An undated handout photo of Paul Van Brunt (right).

An undated handout photo of Paul Van Brunt (right). Credit: Handout

When he was growing up in East Meadow, Paul Van Brunt was well-known around town for his love of cars and engines.

He later got a private pilot's license, owned several planes and flew to the Caribbean, Canada and around the United States several times a year to lecture automotive students on transmissions, his family said.

Van Brunt, 56, was fatally injured Oct. 7 when his ultralight aircraft crashed on landing at the airstrip on his property in Warrensburg, near Lake George, where he moved about 20 years ago.

"He lived 10 lives in one lifetime," his brother, Frank Van Brunt of Hicksville, said. "He was not a risk-taker, but he escaped death several times before. I was looking at the log book he kept of his flights and saw an entry: 'flying next to a flock geese and they didn't even look at me.'"

Born in Rockville Centre, Van Brunt grew up in East Meadow and delivered Newsday to area homes in the late 1960s.

He was a 1973 graduate of East Meadow High School.

"His real love was fixing car engines. We grew up in the 1970s and everybody was into cars. I blew out the engine in my car and he fixed it. He picked up the nickname 'Speedo,' and he even had it put on a license plate. The family still has it," his brother said of the vanity plate.

After high school Van Brunt want to work for Northwest Airlines, but left that job and moved to the Lake George area after meeting and marrying his wife, Ellen Keath.

He had most recently been a transmission mechanic and diagnostic specialist in a facility across the state border in Vermont.

Van Brunt is also survived by sons William and Luke of Warrensburg and stepson Wade Moulton, Jr. of Glens Falls.

On Long Island, he is survived by his mother, Elsie, and brother Gregory, both of East Meadow, and a sister, Linda Collins of Huntington.

His body was cremated after a memorial service upstate last week.

Another memorial service will be held 2 p.m. Sunday at Bellmore Funeral Home, 2340 Jerusalem Ave. in North Bellmore, his family said.

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