Babylonian Deborah Stehlik, 49, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, June 7, according to her obituary. Born and raised in Bethpage, she has made her mark on the community for the past 25 years.
Deborah has a BA and MA in Music Education from Long Island University, CW Post (now LIU Post), and has worked in several capacities as an educator.
She has taught throughout Nassau County, including at Hofstra University (where she also earned her Certificate of Higher Education) and serves as president of the Nassau Music Education Association.
For 25 years, she has impacted the lives of hundreds of students as a music educator for the Bethpage School District, working at Kramer Lane Elementary, Bethpage High, and Central Avenue Elementary.
“Through her consistent support, encouragement and positive spirit, she opened my life to a brighter world of music, drama, connection and ultimately meaning,” former student Miguel Angel Almanzar wrote on her memorial page.
In honor of Deborah’s enduring legacy, the family has made a donation to the Bethpage Public Schools Music Department through a GoFundMe titled “Deborah Stehlik Memorial Music Fund.”
In two weeks of active fundraising, the Bethpage community raised $12, or 532 donations in Deborah’s name, well more than double the $5,000 goal.
Another former student, Alexander Andreades, wrote on the GoFundMe page: “I would like to thank Mrs. Strick for instilling in me a passion for music at an early age and for making I had enough opportunities to play the glockenspiel.”
“She will always be remembered.”
The Long Island American Orff School Association (LIAOSA, where Deborah taught) wrote an article praising Deborah’s passion as a music teacher as well as her character and spirit.
“The rippling effect of her expertise, passion and inspiration will continue to impact all of us fortunate enough to know and learn from her,” they wrote,
“The fingerprints in the hearts of countless people she touched cannot be lost.”
Not only does Deborah love music and her students, she also loves her 17-year-old daughter Sophia, whom her obituary calls Deborah’s “biggest pride” and LIOSA calls “her light of beauty” [Deborah] very proud. “
“Sophia followed in her mother’s footsteps and dedicated her life to the art of music. Deborah is incredibly proud of Sofia’s accomplishments,” reads the obituary.
She was also survived by her partner, Bill O’Keefe, and her mother, Linda Rubano, whom she met at another of her hobbies, CrossFit.
Those wishing to donate to the Deborah Stehlik Memorial Music Fund can do so here.
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