TEACHING WAS HIS LIFE
by Barbara Guarino Kruk
There are those who lead the charge by example and Paul Fulgence Breschard was a true leader. A local boy, raised right here in Mastic Beach, he earned the distinction of Valedictorian of the Class of 1967, graduating from the then newly built William Floyd High School and received an appointment to West Point. Upon completion of college, Paul, a teacher, returned to his beloved town and settled into a teaching positon that would last for the next thirty-four years. In between, he met and fell in love with the lovely Geraldine, she would be the woman that would share the rest of his life.
Throughout our lives we encounter many educators; some good, some not so good. There are those who were privileged to have Mr. Breschard as their English teacher. Not because he was good at his profession, there are many who are, but because he was passionate about what he did. It was more important to him to convey the message than to present the material. He wanted, and made sure, his students understood the life lesson of what they were learning. He was quirky, funny, but had little tolerance for those who were not hungry for knowledge. Every one of the hundreds of people who came to take their final farewell had a funny or interesting story about Paul.
He was a coach for the Mastic Sports Girls softball team, my daughter, was one of his players. Every game, every practice, there was Paul with cases of juice boxes for his girls. He taught those girls that winning wasn’t the most important thing; having fun and spending time with friends was equally as important. Paul was involved in every aspect of the lives of his children. He and Gerri were good parents to Jayme and David.
Paul was a genuine, giving, human being. He ate, drank, and lived his passion for education, whether it was youngsters he was teaching or adults. His enthusiasm was worn like an armor. His humor was contagious and he loved a practical joke. He had a reverence for knowledge and thought it was a duty to share it with anyone who was willing to listen. Paul had a temper, especially when he saw injustice. He was a champion for the rights of others and to elevate the quality of life both in the classroom and in the neighborhood. He was a diehard Yankee’s Baseball fan, loved taking his annual cruise with Gerri, and was a fan of the author David McCullough. For years they travelled to their vacation house in the Poconos, PA. Life was good, and they were happy and in love.
Chances are that either you, or your children, were taught and mentored by Paul F. Breschard; at least the fortunate ones among us. Paul embraced life with gusto. He came from a large family that never left this great community. Personally, I was a classmate and graduated with his sister Karen Lee and her husband Bob. I have known this family all my life and can attest that these are fine people. They know and appreciate the humble, but good people who make up the fabric of this colorful tapestry.
Together, Paul and Gerri, parented two wonderful children, Jayme and David. Two years ago they received the most wonderful gift, the birth of their grandson Jack. There is something so intoxicating about being a grandparent, and Paul and Gerri became drunk with love for this child. Jack called him Poppy, along with the two older boys J.D. and Alex, a trio of love that will forever carry the imprint of Paul in their hearts.
Whether you agreed with his political ideology, or not, you could not help but be inspired by his desire to make things better. Paul and Gerri worked selflessly to create a village. Their motivation was to improve, enhance, and preserve the beauty of this wonderful community. At the sake of their own personal wellbeing, loss of lifelong friends and a tremendous drain on their physical health, they succeeded in achieving the creation of the Village of Mastic Beach. Paul, for his efforts, was elected Mayor.
Thousands of children have been impacted by this man. If we were only privy to how many of them turned out because of their interaction with this teacher, this man who jumped on desks, ran through the parking lot, or any number of quirky deeds to get their young minds motivated. To teach is noble; to impart knowledge is a blessed calling. Education was his religion. He never stopped educating himself, whether it was politics, bird watching, fitness or anything that sparked his intelligent mind.
Paul Fulgence Breschard left this world after only sixty-six years better than he found it. He has molded and enhanced the minds and hearts of so many of our children. He was a friend to so many of us and a role model and champion for the quality of life of others. He was my friend and I will miss his infectious laughter and huge heart. This community has lost a true native son.
Paul Fulgence Breschard, age 66, of Mastic Beach, died peacefully at Brookhaven Memorial Hospital on October 2, 2016, surrounded by his loving family. A lifelong resident of our community, an educator, a patriot, community leader and First Mayor of the Village of Mastic Beach, will be greatly missed. Paul taught in the William Floyd School District for thirty-four years before his retirement. He worked tirelessly with the Pattersquash Creek Civil Association, Mastic Beach Property Owners, and every member of this community to improve the quality of life for each and every one of us. He was the loving husband of Geraldine (Gerri) for forty-two years, the beloved father to Jayme (David) Thomann and David. Grandfather of Jack, J.D. and Alex. Family and friends were received at Roma Funeral Home in Shirley, Prayers services were conducted by Pastor Gloria Johnson then concluding with military honors and the presentation of the flag. Private cremation services took place.
Ethel G. Bundick, age 76, of Center Moriches, died at Westhampton Care Center after a long and valiant battle with her illness on October 7, 2016. Ethel was born in the Yonkers, NY and was a homemaker. She enjoyed doing arts and crafts, reading and collection cookbooks and food magazine, using her computer tablet and being with her cherished grandchildren. She is survived by her children Daniel (Teresa) and Sherry (Kevin) Kretsch. She was the beloved grandmother of Daniel, Candice, Kayla, Kerri, Carlie, and Kevin Jr. Family and friends were received at Roma Funeral Home in Shirley. Funeral services were held at the Center Moriches United Methodist Church with Pastor Patricia Mott Intermaggio officiating. Interment too place at Mt. Pleasant Cemetery.
Thomas E. Henderson, age 67, of Shirley, passed away on September 30, 2016. He is survived by his beloved wife Cynthia, his loving sons Marc and Justin, and his cherished grandchildren Alyssa and Brandon. Arrangements were entrusted to Sinnickson’s Moriches Funeral Home. A prayer service was held at Calverton National Cemetery, where the United States Marines held military honors.
Kathy Ann Hernandez, age 63 of Shirley, died at Brookhaven Memorial Hospital on October 7, 2016. Kathy was born in Queens, NY and was a field manager for Verizon Communication. She is survived by her son John, her grandchildren Sylvia, John Jr., and Katrina. He was the beloved brother of Mike and Linda Bullock. Kathy Ann’s entire life revolved around her three grandchildren; they were the center of her world. She enjoyed being with family and friends. She had recently returned to Shirley after relocating six years ago to Georgia for her job. Family and friends were received at Roma Funeral Home in Shirley and wake prayers were conducted by St. Jude’s RC Church. Cremations services took place at Mt. Pleasant Cemetery.
Jean Pfister, age 77, of Mastic Beach passed away on September 27, 2016. She is survived by her daughters, Linda Zeller and Donna Maurise Pfister, as well as four grandchildren. Visitation was held at Sinnickson’s Moriches Funeral Home. St. John’s RC Church conducted a prayer service at the funeral home and interment followed afterwards to Mt. Pleasant Cemetery in Center Moriches.