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Mechanic, businessman Nicholas Brett dies

Nicholas Brett, a businessman, auto mechanic and World

Nicholas Brett, a businessman, auto mechanic and World War II Navy seaman, died of natural causes Aug. 21, 2012 at the Long Island State Veterans Home at Stony Brook University. He was 85. Newsday's obituary for Nicholas Brett
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Nicholas Brett, 85, a businessman, auto mechanic and World War II Navy seaman, died of natural causes Aug. 21 at the Long Island State Veterans Home at Stony Brook University.

Brett, a resident of Port Jefferson since early childhood, joined the Navy right out of high school in 1944. He was discharged as a boatswain's mate 2nd class, and received the World War II Victory and the American Theatre medals.

"He returned to Long Island and opened his own businesses, Nick's Taxi in Port Jefferson, and, later, Nick's Esso gas and service station in Port Jefferson Station," said his daughter, Cynthia Mannino of Ithaca.

Brett's family said it was about this time, in the late 1940s, that he met Louise Gniazdowski, who worked as a soda jerk in a drugstore.

"She was the love of his life," Mannino said, and they were married Dec. 1, 1956, at Infant Jesus Roman Catholic Church in Port Jefferson.

They took sort of a two-year honeymoon, traveling across the country in a 1955 Buick convertible, pulling a trailer. He worked various jobs as a mechanic and pumping gas along the way, family members said.

The couple settled in Port Jefferson to raise their family.

Brett drove a truck awhile for two sand and gravel companies, and then for more than 20 years worked at LI Comfort Home Heating Co., "where he was respected as the top mechanic until his retirement," said his daughter-in-law, Natalie Brett of Port Jefferson.

Brett and his wife, who was at his bedside when he died, were communicants at Infant Jesus Church, where he ushered for many years and was active at church events, the family said.

"He enjoyed boating with his family and going to dances at the Polish Hall with his wife," Mannino said.

Survivors also include daughters Louise Cash and MaryAnn Spence, both of Port Jefferson; two sons, Nicholas E. of Los Angeles and Jeffrey of Port Jefferson; a sister, Cathleen Berkmeir of Medford; two brothers, John of Port Jefferson and Robert of Selden; 15 grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

A Mass at Infant Jesus Church preceded burial at Cedar Hill Cemetery in Port Jefferson.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that friends consider a contribution to the Long Island State Veterans Home, Community Relations, 110 Patriots Rd., Stony Brook, NY 11790.

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