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Sunnyside Luminary Lily Gavin has died

Lily Gavin at the Luke Adams Street Renaming

Lily Gavin at the Luke Adams Street Renaming

July 6, 2016 By Christian Murray

Lily Gavin, owner of the popular Sunnyside restaurant Dazies, passed away Wednesday morning at the age of 85.

Gavin, who had been ill for some, was a major advocate for Sunnyside for nearly 50 years. She became immersed in the neighborhood after opening her Italian restaurant at 39-41 Queens Blvd in the early 1970s.Dazies

“For decades, the name Lily Gavin has been synonymous with Sunnyside,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer in a statement. “Lily didn’t just own Dazies fine Italian restaurant on Queens Boulevard – she presided over it with love and care for all who dined there.”

Details of her passing are not yet known nor are the funeral arrangements.

She was a big force behind the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce where she was at one time the president. In that role, she helped revamp the Sunnyside Arch when it fell into disrepair more than a decade ago. She and the late Luke Adams worked with elected officials to raise $450,000 for its facelift.

Lily Gavin with Councilman Van Bramer and Gary O'Neil

Lily Gavin with Councilman Van Bramer and Gary O’Neill of Aubergine Cafe

She was an active supporter of the YMCA, the Sunnyside Senior Center, the Sunnyside Drum Corporation, the Boys & Girls Club and the Queens Council of Tourism. Gavin was typically a central figure in the Kiwanis Flag Day Parade in Sunnyside.

She sponsored many events, either financially or by providing her traditional Italian food.

Gavin, who resided in Forest Hills, was an active member of the wider Queens community.

She was an honorary director of the LaGuardia Community College Foundation and played a leadership role in its growth and development. She also fundraised for it.

“Lily was a force in just about every commercial, civic and political event in Sunnyside for so long, that few can remember a time before Lily and Dazies,” Van Bramer said.

Lily Gavin with Congressman Crowley

Lily Gavin with Congressman Crowley (Photo: Luke Adams)

Funeral Arrangements

Lynch’s Funeral Home
43-07 Queens Blvd
Sunnyside, NY 11104
Friday, July 8th, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Saturday, July 9th, 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM and 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Sunday, July 10th 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM and 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Funeral Mass
Queen of Martyrs
110-6 Queens Blvd
Forest Hills, NY.
Monday, July 11th at 10:30 AM

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Carmelo "J R" Velez

Saddened to hear of Lily’s passing. So many fond memories have been going around in my head since I heard the news. Lily’s generosity her infectious smile were a constant to myself my family and my friends. The many many gatherings at Dazies over the years and the added treat was when Lily was present.
With her amazing smile followed by an embrace dinner at Dazies was on! With thoughts and a lifetime of affection from my family to your family.
Love J R

Judy Zangwill

On behalf of Sunnyside Community Services, I would like to express my deepest condolences to Lily’s children and her extended family and indeed to all of us. For everyone loved Lily. Lily was a true class act who was always bringing groups of people together for great food and interesting conversations at her beloved Dazie’s. She always had a kind word to say about everyone. She cared deeply about the community and made a valuable contribution to so many groups in the community. Lily was a wonderful spokesperson for Sunnyside Community Services with a particular soft spot for our senior center. We will miss her deeply.

Judy Zangwill
Executive Director
Sunnyside Community Services


I’m going to have to stop by Dazies and have a meal soon. She sounds as if she were a wonderful person

El loco

Lilian Gavin Street should be 40th Street right next to her restaurant. Come on Jimmy lets do it!

Julie Travella

My dear Mother I can not express the void in my life now that you are gone . I pray that I can be half the woman that you are,
Love always

Kathy Giaimo

Lily had genuine sparkle and a passion for the community. I was privileged to know her through her service with Kiwanis and the Sunnyside Chamber. I am so sorry to read that she has left us. My condolences to her family.

Sean Crowley

First class lady, whose love of life is represented in all of her children. She will be missed.


Lilly of a kind…she treated everyone like family! There are not enough words to express my love for such a wonderful woman….my entire life and that of my children are filled with beautiful memories of this beautiful woman and her family …you will be missed lilly..but I know you will join sonny and all the old gang in heaven!!!!

Barbara Hayes

Rest in Peace and soar with the angel I love you. A great woman who did so much for so many. I was lucky to know you from when I was a little girl you were so loved by my family. And I see from everyone who knew you. My condolenses to your family.

Janice Velten and Pat Pfirmann

Lily was one of a kind. A true class act. So generous. A person who loved her community to the fullest. Need food for a fundraiser? No problem. Support for a cause? Lily would be there. To all the cynics out there…this woman was a gem. Social activist. Community organizer. Business entrepreneur. Kind hearted. A force of nature. Roll model for all. A woman that helped Sunnyside rise up and thrive. Lily, we will miss you dearly!


Lily will be missed. Our condolences to Ray and the family. Thank you for all of the wonderful memories.

Mary Caldwell

Sunnyside will never be the same. Lily will always be missed one of the nicest Ladies I know. Just like my mom was Mary Tweedy! My prayers for you and your Family Raymond.

Gabriella Aquilino

Thank you all for the beautiful comments being sent for my grandma and our angel lily Gavin


Lily was one of the kindest and sincere people I have ever met She always had a kind word and never had a negative word about anyone. You will be missed greatly peace and love in heaven


Get ready for Lillian Gavin Road. Lillian Gavin Way. Lillian Gavin Street. Lillian Gavin Road.

El loco

She probably deserves a little tribute in the neighborhood. Not a bad idea Joe. Thanks for the suggestion.


The world lost an angel today. A special person, the kind you are only going to meet once in a lifetime. God bless you lily, thank you for all you did for me and my family. You treated me like a son and it was an honor for me to know you and be considered family by you. My heart goes out to your sons, daughters, grandchildren, and all your loved ones. Rest in peace .


It is the end of an era. Lily Gavin and her restaurant Dazies led the Sunnyside business community from its nadir during the NYC fiscal crisis in the Seventies to a peak of self-govern/ng health we are struggling to hold on to today. May her example inspire today’s independent business leaders to wisely guide Sunnyside through the circumstances we face. Job well done Lily. Very well done. Thank you. We miss you already


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