Notable Obituaries

This page is dedicated to remembering those in the tri-hamlet area who have either played a major role as a community member or as an advocate for preserving our past. I will be adding names in the coming months and I appreciate any suggestions.



Carol A Bissonette; Never a politician, always a public servant.

by Maureen Getchell, SouthShore Press

June 23, 2014 Mastic Beach, New York: Former Town of Brookhaven Councilwoman Carol Ann Bissonette of Mastic Beach, New York, lost her fight to cancer on June 20th, 2014, at home surrounded by friends and family. She was 56 years old. Born in Brooklyn and raised in Babylon, New York by her parents Ronald and Herta Wagner (both deceased) with her sisters Helen Treu (deceased) and Susan Schultz of Wyoming.
She attended Babylon High School in 1975 and achieved a Bachelor of Science in Educational Administration & Interpersonal Management at the State University of New York at Brockport in 1978 and married Michael Bissonette in 1994.
She worked as a trainer for the Suffolk County Board of Elections. Was a former Trustee in the Village of Mastic Beach; former Town of Brookhaven Councilwoman for the 6th district; former Deputy Commissioner for the Town of Brookhaven of Parks Department. She was a member of the Town of Brookhaven Historic Committee and the Mastic Beach Property Owners Association.

Link here:




Was New York’s First Female Letter Carrier From Mastic Beach?

Local resident Tami Southard, has always been a big history fan and knows that there is so much to learn about our communities past that she asked Tri Hamlet News, “Do you guys know that the first female letter carrier is from Mastic Beach?  Mrs. Potts?”

We didn’t know this information so we decided to do a little research.

We found on, that Phyllis Callahan Potts had lived mainly in Mastic Beach on Daisy Drive since 1937.  In 1985, she retired from a very long career at the Mastic Beach Post Office.  It is stated, “that she truly made history when she became the first female mail carrier in New York State.”

Before we could post this historical finding, we needed to dig a little deeper on the internet to see if other websites or blogs had any information on the first New York female letter carrier.

Wikipedia notes that Susanna A. Brunner from New York, was known to be a mail carrier in the 1880’s.  It doesn’t state if she was the “first” female to take on this position.  Miss Brunner carried the mail from Port Washington to Great Neck, Long Island, from 1881 to 1885, while in her early 20’s.

After the introduction of rural free delivery in October 1896, more women joined the ranks of carriers delivering mail to customers.  At least 11 women are listed as substitute rural carriers in the 1899 Official Register of the United States, filling in for husbands or family members when the need arose.  In the 1901 Official Register of the United States, it listed Mrs. Allie M. Merville of Bliss, New York, as a full-time rural carrier.  It doesn’t imply that she was the “first” female carrier in New York.

Other than, there are no specific findings that would prove Phyllis Callahan Potts of Mastic Beach, to be the first female mail carrier of New York.  On the contrary, it doesn’t prove that she wasn’t the first either.

“For 35 years, she has always been the first in my eyes,” said Tami Southard.  “You never know who your neighbors are unless you treat them like family.”



….courtesy of the Tri Hamlet News

Rita Rech was a resident of Mastic since 1952. She moved to the tri-hamlet community with her husband and two children from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Rita was a past retired Brookhaven Lab employee for 17 years in the purchasing and contracting department.
Rita will be remembered by newer residents as the founder of the Mastic Peninsula Historical Society. For years she worked and was successful in making the Petty House on Montauk Hwy in Shirley a historical landmark. She loved our community; felt we had a great deal to offer if only we could bring out our history and good points.

She dedicated an enormous amount of time serving the community while being a loving mother and community activist. Rita was the William Floyd board president from 1962 until 1969 and again in 1980 through 1989. She bought the NJROTC program to our school district. She also did volunteer work at Brookhaven Hospital, the William Floyd Estate, and for Meals on Wheels. Also to be remembered in 1995, as Citizen of the year by the Chamber of Commerce, Brookhaven Town Board, Bay Area Civic Association and the Mastic Park Civic Association. Rita was a member and very hard worker of numerous civic associations including William Floyd Community Summit, Bay Area Civic, Mastic Park Civic Association are just a few of the groups she was so helpful too.
She was also known for her letters to the editor, usually short and to the point. She challenged disparaging remarks about William Floyd students and received a reply from Captain Cassagne in 1995. She also took on Chauncey Howell, an NBC television reporter who also made snide remarks about Mastic and Shirley, even writing to Grant Tinker, President of NBC to reprimand Mr Howell. She was a tiny woman, always very polite, but always managing to get her point across.

Rita truly lived a life of community service. Next to the Mastic Post office is a clock donated by Rita. She has done so much more for our community, too much to list. Rita Rech passed away on May 14, 2013. Many, especially her daughters, Susan Ragone and Gladys Rech, four grandchildren and their spouses and nine great grandchildren, will miss her.


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