Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Honoree Would Have Liked Funeral; When the Rabbi Asked If a Golf Buddy Would Speak, a Woman Said, "He Outlived Them All."

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Honoree Would Have Liked Funeral; When the Rabbi Asked If a Golf Buddy Would Speak, a Woman Said, "He Outlived Them All."

Article excerpt

Byline: TERRY DICKSON

BRUNSWICK -- Carley Zell probably would have loved his own funeral.

One of Brunswick's staunchest boosters and benefactors and a legendary partier, Zell died Sunday. He was 106.

At his funeral Tuesday at Palmetto Cemetery, friends and Rabbi Michael Matuson described him as a man who made friends quickly and kept them for life.

Among them was Dudley Lowery, who came from Houston for the funeral.

Another acquaintance introduced him to Zell at a bar in Paris and Zell immediately invited him to a cocktail party, Lowery said.

"We've been friends 54 years,'' Lowery said. "I had to come. I had to be here and I love him.''

The Sea Island resident loved good stories, especially those he had to embellish a little, such as the time he sent his car and a female driver to pick up Lowery at the airport, Lowery said.

"He accused me of keeping the woman and the car a week,'' Lowery said.

People were shy at first at telling stories, even when Matuson encouraged them.

"How about his golf buddies?'' Matuson asked.

"He outlived them all,'' a woman called from the crowd.

Jack Lang said Zell had been a friend of his grandfather, who died 73 years ago. Zell often invited people to his birthday parties, including one at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York, one of his favorite places. At one of those parties at one of New York's most famous restaurants, Zell had the food catered, all the way from a restaurant in Brunswick.

"I could never keep up with him,'' Lang said.

Architect Ed Chesser choked up as he recalled how Zell had been his mentor for many years.

Zell had a variety of interests and loved to talk about all of them, but most conversations returned to his beloved Brunswick, where his Russian immigrant parents moved their family when Zell was 6 months old. His father, Abraham Zelmenovitz, opened a store there and one day the still young Carley Zell took $20 from the cash register, walked across the street and opened an insurance business in a building with a bicycle shop and a jeweler. …

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