Long-time Poverello Center volunteer and community staple George Hymowitz passed away on March 15. He was 89 years old.
He is survived by his partner of 42 years, Ken Fountaine. The two met in Brooklyn and would eventually move down to Florida. While still in New York, Hymowitz started the Gay Fathers group that is still around today. He was also founder of SAGE of Broward County, and served in the early years of PFLAG.
“We moved down here in 1995. At the time, we were told about Poverello, and we decided to volunteer our time there. George volunteered there five days a week,” Fountaine told SFGN.
Poverello was one of the few places that were around in the 90s. It needed people who were business savvy, which Hymowitz qualified for, having been a CPA in another life.
“He was a perfect fit for Poverello,” Fountaine said. “He continued on and volunteered all the way up until he was hospitalized.” Hymowitz went to the hospital in January after a fall.
Hymowitz’s strongest trait was honesty, Fountaine said.
“I’ve never met anyone with so much integrity. In the 20 plus year he worked at Poverello, he never got paid — you could count on one hand the times he took leave.”
Hymowitz served during WWII. The honor guard at his funeral recognized Fountaine as his partner, and the flag was presented to him, although Hymowitz’s former wife and children were present at the New York March 18 ceremony.
After years of volunteering in different agencies across the region, local activist Andy Eddy met Hymowitz.
“I got to know George and befriended him. Although retired, George spent day after day volunteering at the Poverello Food and Nutrition Center. While many volunteers came and went George remained dedicated to his task even in his later days when he was not in the best of health,” Eddy told SFGN. “I often visited Poverello and reflect on the fact that he had his desk at the Center until his passing. George was a loyal and dedicated man and one of those caring individuals that our community can be proud of even though men like George can appear invisible to those not so involved.”
To Eddy, “George is an example of one of the many dedicated and caring volunteer heroes we often hear so little about but who make a world of difference to those in need in a time when others could care less.”