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Long IslandObituaries

Westbury politician Paul Echausse, 85, dies

Paul Echausse, former Westbury Village trustee and deputy

Paul Echausse, former Westbury Village trustee and deputy mayor, is seen in an undated, handout photo. Photo Credit: Handout

For a time in Westbury, you could not miss the Echausse siblings on the campaign trail, canvassing for their father Paul, the village's longtime deputy mayor and trustee.

For starters, there were eight of them. "It was like a mini-army," explained son Patrick Echausse, of Mineola.

"They would joke about all of us," he added. "It's like he had his own political action committee in the 1970s."

Paul Echausse died Tuesday at age 85 of cancer, family said.

Echausse, a staple of Westbury government, quickly rose through village ranks. In 1975, he joined the zoning board of appeals, and in 1979 began a 28-year tenure as village trustee, the majority of which was spent as deputy mayor, according to the village.

"He loved Westbury," said another son Paul Echausse, of Glen Head. "He viewed politics in the old-fashioned way, that government can be a source of good, and being a local politician is probably the most honorable position you can have."

Mineola was where he was born and raised, and later, got his start in politics, working with local Republican groups.

His children said that he met his future wife, Joan Crampton, then of Great Neck, at a Republican function -- a cocktail party at the Garden City Hotel.

He joined the Navy in August 1945, his sons said, freshly graduated from Mineola High School.

He was discharged honorably in 1948, family said, but was called back when the Korean War began.

Stints in the service interrupted his schooling at Hofstra University, where he juggled a day job at the post office and night classes. He graduated in 1954, and in 1958 he got married.

With service and school behind him, Echausse began a two-decade career representing pharmaceutical companies. Later, in the 1970s, his family said, he became a hospital administrator and purchasing agent for Nassau County.

Working at what was then the Nassau County Medical Center, his family said, Echausse was a short trip from where his children played basketball and baseball, and was often there ready with sharp, but comforting ripostes.

After one Little League game, son Patrick Echausse said he was frustrated with his performance, in which he was both pitcher and batter. During the final play, he recalled, he grounded into a double play. His father, attempting to numb the blow, rose up from the bleachers.

"Patrick, don't worry," he said, to a crowd of nearly 50, according to Patrick Echausse. "Pitchers aren't supposed to hit."

"At your lowest time," Patrick Echausse said, "he would find something funny to make you laugh."

In addition to his sons and wife, Echausse is survived by daughters Mary Ellen Mormile, of Huntington; Nancy Echausse, of Mineola; Elizabeth Loder, of Westfield, N.J.; sons Peter Echausse, also of Westfield; Timothy and Brian Echausse, both of Westbury; a brother, Victor Echausse, of Ocala, Fla.; and 16 grandchildren.

A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Saturday at St. Brigid's Roman Catholic Church, in Westbury, where Echausse was a volunteer and usher. Westbury Village has ordered flags flown at half-staff at village facilities.

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