Known around his hometown of Mount Kisco as a tireless community servant who helped countless citizens battling alcoholism, drug addiction and homelessness, Melvin “Mel” Berger will be truly missed. He peacefully passed away on Oct. 6.
Born on June 28, 1938, Mel grew up in the middle-class Bronx enclave of Pelham Parkway, as the eldest of four sons to George and Elaine Berger. He and his brother Stuart studied pharmacy at Columbia University and soon opened a series of small pharmacies around Westchester County.
Mel settled in Hartsdale where he helped raise his three sons, Michael, Craig and Jonathan. He first came to Mount Kisco as a co-owner of Mount Kisco Pharmacy, a business he would ultimately run and own by himself for over two decades. After a divorce, he moved to Mount Kisco where he met and partnered with Cheri Nowell, and helped raise her two young children, Megan and Bob, as his own.
He would remain a proud Mount Kisco resident for the rest of his life. As a local pharmacist, he saw first-hand the negative effects of drug and alcohol abuse in his community and founded Mount Kisco’s Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention Council. Consequently, he helped pioneer the successful drug court to divert young drug and alcohol offenders away from prison and into recovery programs. Later, he would collaborate with local places of worship to create the Emergency Shelter Partnership to provide winter shelter to the area’s growing homeless population, many of whom were laborers from Central America who couldn’t find work in the colder months.
Mel was so loved and respected in the community that his children often joked that he was the unofficial mayor of Mount Kisco. In addition to his passion for community service, he was an avid fan of classic country music and his beloved New York Mets.
He is survived by his five children and eight grandchildren.