Peter Schmitt memorial draws crowd

The Nassau County Legislature's presiding officer, who died suddenly, is laid to rest as family, friends and colleagues bid him farewell. Videojournalist: Jim Staubitser (Oct. 8, 2012)

Dozens of mourners, from political leaders to thankful constituents, crowded into the Massapequa Park Funeral Home for a second day Sunday to pay their respects to Nassau Presiding Officer Peter J. Schmitt, 62, who died of a heart attack last week.

A church service is scheduled for 11 a.m. Monday at St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church in Massapequa. Flags will continue to fly at half-staff at county buildings through Tuesday in honor of Schmitt.

Among those paying their respects Sunday were State Sen. Kemp Hannon (R-Garden City) and Nassau Republican Chairman Joseph Mondello -- extending the list of political figures who paid tribute at Saturday's viewing, including County Executive Edward Mangano, his Democratic predecessor, Thomas Suozzi, and Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford).

"He was one of the most thorough, knowledgeable and frank people I've ever worked with," Hannon said Sunday. "This is a great loss for Nassau County and Long Island."

Lawrence Kadish, of Old Westbury, a Republican National committeeman who is also active in the Nassau GOP, said that Schmitt "is still alive because of his spirit, his dedication. Those things live on."

Kadish said Schmitt's death meant a "big loss" for the 19-member county legislature, on which the outspoken and candid lawmaker had served since its inception in 1996.

"Show him two cards and he knew the whole deck," Kadish said. ". . . We need more leaders with his courage."

On Friday, county officials called for a special election Nov. 6 to fill the remaining two years on Schmitt's 12th Legislative District seat, which represents Massapequa, Massapequa Park and portions of Seaford and North Massapequa.

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