Ezra Birnbaum passed away unexpectedly at home on May 27, 2013 at the age of 81. After earning a Masters in Social Work from Columbia University, he had a long career working in housing rights, welfare rights, and substance abuse counseling. He dedicated his life to community, political, and union organizing. Ezra was a delegate at Maimonides and then St. Luke’s Hospital for over 25 years, and was very active in the Save Our Union movement in the 1980’s. After retiring, he developed a continuing education program for professionals in Local 1199 Health and Hospital Workers’ Union. He had an incredible ability to understand others’ points of view and was known for his infectious personality, funny stories, and overall sense of humor.
Bishop Joseph Sullivan
Bishop Joseph Sullivan died on June 7, 2013, at the age of 83, following injuries sustained in a car accident on May 30, 2013. He gained national recognition for his work with Catholic Charities in Brooklyn and Queens, and played a key role in the creation of St. Vincent’s Catholic Medical Centers and was chairman of the Social Development and World Peace Department of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Even in retirement, Bishop Sullivan continued to serve on several boards for Catholic hospitals and health institutions. He received a Master of Social Work degree from Fordham University in 1961. He once said that becoming a social worker was the “best thing that has ever happened to me.”