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Virginia Datre, Brentwood schools employee, dies at 89

As a secretary and purchasing agent in the Brentwood school district, Virginia Datre was known for getting things done. The word in the district for years was to call Virginia if you needed anything.

Her family said it was the same with her household.

Datre usually prepared family meals in advance and for years drove her husband, Thomas, to the Brentwood train station at 5 a.m. so he could get to his welding job at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

"We only had one car," said her daughter, Michelle Infante of Islip Terrace. "She just did all the little things to make it work."

Virginia Datre, who moved to Brentwood in 1957, raised a family and helped raise a school district, died April 25 of breast cancer. She was 89 and also lived in an adult community in Islip and for the last year with her daughter in Islip Terrace.

Born in New York City, she married Thomas Datre of Brooklyn in 1945. They lived in Brooklyn with their three children until 1957, when they moved to Brentwood.

Datre landed a cafeteria job with the young school district, but because of her experience as a secretary before marriage, she soon was working in administration, in an office setting.

She deftly juggled professional and home chores, her daughter said, sometimes working weekends and often stuffing staff payroll checks into envelopes by hand. She retired in 1978.

She also was active in civic and church groups, including the Brentwood Senior Citizens Club and St. Anne's Roman Catholic Church in Brentwood.

A loving mother, Datre also had a tough, durable side. "When she was diagnosed with breast cancer, doctors told her she had six months to live," her daughter said. "She fooled them, though, and lived 18 months more."

In addition to her daughter, Datre is survived by sons Thomas Datre Sr. of Hauppauge and Richard Datre, of Islip Terrace; eight grandchildren, and 13 great grandchildren. Her husband died in 1993.

A funeral Mass was celebrated April 29 in St. Peter The Apostle Church, Islip Terrace, followed by burial in St. Charles Cemetery, East Farmingdale.

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