lover of nature.

Here is a capsule description of Mom’s life. I tried, but failed, to keep it short!

Doris Greenbaum was born May 11, 1933 on the Upper East Side of New York City. Her father, Carl Greenbaum, a successful businessman, gave her the name ‘Bunni’ as an infant and this is how she was always known from then on. Her mother was Alice Berliner Greenbaum, a pianist, painter and Broadway costume designer.

She attended the Birch Wathen School through her primary and secondary school years, and many of her classmates there remained her friends for life. From an early age she became a lover of theatre, attending many shows and operas in New York, and getting involved in high school productions.

During her high school years she spent summers at her family’s home in Westport. She met Gary Singer of Norwalk during one of these summers. She attended Skidmore College from 1951-1955, graduating with a degree in theater arts.

During this time her romance with Gary bloomed, and in August 1953 Bunni and Gary eloped - and began a marriage which was to last almost 62 years. (The following year, once the secret was out, her parents hosted a ‘proper’ society wedding for the couple).

In their first years together they lived in an apartment in Norwalk, but in 1957 with their first child due, Bunni and Gary moved to a small house in Weston, where they lived until 1996. Guided by the Singers’ creative sensibilities, the little house went through several additions, and was a social center for their large group of friends. From 1996-2002 they lived in Sedona, Ariz., then returned East in 2001 to settle in Sarasota.

Bunni had an inventive and creative mind which led her into several career ventures. She was a draftsman for an architectural firm, aided by her theater design experience. In 1956 she and Gary helped found the Westport Community Theatre, a high quality drama group which thrives to this day.

She wrote children’s books, and was author and director of “The Not-So-Perfect Princess,” a musical comedy. She worked with the Weston schools, first to establish the elementary school’s first audio-visual learning center, and later to establish and operate Talent-On-Tap, an outreach program for local experts in many fields to volunteer their skills in the schools.

She was co-creator of a children’ s plush toy called “The Moodle.” Bunni was an avid and award-winning photographer, particularly of the world of nature and animals.

Late in life, as her health declined and she was unable to leave her home other than for short local visits, Bunni turned to the computer as her link to the world, and became an enthusiastic devotee of Facebook to keep in touch with friends from all periods of her life.

Her final years were a constant struggle to get enough oxygen into her failing lungs, but she maintained a totally sharp mind and spirit right until her final days.

It is a cliche one often hears at such times, but I can’t think of a truer statement than this: She will be greatly missed by all who knew her.

For my own part, Mom taught me so much, but most importantly she showed me, by word and deed, the power of love in everyday life, the importance of keeping your mind and spirit fresh, and what it is to be a good and decent human being. Mom, I’ll always love you.

My brother Tim wanted me to add this: Ten days ago, we surprised Mom on her 82nd birthday. It was a joyous day filled with laughs and song, although Mom’s endurance was short and we could only “party” for an hour or so. The next day, Mom summoned Barry and me to her bedside, in effect, to say goodbye.

She told us that “I picture myself in a canoe, on (her beloved) Kezar Lake, Maine, with two loons in front of me.” Mom, I am so glad you are now at peace.’

She is survived by Gary, her loving husband and best friend for 62 years; Two sons, Barry (& Betsy) of Arlington, Mass.; Tim ( and Augusta ) of Shelburne, Vt.; a granddaughter, Chloe, and grandson, Edward Benn.

Her wonderful and meaningful life will be memorialized Saturday, June 20 at 2 p.m. at the Florida Studio Theatre (Keating Stage), Sarasota, and in Westport in mid July for her many friends there.

Donations may be made in her name to: Adirondack Scholarship Foundation, Inc., PO Box 97, Willsboro, NY 12996 (online: http://www.adkscholarship.org.)

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Posted 05/30/15 at 01:43 PM  Permalink



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