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Patrick Brosnahan dies; served in Navy for 39 years

In both official records and memories, Patrick Kevin Brosnahan will be remembered as a peacemaker.

Brosnahan, of Lindenhurst, died Tuesday at 87 after contracting an infection while hospitalized.

He served 39 years in the Navy, 12 of them on active duty. Thursday, his son, Patrick Kevin Brosnahan Jr. of West Islip and Babylon Village, said those years were "his proudest moment."

That service will be memorialized on Brosnahan's death certificate, his son said. The certificate will state his occupation as chief petty officer, a position he earned during tours in World War II and Korea. His job duty: "peacemaker."

Patrick Brosnahan Sr. was born in Manhattan and raised in Brooklyn. But in the height of the Great Depression, Brosnahan's parents couldn't afford to take care of him and his five younger siblings.

Brosnahan, his oldest three brothers and his lone sister were all sent to orphanages. His youngest brother, then an infant, was adopted by a cousin. They were later reunited.

Brosnahan and his brothers would all join the military.

In World War II, Brosnahan served on a ship in the Pacific Ocean during many of the major battles, his son said. At the war's end, Brosnahan was aboard a ship accompanying the USS Missouri, on which the Japanese surrendered in 1945.

After the war, Brosnahan worked in the U.S. Coast Guard for a year and then began a 37-year civilian career as a dockworker in Brooklyn and later as a maintenance supervisor at Kennedy Airport.

He was called back to active duty several times, though - he served on a destroyer in the Korean War and also during the Berlin Airlift and the Cuban Missile Crisis.

"Dad always prided himself on being an American, a person who believed in God, who believed in his family," the younger Brosnahan said.

Long after he left the Naval Reserves in 1983, Brosnahan regaled friends with war stories, said Joe Ayala, his next-door neighbor for decades.

Another friend, Pete Flynn, remembered Brosnahan's love of Irish culture and his easygoing personality.

"He was a great person, a great family man," Flynn said. "And if you didn't know him, you'd get to know him in a few minutes."

In addition to his son, Brosnahan is survived by three brothers, John Brosnahan of San Diego, Donald Brosnahan of San Diego, and Jerry Brosnahan Cooney of Boca Raton, Fla.; and one sister, Anne Marie Dikeman of Miami Beach, Fla. His wife and two other children are deceased.

Viewing will continue Friday from 2 to 4:30 p.m. and from 7 to 9 p.m. at Chapey & Sons Funeral Home, 1225 Montauk Hwy., West Islip. A Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, 210 S. Wellwood Ave., Lindenhurst.

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