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Legislator Peter Schmitt Laid To Rest

Family and friends recall a dedicated public official and a loving family man

In the church where Peter Schmitt and his wife Lois were married 38 years ago, family, friends, residents and elected officials gathered to remember the longtime legislator from Massapequa, who died suddenly on Oct. 3. A funeral mass was held on Oct. 8 at St. Rose of Lima Church on Merrick Road, before the longtime Nassau County Legislator was laid to rest at Grace Cemetery, just a few hundred yards east of the church.

“Peter Schmitt will truly be missed, will always be remembered, and will never be replaced,” said Congressman Peter King who spoke at the funeral.

King recalled Schmitt as a man who fought hard for his beliefs and his constituents, and was always honest and direct. In doing so, King said that Schmitt was not afraid to offend the media when fighting for the people he represented. In fact, King joked that he referred to Schmitt as “Mr. Congeniality,” and although he used the term facetiously, he says it was quite appropriate.

“He really was a congenial guy,” King said. “I never knew anyone who was more approachable or who enjoyed giving a helping hand to those who needed it.”

Schmitt’s daughter, Samantha, expressed similar sentiments. She spoke lovingly about her father, and said that despite the gruff exterior that he sometimes presented, Schmitt was a gentle, caring man.

“He may have acted tough, but deep down he was a huge teddy bear,” she said.

Samantha also recalled him as being extremely devoted to his family. She spoke of how her parents met while they were both in college, and 40 years later, they remained best friends, who would walk down a street together holding hands. Samantha also said that she had never seen her father as happy as he was when he would spend time with his only grandson, Logan, even though it was a side to him that the public didn’t always see. In fact, she said that although he loved going into the office, the one thing that could keep him away was his family, and two days before died, Schmitt took the day off to spend time with his grandson. Samantha said that she is very grateful that her father and her son had that one final opportunity to be together.

“I love you Dad,” she concluded, as she spoke through tears.

Associate Pastor, Lachlan T. Cameron, conducted the funeral mass. During the mass, he offered words of assurance to Schmitt’s family. He also had kind words for Schmitt’s widow and said he could easily understand how the couple remained so deeply in love for so many years.

“Lois, I see the graciousness that Peter loved and cherished all the years of your life,” he said to her.

Peter Schmitt was born in 1950. He attended St. Anne’s School in Garden City, Sewanhaka High School and Hofstra University. He had worked for the Town of Oyster Bay before being elected to the Nassau County Legislature in 1995, a position he held until his death. Schmitt is the only person to represent the 12th Legislative District since its inception.