Paul Brandon had only been retired from his job as a Nassau County civil engineer for a month when he found out he had bladder cancer last September.
But, even as he fought the disease that would take his life just four months later on Jan. 7, he did not complain, his wife said.
"He said, 'If it's my time, it's my time," said Linda Brandon. "I guess he felt like he did what he had to do while he was here."
Brandon was buried at Melville Cemetery earlier this month, his wife said.
Brandon, 57, of Massapequa, was born in Levittown to George and Carol Brandon. He went to Levittown Memorial High School before taking a job at about age 18 with the Nassau County Department of Public Works, his wife said. Over the next almost four decades, Brandon worked his way up to become a civil engineer, overseeing work crews on projects across the county. He was an exacting supervisor, but it earned him an outstanding reputation, his wife said.
"People always said he was going to get run over by a steam roller because he made them do a job three times," Linda Brandon said. "He would say, 'Well, you should have done it right the first time.' "
In his spare time, he loved to fix things for his neighbors, volunteer at his local civic association, and take friends out on his boat to see the sunset and the stars on the Great South Bay, his wife said. She said he never failed to stop for a driver with a flat tire. But when they moved aside to let him fix it, he would say, "No. I'm not going to fix your tire. I'm going to teach you how to fix it," Linda Brandon said.
Above anything else, though, Brandon took pride in the job he had done as a father, his wife said. His son, Patrick, 23, graduated from Johns Hopkins University, where he ran cross country, and is now a mechanical engineer. His daughter, Pamela, 22, is finishing her degree at St. Joseph's College in Patchogue where she is a starter on the soccer team, Linda said.
"The best time of our lives was watching our kids play sports," Linda Brandon said. "You don't realize [that] when you're doing it, but it is."
"I think that's why he was very accepting of his death when the time came," she said. "He said, 'I have two great kids, they're great people. I worked hard."
In addition to his wife and children, Brandon is survived by his mother, Carol Olsen of Hobe Sound, Fla., brothers George Brandon of West Palm Beach and Chris Brandon of Baltimore, and sister Melinda Fiorino of Malverne.
The family asks that any donations be made to the environmental nonprofit Operation SPLASH, P.O. Box 228 Freeport, N.Y., 11520.