New Hyde Park Village trustee Donald Barbieri died Friday morning after a yearslong battle with multiple sclerosis, village officials said. He was 58.
Barbieri was a lifelong village resident and served as a board trustee for 18 years. Village officials were grieving and in shock about Barbieri’s passing, Mayor Lawrence Montreuil said Friday.
Montreuil called Barbieri a compassionate man who was loved by many, and said that as a trustee he often played devil’s advocate during issue discussions at board meetings.
“When debating taking an action, Donnie made the village board look through the eyes of a proverbial resident named ‘Mrs. Jones,’ so that we all considered the worst possible impact to the most vulnerable person,” Montreuil said.
Montreuil said Barbieri’s disease never deterred him from serving village residents.
“He had tremendous pride in our village, and despite dealing with constant pain and discomfort, worked very hard to make it a better place for each and every person,” Montreuil said.
Bill Cutrone, president of the Lakeville Estates Civic Association in New Hyde Park, said he didn’t know Barbieri well but remembered him as a pleasant man who loved what the civic association was doing on the north end of the village.
“It’s very sad to hear,” Cutrone said, adding that Barbieri was an inspiration. “I’m more saddened for his family than anything.”
Barbieri has been credited with facilitating many positive changes in New Hyde Park, including the makeover of a stretch of Jericho Turnpike that runs through the village.
“The brick inlaid sidewalks, landscaped bulb-outs and center medians would not exist today if it was not for Donnie’s incredible persistence,” Montreuil said.
Details about Barbieri’s funeral arrangements have not been announced.