Saturday, Aug. 16, 2008 | 2 a.m.
When Alice Goldberg came to work as a receptionist and operator for the Las Vegas Sun in 1955, the feisty transplanted New Yorker saw her duties as much more than greeting customers and answering phones.
The older sister of Sun Publisher Hank Greenspun would carefully read the newspaper and would not hesitate to scold proofreaders and editors for missing grammatical errors and misspellings.
And she was not shy about marching into the composing room and reading those workers the riot act if the copy and ads were not crisply laid out.
“She drove Hank out of his mind,” said Goldberg’s daughter, Renee Johnson of Las Vegas. “He would tell her she could not go into a union shop and do that, and she would tell him she had to because they were doing it all wrong.
“Hank got so frustrated arguing with her he would run to his office and hide.”
Alice Greenspun Goldberg, a one-time opera singer and fashion hat designer who became a leading supporter of Jewish causes in Las Vegas, died Friday at Sunrise Hospital. She was 100.
Services will be at 11 a.m. Sunday at Palm Downtown Mortuary. Interment will be in Woodlawn Cemetery alongside her husband, Harry Goldberg, who died in 1991.
Alice Goldberg was the last to survive of three siblings of Hank Greenspun, who died in 1989. Greenspun’s widow, Barbara, is the Sun’s publisher.
“Alice was a proud and independent woman and someone who loved music and song,” Barbara Greenspun said. “So in the spirit of Frank Sinatra I must say, Alice ‘did it her way.’ ”
Johnson said her mother was vibrant to the end, cracking jokes and maintaining a high spirit.
“She used to tell people, ‘I was born on George Washington’s birthday, but he was just a couple of years older than me,’ ” Johnson said.
In August 1991, Goldberg gave a $300,000 endowment to the Jewish Federation of Las Vegas for construction of the Dr. Harry and Alice Goldberg Senior Center in Las Vegas.
Goldberg was born Feb. 22, 1908, in Montreal and came with her family to the United States when she was 4 months old. The family settled in New York.
Goldberg, who became a U.S. citizen when her father became a naturalized American citizen, was self-educated.
She developed an interest in music early on, playing the piano and singing in community operas and in the choir of Temple Beth El in Great Neck, Long Island.
For several years, Goldberg hosted the radio show “Gateway to Opera” on WQXR in New York.
She married her voice coach, noted tenor Raoul Querze, who encouraged her to perform in professional opera productions including “Rigoletto.” Goldberg sang in eight languages.
She was married to Querze for 18 years.
Goldberg also designed hats for Lilly Dache and made intricate sketches of models in high-fashion clothing designs she developed to accent hercreations, Johnson said.
Goldberg moved to Las Vegas in 1955 and went to work for the Sun, where she also sold classified ads.
She married Dr. Harry Goldberg in 1973, and the couple dedicated many volunteer hours to organizations including the Jewish Federation, B’nai B’rith, the Community Concert Association and the Women’s American Organization for Rehabilitation Through Training.
The two were named Couple of the Year by the Women’s American ORT in 1990.
Alice Goldberg performed in the choir at Temple Beth Sholom and was a past president of the local chapter of Hadassah, a women’s group that supports Israel. She also supported United Jewish Appeal and the purchase of Israel bonds.
In her spare time, Goldberg was a painter who worked primarily with watercolors.
In addition to her daughter and sister-in-law, Goldberg is survived by another daughter, Barbara Weinreich of Orlando, Fla.; a son-in-law, Hugh Johnson of Las Vegas; eight grandchildren; 20 great-grandchildren; and one great-great grandson.