Paul Breschard, who led the charge to Mastic Beach forming as a village before briefly becoming its inaugural mayor, has died. He was 66.
Mayor Maura Spery on Wednesday called Breschard, whose cause of death wasn’t immediately known, a worthy adversary who will be missed.
“He worked tirelessly for the betterment of the Mastic Beach community and was a loved educator,” Spery said. “We didn’t agree on many things but I have a great deal of respect for him. He was always honest and forthright.”
On Aug. 30, 2010, residents voted 1,797 to 1,385 to separate themselves from Brookhaven and form as a government.
Months later, Breschard was elected inaugural mayor of Mastic Beach, saying that becoming a village would help keep taxes low.
But he quit halfway through his term, citing health concerns. Two years later Breschard unsuccessfully ran for the trustee board.
In an interview last year, Breschard said the committee that helped promote incorporation started in his living room with six others eager to clean up blighted properties and go after illegal renters.
He said he envisioned Mastic Beach first and foremost as a code enforcement village, fining illegal renters and landlords, and allowing Brookhaven Town to continue offering basic town services such as road maintenance.
“Mastic Beach was a beautiful beach community which had fallen on hard times,” Breschard said at the time. “We felt our problems were too big for the town to tend to by itself.”
Village trustee Joseph Johnson met Breschard at Willam Floyd High School, where he was taught 10th grade English.
“I’ve always known him as a teacher. He was a great man who gave everything he had. The entire community became his classroom,” Johnson said.
Friends of Breschard, including Barbara Kruk, 65, say he should be remembered as a 34-year educator in the William Floyd school district. Friends say Breschard graduated from William Floyd High School as valedictorian before going directly to West Point.
Visiting hours at Roma Funeral Home, 539 Willam Floyd Pkwy. in Shirley, are Wednesday and Thursday from 2 to 4 p.m., and Friday from 9 to 11 a.m.
Burial services will be private.