Writer: ‘Terrible’ decision to remove Ava Dorfman’s name from senior center


I was very concerned after hearing about the decision that was made by the Board of Directors of the Ava Dorfman Senior Center. I sent a letter to Ms. Susan Streeter and the board. I received no reply. After all of the hard work Ava Dorfman put into the Center, I feel it was a terrible thing to remove her name. The Center was her life. I just want the people of Rome to be aware of the injustice that was done.

I told them I was appalled when I learned of their decision on the Center. I managed to secure a copy of the explanation of how the decision was made. I am a former Roman, a former member of the board and a former friend of Ava Dorfman and her husband, Milton.

I don’t object to changing the mission of the Center to include younger baby boomers in the membership but I resent the name change. Previously they were always included when I was on the board. We had various activities and trips especially for those who enjoyed traveling. It certainly was not a place for old people sitting in rocking chairs as indicated. 

I said in my letter it seems that you are not aware of the type of programs that you could offer again. Please look into OASIS in Syracuse sponsored by Upstate Hospital and Macy’s for anyone over 55 who as you say needs a place where “friendships are made and grown”.

My complaint is the changing of the name. Ava was a dear friend of my husband’s family for years and then my family. She spent every holiday with us in her older years. I feel you made a very poor decision deleting her name. She was a woman with vision and went to Washington D.C. to secure federal funds to start the center. Once the building was built she was there every day to oversee the activities. I don’t know if you know anything about her past. Her family was in a concentration camp where she lost her mother and sister. I believe because of her strong will, she survived.

She was a wonderful lady and always interested in attempting to make life better for others. I was dumbfounded when I heard about the decision to remove her name, especially when I heard who was on the board. Thank you for listening.

— Nancy Trela Keoghan,



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I do agree. I was surprised and also saddened. Ava Dorfman was a tough, dedicated and strong willed woman. Our City has a habit of tearing up stuff “ they” don’t always like. Oh, some of the people love looking at the old pics on Facebook but to actually maintain a significant memorial here ( especially for a woman) is unheard of.

Friday, March 15