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Retail veteran Berkell dies

Plainview, NY — Sylvia Berkell, former chairwoman of retailer Curtains & Home, Inc., passed away on Jan. 14. after a long illness.

Berkell was the wife of the late Bernard Berkell. The husband and wife tandem had started the now defunct Curtains & Home, a retailer of window and bedroom fashions, as well as Highway Textiles and Times Square Stores.

"She was very well respected and one tough businesswoman," said Edward Levine, a former merchandise manager for Curtains & Home. "She had a great, great eye for fashion and wasn't hesitant to say to anyone — president, designers, ceos — what she thought of a line or coloration. She was a very interesting individual."

Wendy Keryk, president of Richloom Home Fashions' window division, characterized Berkell as "decisive," "visionary" and "a tough act to follow."