Edith Embler died June 2, 2010 of pancreatic cancer in...

Edith Embler died June 2, 2010 of pancreatic cancer in her Coram home, family said. She was 70. Newsday's obituary for Edith Embler
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Edith Embler talked little about her life passions - affordable housing, women's rights, reading and figure skating. That wasn't her style.

"She didn't say much if she didn't have to," Mike Embler, 46, of Manhattan, said of his mother. What she did is live her passions. "That would be the life lesson she left me, to live your passions."

Edith Embler, a former executive director of the Huntington Housing Authority and community activist, died Wednesday of pancreatic cancer in her Coram home, family said. She was 70.

For many years, securing housing for economically disadvantaged Huntington residents was her priority, her son said. She worked for the authority for 18 years, including eight as director, until retiring in 1998.

She also was active in the League of Women Voters, serving as Huntington chapter president and director for the Suffolk County and Brookhaven chapters.

As a child, Mike Embler remembers marching in parades and showing up at protest rallies with his mother as she championed ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. "When I was growing up she wore a bracelet with 'ERA' engraved on it," he said. "She wasn't going to take it off till the ERA passed."

He said the bracelet finally broke off, sometime in the 1980s after several states had ratified versions of the ERA, which did not gain enough states' approval to be added to the Constitution.

Privately, she enjoyed reading, particularly mysteries, and figure skating. She was a reviewer for a mystery newsletter under the name Eden Embler for years, and later, when she became a figure skating fan, she and her husband, Thomas Embler, traveled extensively in the United States and Europe to competitions.

Mike Embler said his mother's effort helping low-income families get affordable housing probably was tied to her childhood. Her father had worked for companies in various financial capacities, and that caused the family to move frequently. Besides New York, she lived in California, Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana.

In addition to her son and her husband, also of Coram, she is survived by a daughter, Maura Embler of Woburn, Mass., and five grandchildren.

Visitation is at Marinello Funeral Home, Coram, Saturday and Sunday. A funeral Mass will be celebrated 10:30 a.m. Monday at St. Francis Cabrini Church, Coram. Remains will be cremated.

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