A Tribute to Mayor Ernest J. Strada

With great sadness the Village of Westbury marks the passing of former Village of Westbury Mayor Ernest J. Strada

Mayor Peter Cavallaro

    It is with great personal sadness that I must inform the Westbury community of the passing of our former Mayor Ernest Strada. He passed April 23, 2020, after a long (non-Covid related) illness, peacefully with his family around him.
    Mayor Strada was a life-long resident of the Village, and served as our mayor for 28 years. That is a feat that I believe will never be equaled or surpassed. He was my beloved mentor, colleague and friend. His legacy to the community is nothing less than having been the best mayor that the Village has ever had, and in my opinion, will ever have.
    Ernie grew up in a house on Post Avenue, in the shadow of St. Brigid Church. How fitting it is that Ernie would grow up near the heart of the Village that he loved. His life was completely about Westbury (and his family), and Westbury was in his blood. He was a graduate of St. Brigid’s parochial school and Westbury High School. He attended what is now Farmingdale College. Ernie started out in his family owned plumbing and heating business in Westbury. Because of that, Ernie knew intimately many of the homes in the Village, having done work in them. It was always an amazing history lesson of Westbury to walk in a parade or procession with Ernie as he recalled generations of families who lived in the houses we passed by. Ernie eventually went to work for Nassau County and retired as Director of Construction Services, in the County Department of Public Works.
    Ernie was appointed to the Village Zoning Board in 1971 and to the Village Board of Trustees in 1974. He was first elected as Mayor in 1981 and would serve 7 full terms until 2009. As Mayor, he was the strongest advocate that Westbury residents could possibly have had, for so many years and on so many occasions. He possessed a passion and vigor for the community that was unmatched. I had the privilege of serving with Ernie, as a member of the Board of Trustees for 10 years before his retirement. I sat in the seat to his immediate left on the dais, and from that vantage point I learned how to always, always put the needs and concerns of our residents first. That was Ernie’s way and the rule by which he governed.
    His accomplishments as Mayor are too numerous to list, but he is perhaps best remembered for his steadfast defense of the Village against the State of New York at the time of the Northern State Parkway widening. The result of that fight was then-Governor Mario Cuomo (our current governor’s father), coming to Westbury to sign the settlement agreement in which the Village prevailed. Mayor Strada’s efforts in that matter did nothing less than preserve the character of our community. An early proponent of downtown revitalization, he spearheaded the organization of the Westbury Business Improvement District (“BID”) and collaborated with the BID on many improvement projects. He was a staunch supporter of the Westbury Senior Citizens. These are merely a few examples of the countless things that Ernie did to protect, preserve and improve our community. He spent a lifetime of service to Westbury and we owe him a debt of gratitude beyond measure. In addition to his service to the Village, Ernie was recognized as a leader among his peers and was elected to serve both as the President of the Nassau County Village Officials Association, and of the New York State Conference of Mayors. 
    Ernie was warm, smart, funny, passionate and eloquent, and he was extremely proud of his Italian heritage. His family meant everything to him, and he often spoke of them in the context of relating how the decisions we made are personal and affect our residents and the community. He enjoyed the time he got to spend on the golf course with his friends, and he was an avid hunter and fisherman. In all the years I knew Ernie, he carried on with great dignity and strength, even in the face of the unspeakable tragedy in the loss of his dear son Tommy in the 2001 September 11th World Trade Center attack.
    My heartfelt prayers go out, personally and on behalf of the Village family he loved, to Mrs. Strada and to their surviving children, Susan, Joseph, Michael and Jennifer, his grandchildren and to the entire Strada family.
     In honor and memory of this great man, flags at all Village facilities and buildings will be flown at half-staff through the end of May. While a public funeral is not possible at this time due to the ongoing public health crisis, we will advise the public of any arrangements for services at a later time, as soon as we receive that information, so that those who may wish to pay their respects may do so.
    Westbury will never see another one like Ernie Strada. Please join me at this difficult time in remembering him, and in praying for his family and for the repose of his soul. God bless you, my friend, until we see each other on the other side.


Village Justice Thomas Liotti

    Ernie Strada coined the phrase ‘Village Family’. He was always part of our family and made everyone in village government feel like they were part of his family. Ernie was more than "the Mayor" to me - he was more like a much loved and respected older brother. A visionary and patriot, Ernie worked hard to improve our Village and country. Ernie always put God, country and family first.


1st Deputy Mayor and Trustee Steven Corte

    It is with great sadness that we learned of the passing of former Village Mayor, Ernest Strada. While Mayor Strada held the distinction of being the longest serving Mayor in our Villages history, he was much more to our Village and its residents than just having such a long tenure in Village government. Ernie always displayed his love for his family and the community where he grew up by emulating that to us in everything he did. For me personally, it will always be about the stories he used to tell during parades, as would walk the parade route during the Memorial Day Parade, and Ernie would give us a history lesson as he would reminisce about the old days. Having had a father who grew up with Ernie, these stories will always be especially meaningful to me, as they will always bring back some great memories. I will always remember Ernie as the person who built the very foundation that our Village is currently using as we move forward with the growth and development that will secure a healthy future for our Village. Having Ernie as a mentor and teacher, I will always remember the little quotes that he would put out there from time to time as life lessons that I too have tried to pass on. He has certainly touched the lives of many in our community over the years and, it is because of his many contributions that Westbury is what it is today – A Community of all Seasons. – 


2nd Deputy Mayor and Trustee Beaumont Jefferson

    Mayor Strada loved Westbury and I will always remember the vivid stories that he would share of his childhood and his life in politics in the village that he loved. He was a giant and will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him. 


Trustee William Wise

    I have known Ernie Strada and had the pleasure of working with him for the betterment of the community for several decades. He appointed me to the Board to fill a vacancy, and his leadership in good times, and in times of challenge, has made Westbury a better place. We will miss him. God bless him and his family. 


Trustee Vincent Abbatiello

     Rest in Peace Ernie Strada "Mr. Westbury", you will be missed by all. Memories of Ernie going above and beyond for the love of the Village and his community, including his personally visiting homes when issues arose, and his always being on the forefront of ever-changing times. I remember Ernie at the opening of the Piazza named after him, at the corner of Post & Maple, standing there with a great big smile, with his friends who volunteered their time to building the space that was one of his visions, which he made happen. Ernie we will miss you and we will continue to make your village shine in your memory.