During his first five months as a parish priest, the Rev. Andrew Garnett officiated at more than two dozen funerals. The one over which he presided on Nov. 18 was different.
The deceased was his father, Edward John Garnett, of East Norwich.
Garnett, an attorney who coached many of his children’s sports teams, died of kidney failure on Nov. 14 at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset. He was 60.
Andrew Garnett, 27, associate pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Church in West Islip, said the possibility that he would officiate at his father’s funeral had been apparent since he was ordained in June.
“He had been sick for a while, so it was sort of in the back of my mind,” Garnett said. About 40 fellow priests attended the service at St. Dominic Roman Catholic Church in Oyster Bay to support the young priest.
Garnett said he struggled to contain his emotions, especially as he said the words, “Now we come to the last farewell.”
“The funeral Mass was very emotional,” he said. “I got through it.”
Edward Garnett was born on Dec. 2, 1954, in the Huguenot section of Staten Island and graduated from Tottenville High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Fordham University and a law degree from Brooklyn Law School.
On March 13, 1982, Garnett married his wife, the former Ann Marie Kelchburg, who survives him, and together they raised four children. Garnett coached his sons’ basketball and soccer teams, and he often prepared family meals.
“He loved to cook,” Andrew Garnett said, adding he learned from his father “to have a generous heart and to have a sense of humor about life.”
The elder Garnett enjoyed running, playing golf and being a member of the Knights of Columbus.
He became a partner in 1989 at the Valley Stream law firm founded two years earlier by John Riconda. The firm handles negligence and real estate cases. Riconda said Garnett was a “great guy to work with, very trustworthy. . . . He was the right partner to have.”
Garnett continued to work almost until the day he died, despite receiving kidney dialysis several days a week, Riconda said. Garnett worked from home or had someone drive him to the office.
Andrew Garnett said his father took on difficult cases, often involving indigent clients in dire straits.
“He fought for the underprivileged,” he said.
In addition to his wife and son Andrew, Garnett is survived by a daughter, Elizabeth Ann Teixeira, of Sound Beach; two sons, Edward John Garnett of Washington, D.C., and Christopher Thomas Garnett of East Norwich; a brother, William Garnett of Tottenville; and two grandchildren. He was buried at St. Charles Cemetery in East Farmingdale.