Matt Crosson's widow, Elaine, and son, Daniel, 13, who is...

Matt Crosson's widow, Elaine, and son, Daniel, 13, who is holding a flag presented by a state courts unit, attend a memorial in Brookville. (Feb. 3, 2011) Credit: Newsday/Audrey C. Tiernan

About 300 people - some of New York State's top judges, political figures, business leaders and academicians, paused for two hours Thursday to celebrate the life of Matt Crosson, the former Long Island Association president who died in December at age 61 just as he was beginning a new career as head of the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce.

Crosson had suffered a stroke a few months before he died.

With his widow,Elaine, and his 13-year-old son, Daniel, sitting onstage in the Tilles Center at the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University in Brookville, the New York State Courts Ceremonial Unit and the New York State Courts Pipe & Drum Band performed. Crosson had been chief administrator for the New York State Unified Court System when he was named LIA president in 1993. The Crossons lived in Lloyd Harbor until he began at the Las Vegas chamber in April.

New York State Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, who worked with Crosson, recalled Crosson's button-down manner and his trademark Brooks Brothers dark suits and white shirts. But his demeanor belied a warm personality and a wry sense of humor, Lippman said.

"Matt was so focused many people didn't get to know the human being," Lippman said.

Sol Wachtler, former chief judge of the New York Court of Appeals, who appointed Crosson chief court administrator in 1989, credited Crosson with playing a large role in implementing the State Court Facilities Act, which mandated a cleanup and modernization of all the state's courthouses.

Current LIA president Kevin Lawsaid the Island owed Crosson "a debt of gratitude" for his fight for affordable housing on the Island and for cementing ties between the business and education community.

Elaine Crosson thanked those in attendance for coming to "celebrate Matt's life." She said she and her son would be moving back to Lloyd Harbor.

"It's good to be home," she said.

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