Some people believed Thomas Hayden never stopped being the mayor of Floral Park.
The former mayor died May 1 at home in the village, surrounded by his four sons, after a monthslong battle with bladder cancer. He was 83.
Hayden had served on the Floral Park village board from 1980 to 1982 and as mayor for two terms, from 1983 to 1987. A son, Floral Park Village Justice Douglas Hayden, said village officials and others always looked to his father for advice. "He was a man who believed in the place he lived in, where he raised his family," Douglas Hayden said. "He always served the people and put the interests of the village first."
Thomas Hayden grew up in Bellerose, Queens, and moved to Floral Park with his family after high school. He served in the Army from 1952 to 1954 but remained stateside during the Korean War.
Hayden graduated from St. John's University, then went to work for the NYNEX telephone company, which is now Verizon, for 41 years.
Douglas Hayden said his father was asked to seek public office earlier but wanted to spend time with family and waited until his children were grown.
He also turned down running for a third term and requests to run for higher office, his son said. But Hayden was a frequent consultant to other village officials and elected representatives. He assisted with Assemb. George Farrell's campaign and remained in close contact with the village trustees, Douglas Hayden said.
Hayden also remained involved in the community. He was a devout member of the Our Lady of Victory Church, where he received the St. Agnes Medal of Service Award. He was also chairman of Our Lady of Victory school's Million Dollar Endowment Drive, which started in 1977. He founded the church's Catholic Youth Organization program.
Hayden was a past chairman of the Floral Park Centennial Committee and a Memorial Day parade grand marshal. He was also past president of the Floral Park Kiwanis Club and member of the village American Legion and Knights of Columbus.
Douglas Hayden said his father was proud of his 22-year weekly column in the Floral Park Gateway newspaper, which looked back on the village's history.
Also surviving are three other sons, Thomas, Kevin, and James; a sister, Dorothy; 10 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife, Carolyn, and a sister, Margarite.
Services were held May 5 at Thomas F. Dalton Funeral Home in Floral Park. He was buried at the Cemetery of the Holy Rood in Westbury.