Queens lost a beloved elected official when Assemblyman Michael Simanowitz passed away suddenly at the age of 45 after battling cancer for several years. He is survived by his wife Jennifer and their four children.
“Words are not adequate to express how heartbroken I am that he is no longer with us,” said Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. “I will especially remember Mike for his quick wit and intelligence. I am proud to have called him my friend.”
Simanowitz, who grew up in Forest Hills, was first elected to the Assembly in 2011. He represented neighborhoods including College Point, Whitestone, Briarwood, Pomonok and Kew Gardens Hills.
Prior to elected office, Simanowitz served as chief of staff to his predecessor, former Assemblywoman Nettie Mayersohn, for 15 years. He was involved with the NYPD’s auxiliary police unit in the 107th Precinct. He also worked for the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development.
Simanowitz’s funeral took place at the Schwartz Brothers Jeffer Memorial Chapel in Forest Hills. Local elected officials mourned the loss of their colleague and friend.
“I am numb and shaken beyond words,” said Councilman Barry Grodenchik, who expressed the “profoundest of sorrow and unbearable agony” at the loss of his “dear friend and brother.” “May the thousands and thousands of people he helped in his all too short life remember his kindness and may they be multiplied many fold.”
Congressman Joseph Crowley called Simanowitz a “person beyond reproach” and lauded him for carrying out the duties of his office with dignity and honor.
“He fought tirelessly for his community and will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him,” he said.
Congresswoman Grace Meng, whose congressional district encompasses Simanowitz’s Assembly district, called the late assemblyman a “dedicated public servant.”
“Mike was a wonderful human being,” she said. “He had a heart of gold and was among the warmest, friendliest and most down-to-earth individuals I have known. His passing is a terrible loss for me personally as well as our borough, city and state.”
Borough President Melinda Katz added that Simanowitz will be “deeply missed by all who knew him and by all who are involved in the civic life” of the borough.
“Michael cared deeply about the people of Queens,” Katz said, “and fought tenaciously on their behalf throughout his distinguished career in public service.”