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Old 08-27-2009, 02:09 PM   #31
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For Michael

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Old 08-27-2009, 02:30 PM   #32
Larry Rothbart
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Mike is a dear person who for the longest time was one of the "big boys" who ran the camp in my mind. In reality he was one of the good guys. He really was a pleasure to know.
Larry Rothbart
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Old 08-27-2009, 02:34 PM   #33
David Fried
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Mike had a vision and together we created a portal to the past and the future. There are almost 1000 people who have a link to friends and memories because of Mike's vision.
In the interest of that spirit I ask each of you to reach out to a Wel-Met friend and say Hi and how are ya. Mike will be smiling.

Thank You Mike
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Old 08-27-2009, 06:51 PM   #34
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Alan, my deep regrets for your loss. I hope you can take some solace in the many kind words that have been written here at the site in these last few days. Mike was respected by all and truly was a person that anyone who met him when we all were campers would not easily forget.
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Old 08-27-2009, 07:51 PM   #35
Ray Hershbain
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I did not know Mike as long as many of you did. We spent a few summers together when I worked in the kitchen. I can only say the world has lost a good one. If anyone asked I would have to say he was one of the nicest people I ever met. I often remember him telling us about his meeting with Dick Steinberg after little Lisa dicovered the "F" word. It always brings a smile to my face. My sincere condolences to his family He will truly be missed.
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Old 08-28-2009, 07:19 AM   #36
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Yesterday I had the chance to speak with Barbara S for a long and overdue chat.
So Mike, even now you are still bringing people together.

Alan and Gerry,

You are in my thoughts and prayers. I am thinking of you, of Mike's wife and daughter, and hoping that you all are able to heal from this loss knowing that Mike was truly loved.

much love to you,

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Old 08-28-2009, 08:28 AM   #37
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With a heavy heart but warm memories

So many thoughts of thanks and no way to be eloquent.

With fond memories and appreciation, much love and solace to Mike's family. His effort has brought so much happiness to us all and for that we are all forever in his debt.

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Old 08-28-2009, 09:54 AM   #38
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To Alan and your family -

My condolences to all of you on the loss of Mike. I too am grateful for this website, which has reconnected me both personally, and through words and pictures, of my years at Wel Met. I truly feel part of an elite group who has had a unique, special common experience.

Mike's memory will certainly be for a blessing.

Stew Koenig
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Old 08-28-2009, 10:32 AM   #39
Cliff Schorr
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Wel-Met Friends,
I was supposed to be on a plane this morning to Houston to meet up with Todd Siegel and Marty Baicker to be by Mike's side. My bag was packed with Mike's favorite James Taylor music and my Wel-Met t-shirt. I guess that trip just wasn't meant to be. I know that many of us awoke this morning with the very sad realization that Mike is no longer with us.

I have gotten alot of emails asking for information about plans for the service and memorial, so I thought I would post what I know as tentative plans. There is a planned memorial service for Mike in Houston this Sunday for Mike's family, friends and colleagues. That service is at 2pm., this Sunday at the Forest Park Funeral Home in the Woodlands, TX

Many of you have asked for Mike's home address to send cards. His home address is:
23 White Fawn Drive
The Woodlands, TX 77381
His wife's name is Diane and his daughter's name is Lisa.

Mike expressed an interest in being buried in New York at a family site on Long Island. Alan Alterbaum told me this morning there will be a memorial service and that they are thinking that will likely be the Sunday of Labor Day Weekend, in Farmingdale, NY. The location and time of that will be posted here once it is confirmed, for those in the area that wish to attend. I know many of us will attend that!!

Lastly, it was Mike's wish that he could somehow return to Wel-Met one last time. The family is also considering a service at Wel-Met, lakeside at the Narrowburg branch. Special permissions would need to be obtained for that and no time or date has been set.

Also, Marty Baicker has written a brief obituary that will appear in the NY Times, hopefully Sunday. (Thanks, Marty).

Lastly, I want to recognize someone who none of you know, Mike's good friend and colleague from Houston, Peepers. Peepers told us he would be there until the very end and spent the the final 48 hours at the hospice with Mike. He's a special friend and we all owe him our thanks.

As for me, I am taking the day today to reflect on a life well-lived - - going through old pictures I have of Mike and those on the website.

Long live our memories of Mike.

Cliff Schorr
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Old 08-28-2009, 01:56 PM   #40
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Many years ago, I came upon this poem and it has stuck with me for years. I believe it is a great tribute to Mike . . . . Jay

Dance Upon The Wind.
by Intimate Knight

I wasn't looking for it, but some how it came, and found me.
Before I had a chance to react, it wrapped it's warmth around me.
Like a thief in the night, it has come and gone.
I have nothing, but that vision to reflect upon.

Until chance comes again, I'll let my thoughts dance upon the wind.
All day long, in my mind, I walk love's lonely street.
Like a tired man that longs to sit, but just can't find a seat.
Then, there it was again, up ahead, to light my way.

Only to vanish once more, just like all my yesterdays.
Until chance comes again, I'll let my thoughts dance upon the wind.
I don't know where I'm going, and where I've been isn't much to speak of.
I just know my heart is always showing, leading me to some far off love.

Just when I give up the fight.
Here it comes to make the bad things good, and the wrong things right.
Only to leave me lost and lonely again.
Drifting away as my thoughts dance upon the wind.

It has a name, I think they call it friend.
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Old 08-28-2009, 02:38 PM   #41
Harvey Shiffman
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very nice jay, not a dry eye in the house for sure, RIP mike, best regards to all his family and thanks for sharing him with his wel-met "family"
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Old 08-28-2009, 04:23 PM   #42
Davia Love
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I didn't know Mike until I found this site just before the Nevele reunion a few years ago. When I posted that I might attend, he called me, just to touch base, meet a Wel-metter he hadn't known previously. What a treat -- he was a special person, and I thank him so much for reconnecting me with my "Wel-Met roots". Alan, Barbara and your families, my condolences. And Mike, rest in peace.
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Old 08-28-2009, 08:20 PM   #43
Cindy Marks
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My thoughts go to all the Alterbaums at this sad time. I didn't know Mike well but I'm so grateful for his amazing work putting together the Narrowsburg reunion in 2005. It was an amazing weekend bridging 30+ years and connecting us all to each other in the place we loved so much. Mike's love and care was stamped all over the weekend and it filtered thru all of us. And it still continues to do so.

My thoughts and love will be with Marty, Todd and Cliff and the family at the service over the weeekend.

I followed Dave Fried's suggestion and called my close WM friend last night, Mike's spirit was flowing thru our conversation. It's a great time to reach out and honor his memory.
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Old 08-29-2009, 10:32 AM   #44
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Thanks for dedicating this site to Mike's memory. Very much the right thing to do.

I did not have the pleasure of knowing Mike. One year difference at camp separates us by so much, yet having had the Wel-Met experience joins us so much.

My condolences to his family & friends.

--Eric Liebes
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Old 08-29-2009, 01:33 PM   #45
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I just heard the sad news. I first met Mike on our Western Trip & have wonderful memories of his sweet, caring, calm nature. I also remember that we were always asking him to play James Taylor songs on his guitar & marveling at the similarities.

I am so grateful for his efforts in helping us all reconnect. And there were many from our Western Trip who attended the reunions thanks to Mike. I have a vivid memory of my extended conversation with him in Narrowsburg as he spoke in a very animated fashion of his initial diagnosis & battle with cancer. He felt he had been given a new life & seemed to want others to truly understand that experience. I'm sorry it was so time-limited & that I didn't personally get to connect again but from reading the postings, I can admire the continued grace with which he lived these last few years.

My sincere condolences to Mike's family & friends. He'll be greatly missed.

Jayne Schachter Walco
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Old 08-29-2009, 02:48 PM   #46
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Dear Mike,

Your smile, helping hand and great sense of commitment to Camp Wel-Met will always be cherished. You were always there when I needed you. I certainly hope that I too was there fore you!
Marc Alan Minick
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Old 08-30-2009, 06:35 PM   #47
Gail Karlitz
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NY Times 8/30/09 (Thanks, Marty)

Michael Alterbaum

ALTERBAUM--Michael, of The Woodlands, Texas (formerly of Bayside, New York)- on August 27, 2009. The Alumni of the The Wel-Met Camps are deeply saddened by the passing of our beloved friend, Mike Alterbaum. Mike's boundless optimism and openness inspired all who knew him. As the creator of The Wel-Met Camps web-site and master reunion planner, Mike reunited hundreds of old friends who had shared wonderful summer time experiences. We extend our condolences to his wife Diane, daughter Lisa, his brother Alan, sister in-law Gerry and their children Jessica, and Jordan. Mike will be sorely missed but never forgotten.

The Wel-Met Camps Alumni Association
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Old 08-31-2009, 12:29 AM   #48
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Unhappy RIP

You will be sorely missed .
I wish you peace
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Old 08-31-2009, 11:17 AM   #49
cliff weber
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As many of you know, I was Peach's counselor in 1968 and 1970. In 1970, we had a super-tent consisiting of Peach, Brett Finklestein, Cliff Schorr, Danny Breitstein and Johnny Levine. Michael thought I taught him some things, but in truth, while I may have imparted some knowledge, he delivered true wisdom to me, and all of us who lived with him. Michael had a uniquely sunny, compassionate and forgiving disposition that warmed everyone around him. He saw the good in people and cheered me up on many occassions, though I'm certain he didn't know it. And yes, he was a superior athlete and a leader by example. He also was not adverse to a little mischief and fun, of which we had plenty !

I have been following Barbara S.'s and Gerry Alterbaum's (Mike's sister-in-law) posts, even from Israel, from which I returned yesterday. I am deeply saddened, yet so very proud that Mike---one of my "kids"---faced his final battles with profound courage and good cheer, without complaint or self-pity. I hope that I can summon those qualities, which came naturally to Michael, when my time comes.

So as I have always done, I continue to love and admire Michael, who, to those of us who knew him, will always be the Peach.
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Old 09-02-2009, 07:58 PM   #50
Cliff Schorr
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Sunday, Sept 6th Gathering to Honor Mike Alterbaum



When: Sunday, September 6th 2pm - 5pm

Where: Goddard Riverside Community Center
593 Columbus Avenue (between 88th and 89th)

Late lunch will be provided.

Please drop me an email asap at clschorr@aol.com letting me know if you are coming so we can plan accordingly.

We hope you can join us!

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Old 09-04-2009, 03:24 PM   #51
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Mike - the Peach

Unfortunately I will not be able to attend the memorial for Mike this Sunday in Manhattan. In lieu of being there, here is my tribute to Mike.

Wel-Met was a very important part of my life.. . as a kid from Queens it was a place I yearned for all year long, a magical place where the sweet smell of the pine forest was as strong and special as the lifelong friendships, the folksy and later hippie counselors, the discussions about peace and justice, the spirit of community and marking my summers by boyfriends gone by...For good or bad, Wel-Met molded me and set me on my life path.

Mike and I connected as a result of the reunions and planning for them. But we perpetually analyzed when our paths must have crossed at camp because we were very close to the same age (he was in reality a couple of months older than me), and kept coming back to where our paths had crossed as campers and staff. We never tired of replaying that movie!

But our friendship went beyond the strong Wel-Met bonds that tug at my soul whenever I think of the boat dock, the mess hall, the stage, the pearly gates, the woods, visiting day, the bats, Birch Lodge, Snake Road, Silverlake Pioneers, my childhood friends now all grown up. Mike told us all who had the privilege of knowing him that it was surviving cancer that inspired him to create the web site and to plan the reunions. And Mike, the 'peach', called me weekly for 10 long months during my own illness that began shortly after the Westchester reunion in 2004. During that time he would cheerfully talk with my husband, mother, or anyone else that picked up the phone on the days that I did not want to talk. I promised him that if he had a reunion at camp in June of 2005 that I would go. And Mike promised me that if I could go, then there would be a reunion. The rest is history.

Mike showed me that life is a gift and that it must never be taken for granted. During this past year, during his recurrence, Mike and I spoke frequently on the phone. Long conversations filled with laughter, not tears. He also shared some of his fears with me, too, a confidence it was an honor to have. Mike rekindled for many of us not only old friendships and memories, but the selfless spirit of Wel-Met and a belief in something that is much larger than oneself. Community.

Words cannot describe how heavy my heart is from the loss. My deepest sympathies to Allan, Gerry, Diane, Lisa, Cliff, Barbara and all his dear friends.

Thank you, Mike, I will miss you.

Roz Guterman

Last edited by roz; 09-07-2009 at 06:50 AM.
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Old 09-04-2009, 05:40 PM   #52
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I'm looking forward to attending Mike's memorial on Sunday. If there is anything I can do to help, or if you need me to contribute anything, please let me know.

I'm not at all happy that these are the circumstances under which I'll attend my first Wel-Met event, but I can hear Mike's voice encouraging me that it's great that I'm finally getting myself to a gathering. What a selfless person he was. I'm so sad I missed seeing Mike, but I am grateful we did re-connect.

Mike and Gerry, my condolences and love, and hope to see you.

Jane Goldschlager
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Old 09-05-2009, 12:56 PM   #53
Roberta Grubman
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I am so sorry I will not be able to attend Mike's memorial tomorrow.

Please know how very many of us will be there is spirit.

Alan and Gerry - and all of Mike's loved ones - you're in my heart.

Lots of love,
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Old 09-06-2009, 07:31 PM   #54
Mitch Edelson
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Mitch "Biddo" Edelson

I’d like to thank Cliff, Todd and Marty for organizing the terrific memorial tribute to my “brother” Mike from all the Bayside boys. This enabled us to celebrate a one-of-kind soul. Alan, I was glad we had the opportunity to tell you and your wonderful family how special Michael was to us all. Although unable to attend, Barbara and Bubber were included in many happy stories. Danny, thanks for getting the tribute started. It was very hard for you and all I wanted to do was give you a hug. Mike will be greatly missed, but his spirit will live with all of us forever in our hearts and memories. Thank you Mike. I love you.

Mitch Edelson
Non-camper/Bayside Boy
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Old 09-07-2009, 01:26 PM   #55
Alan Alterbaum
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My Brother

I am not much of a writer to begin with and have been less so of late. While I have monitored this site almost daily since it's inception, for the past month I have sought solace in the messages that were written, checking the site multiple times every day. As I said when Mike first got sick, all of the words written were words of comfort and helped me get through this difficult time. Thank you for all of your words, whether on this site, in a card you sent, the phone calls I got, or as an individual e-mail to me.

We all have our memories of Mike, some more so than others, but they are an individual thing and it helps all of us when they're shared. Yesterday was an opportunity for anyone to share whatever he or she wanted to. For those of you who were not able to be present, this site affords you the opportunity to share those stories. As such, it is important that we each contribute to it's upkeep by making a contribution to keep it going. David Fried has done a phenomenal job in maitaining it and we all need to help him by providing the financial support. To keep Mike's legacy alive, we need to keep the site alive.

I want to thank Marty Baicker, Cliff Schorr, and Todd Siegel for making yesterday's memorial, the class act that it was. I hope that we are able to somehow make the video available so that everyone who was not able to be there can see what they put together. I was glad that my children, Jessica, Jordan, and Garrett were able to hear the tributes, and what all these people, that they had only heard stories about, had to say about their uncle Mike. My wife, Gerry, has stood by me and been the rock of strength to hold onto.

Finally, at the last roundup, at the Pavillion in Narrowsburg in 2005, Mike presented me with a Wel-Met Camps Lifetime Achievement Award. On it he wrote, "For having a positive impact on the life of your younger brother who always wants to be just like you!" Mike, I only hope that when my time comes, I can face death with the strength and courage that you had. I want to be, and hope everyone else can be just like you.
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Old 09-07-2009, 02:05 PM   #56
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" . . . be like Mike . . . "
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Old 09-07-2009, 05:28 PM   #57
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Be like Mike - word

Mike was the consummate facilitator and gift-giver.

He just keeps going. Yesterday's gathering on 88th Street, was testimony to this legacy.

I'm neither a religious or terribly spiritual person, but yesterday, I was moved. And I learned - or at least was reminded - from Mike, yesterday, at how sweet, precious, silly, delicate, funny, raw, rare and fleeting life is.

Thanks to all of you who made yesterday happen.

Gerry and Alan ... what can I say. How sweet it is to be loved by you.
Marc - so nice to meet you again.

peace and love, jane

hey fellow wel-met-ters, if you want some recipes, some kitchen trucs and of course, political commentary, please visit my blog - you don't need a postcard home to get in.

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Old 09-08-2009, 06:34 PM   #58
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I am sorry that I was not able to get to NYC to give you and Gerry a hug in person.
I heard that the memorial was truly wonderful.

Mike was never anything but nice to me, never mad, never mean, never frustrated, never annoyed just plain nice.

He was generous to a fault and had a laugh that just made me laugh too. I never felt anything but completely loved, accepted and cared for.

His attitude in how he handled these last days of his life taught me a great deal.

You and Gerry, and your children whom I have not had the pleasure of meeting will continue to be in my thoughts and prayers.

I have not spent much time on this site for quite a while, but once again Mike has acted as the catalyst for my reconnection. I will make sure to donate and keep the site going.

much love and many prayers to you and your family,

Beth Goldberg
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Old 09-10-2009, 12:28 PM   #59
Meredith Rubel
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I read these postings with tears in my eyes.

When Mike passed away, I was up in Danbury, visiting a favorite cousin who has late-stage metastatic cancer. Since surviving cancer myself, it's been very apparent to me that one must live life with joy & kindness, and to not take even little blessings for granted.

I didn't know Mike. But I wish I did. He sounds like a fabulous individual. It must bring some solace to his family that Mike's life impacted so many people, even someone like me, who never met him.

I am truly sorry for your loss.
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