Melvin Harris, a union representative, community leader and a former...

Melvin Harris, a union representative, community leader and a former aide to Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, seen on Aug. 22, 2013, died at home in Uniondale of a pulmonary embolism on Nov. 22, 2015. He was 50. Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

Melvin Harris, a union representative, community leader and a former aide to Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, died at home in Uniondale of a pulmonary embolism on Nov. 22. He was 50.

Harris, who was reared in Queens Village, graduated from Andrew Jackson High School in 1983. He went to work for the New York City Transit Authority in 1987 and joined the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1056, becoming chairman of the transit system's Queens Village depot in 2002. He later became the union's political director.

"He liked to help others, and he liked to write speeches," said his daughter, Melanie D. Harris of Atlanta.

In February, 2014, Mangano appointed Harris -- who had been his public liaison -- a member of the Nassau County Human Rights Commission.

"We remember Mel as a loving husband, devoted father, and a son to proud parents Nancy and Melvin," Mangano said in a statement. "Mel dedicated his life to serving others. From working for our great county, to advocating for individuals in various community-based organizations,"

Harris was president of the Hempstead chapter of the NAACP from 2012 to 2014.

"He was a great president of the Hempstead branch," said James Garner, the former mayor of the village. "I often called him the modern-day Martin Luther King Jr. when he gave speeches. He had that kind of flavor in his speech. His favorite quote was 'the fight is not over.' "

Harris served as president of the Nostrand Gardens Civic Association, the oldest such group in Uniondale, for five years and was president emeritus of it for the past two years.

"Mel was a mentor, a leader and a visionary and he worked tirelessly for the community," said Pearl Jacobs, who succeeded Harris as the group's leader.

In addition to Melanie Harris, he is survived by daughters Lataya A. Shackleford, and Kayla Harris, both of Uniondale.

A service will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Antioch Baptist Church in Hempstead, with burial to follow at Pinelawn Cemetery in Farmingdale.

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