Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce chairman Lawrence A. Kushnick, who was recently installed to the position, died unexpectedly Monday. He was 51.
Kushnick, a longtime Huntington resident, was remembered as a lawyer and businessman who dedicated an enormous amount of time to serving the community while being a loving and fun father, son and brother, said family, friends, and business associates Tuesday.
"He was a dynamic leader, a mentor to me, a dear friend and a huge advocate for the community," Robert Bontempi, immediate past chairman of the chamber of commerce, said Tuesday. "This is a great loss."
Kushnick, who was installed as chamber chairman May 21, had been expected at the group's annual golf outing Monday morning. When he didn't show up, colleagues became concerned and went to his home, where he was discovered unconscious. His younger sister, Beth Uebele, of Milford, Del., Tuesday said the family believes the cause of death was a heart attack.
"He was charismatic, he was fun, with a sense of humor you would not believe," Uebele said. "Just a wonderful person."
Born May 24, 1962, at Long Island Jewish Hospital in New Hyde Park, he was the third of four children and spent his first four years in Glen Oaks, Queens. The family moved to Greenlawn and he received an undergraduate degree from SUNY Oswego and a law degree from Touro Law School in Huntington. He founded the law firm Kushnick Pallaci PLLC, in Melville, which specialized in construction, commercial and real estate litigation and arbitration.
While he was a tireless advocate for his community, his top priority was his son, Jordan, 14.
"That boy was his No. 1 be all and end all," Uebele said.
His fiancee of three years, Jordana Fischer of Huntington, said Kushnick was a positive and loving man who always wanted to see people -- friend or foe -- happy.
Kushnick was a member of several nonprofit boards, including Splashes of Hope and Leadership Huntington. Bontempi said Kushnick was the guiding force behind the annual Long Island Fall Festival, a destination event each year that draws thousands.
"He was the glue that made the fall festival such an annual success, and the skills he honed organizing that signature Huntington event also were invaluable in putting together the first Huntington Station Unity in the Community fair several years ago," Huntington Town Supervisor Frank Petrone said.
Assemb. Andrew Raia (R-East Northport), a friend for 16 years, said Kushnick dedicated his life to improving issues important to Huntington.
"He realized he didn't have to do that as an elected official," Raia said, but accomplish it "through his legal career or through his participation with numerous not-for-profits."
In addition to his sister and son, Kushnick is survived by his parents, Martin and Janet of Greenlawn; and two other siblings.
A funeral will be held Wednesday at noon at Gutterman's, 8000 Jericho Tpke., in Woodbury. Burial will follow at Huntington Jewish Cemetery, Old Country Road, Huntington Station.