Jan Senecal, first employee at North Shore University Hospital, dies

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Jan Senecal, the first employee at North Shore University Hospital (NSUH) and who, in retirement, remained active as a volunteer, has died. She was 92

Ms. Senecal, who grew up in Old Westbury, was hired and worked out of a school building in Great Neck before the hospital was even completed. North Shore Hospital opened in 1953 and Ms. Senecal remained there until her retirement in 1994.

Yet Ms. Senecal never really left NSUH, volunteering soon after her retirement and becoming a key figure there. She accumulated nearly 4,000 volunteer hours until stepping away in 2016. She died March 13 at Ozanam Hall Nursing Home in Bayside, Queens.

“Jan Senecal was employee No. 1. That really was her number,” said Ralph Nappi, executive vice chair of Northwell Health board of trustees. “She was a gentle human being and a wonderful employee who really set an example for others.”

Ms. Senecal began her North Shore career as personnel assistant and rose to personnel director before taking jobs within the hospital’s medical education program working closely with residents. In retirement, Ms. Senecal served on the board of the North Shore University Auxiliary, the volunteer organization tied to the hospital.

She first began volunteering at the hospital’s Don Monti Cancer Center reception desk, helping to direct patients, visitors, and employees. In 1996, she delivered books and magazines to patients. In 2008, she became the liaison for the junior volunteers.

“Jan was very dedicated to North Shore University Hospital first as an employee and personnel director, then worked in the dean’s office guiding new Residents,” said Lisa Breiman, director of volunteer services at NSUH. “She loved talking with patients and guiding our Junior Volunteers.”

Funeral services will be held Sunday, March 17, from 2-6 p.m. at Doyle B Shaffer Funeral Home in Little Neck. A funeral mass is scheduled for Monday, March 18 at 9:45 a.m. at St. Aloysius Roman Catholic Church in Great Neck.

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