ANNE HERBST PASSED AWAY ON SUNDAY, MAY 27, 2007 at
her home in Lauderdale Lakes, Florida. She was 84 years old. Present were
immediate family members: husband Fred, sons Richard and Philip, her daughter-in-law
Judith, Sandra and granddaughters Hannah and Suzanne.
Her family came to America in the 1920s but in the custom of the
time, her father preceded the family, her mother sister and brother,
by several years in order to establish a home. She was born in Brooklyn
and was referred to as “our American child.” Family members and friends
knew her as “Annie.”
family, father Benjamin, mother Eva, sister Sunnie and brother Jack came
to Rockaway in the late 1920s moving to a house on 78th street a block
from the ocean. She attended PS 39 and graduated from Far Rockaway High
School in 1939. Her ambition was to become a ballerina but although she
was accepted by the Brooklyn Academy of Music, family finances kept her
from dancing. A year later, however, she started attending Pratt Institute
where her artistic talents bloomed. She has been an active working artist
She married Rockaway resident, Fred Herbst in 1942. His Naval Reserve
activated that same year and she traveled with him to Texas and
his discharge in 1945 when they moved back to Rockaway to settle
and Fred moved to Far Rockaway in 1947, then to Bayswater in 1951. They
had three sons: Richard b. 1944, Philip b. 1951 and Andrew b. 1953. Andrew
died in Florida in 2004.
She began designing fine art furniture while living on Long Island.
She and husband Fred would travel out to the Rockaways while the summer
bungalows were being demolished and retrieve items of interest like wooden
medicine cabinets, brass doorknobs, and mirrors. She learned refinishing
and combined that with her considerable painting and sculpture ability
and began to turn out boutique pieces that quickly sold through art galleries
they moved to Miami in 1969 they opened a furniture studio, Anne Herbst
Designs, and began designing and building custom pieces in earnest. Anne
acquired a considerable reputation in the art world in Florida with award-winning
fine art pieces that were truly one of a kind sculpture. Anne and Fred
kept this business until they retired in 1990.
It's easier to write a eulogy than an obituary. For one thing, you
can say what you feel and not just string together a collection of factoids
for a newspaper. Neither one can do justice to a life but if you can remind
family and friends of why someone was so special to them and offer a few
thoughts that will bring that special person to mind, you can rest for
Everyone who knew Annie knew that being with her even for a short
time meant getting to take a walk through her garden, smell the flowers
that grew there, and listen to the birds in the trees. It was always a
place you wanted to return to. She touched everyone this way with a gentleness
and an open heart that beckoned you from wherever you happened to be. You
were always welcome in her world and her garden. Part of her knew and understood
you and made a place for you at the table.
Her wit and humor came from a heart of gold. She didn't particularly
care for George Bush and Dick Cheney and she drew volumes of biting satire
of the lives of the corrupt Romans as they appeared to her special sense
of social justice.
Personally, she despised grudges and anger and had no patience with
people who cultivate these wastes of what precious little time we have
in this world. She reminded me that as a child even though members of her
family argued, moments later they relished the laughter fundamental to
Love was her secret weapon, and it sprang from deep inside her and
couldn't be extinguished by stupidity or recklessness or hurricanes. She
could laugh at anyone yet she had something good to say about practically
anyone—excepting George Bush and Dick Cheney.
She loved ballet and opera, and agonized over how her failing eyesight
and hearing distanced her from a world of art, music and literature. Without
trying she was the nexus of her family, the mirror everyone turned to hopefully
see themselves in. We will miss you Annie as never before.