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Desmond Corrigan of New Hyde Park, 'go-to guy' who always helped others, dies at 56

Desmond Corrigan died Dec. 12 after suffering a

Desmond Corrigan died Dec. 12 after suffering a cardiac emergency. Credit: Courtesy Corrigan Family

If someone in Desmond Corrigan’s life left a cellphone unattended, he’d snap a silly selfie for the device’s owner to discover later.

If a sought-after toy was only available across state lines around Christmas, or someone needed help snagging concert tickets, "Des" was the man for the mission.

The New Hyde Park man also became the "go-to" guy for neighbors who needed help with tasks like clearing snow, carrying groceries or lifting anything heavy.

"I got this," the 56-year-old handyman would say.

The father of two died Dec. 12 after suffering a cardiac emergency around 6 p.m. while driving on the Southern State Parkway with his wife of 32 years, Nassau Supervising Judge Teresa Corrigan.

The judge said her husband, who worked as a manager at an area Lowe’s, complained he couldn’t see and then "blacked out" behind the wheel of her Hyundai Santa Fe.

It happened as they were heading east in the right lane between exits 20 and 21, and after another motorist who had been behind them cut them off and then slammed on the brakes twice after apparently believing her husband was driving too slowly, according to the judge.

She said she struggled to get the Santa Fe under control after his medical emergency began, using one of her hands on the brake while reaching up to try to steer with her other hand, before stopping them by crashing blindly into the shoulder guardrail.

The judge said she called 911 and started chest compressions on her husband before first responders took over upon their arrival, but he was pronounced dead an hour later at a hospital. A State Police spokesman said the crash remains under investigation. The judge said she believes the other motorist was driving recklessly but doesn't think that person is responsible for her husband's death.

A first-generation American born to Irish immigrants, Desmond Corrigan grew up in Astoria, Queens, where he went to school before getting a GED diploma.

The middle child of three siblings, Corrigan spent 27 years as the superintendent of garden apartments in Holliswood, Queens, before retiring from the job about five years ago.

It was a position that Corrigan’s sister, Teresa Cutler-Rosa, 57, of Yonkers, said he took over when their uncle retired. She described her brother as a devoted father whose kids "were his world" and who had lots of friends who loved him.

"If they needed something done, he was the man," she said of his willingness to help others.

Corrigan’s daughter, Samantha, 19, told mourners at her father’s wake that he’d been someone "always more concerned with others than himself," who taught her to work hard and supported the athletic endeavors of her and her brother, Matthew, 20.

Corrigan also didn’t sugarcoat things, according to his daughter.

"Whether that was the reason you loved him or hated him, you can’t deny that those little truths that he spoke stuck around forever," she said while eulogizing him.

The college student also recalled how her father gave her a list of 39 pieces of advice when she was moving into her dorm a year ago.

"Seek out the people and places that resonate with your soul," read one.

"Be less sugar, more spice, and only as nice as you’re able to without compromising," said another.

"Can’t is a cop-out," "Question everything, except your intuition," and "You have enough. You are enough," were on the list too.

And this: "Be happy and remember your roots, family is EVERYTHING."

Corrigan’s wife said her husband also gave her advice she holds close to her heart.

"He always reminded me: ‘I don’t care if you wear a robe. Don’t forget from where you came. Be true to yourself.’ And I take that with me to the bench every day," the judge said.

Corrigan’s other survivors include his parents, Peter J. Corrigan and Bridget Corrigan of Queens, and his brother, Peter Corrigan Jr. of Manhattan.

His family held a funeral service at the Church of the Holy Spirit in New Hyde Park on Dec. 19.

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