William J. Lindsay, presiding officer of the Suffolk County Legislature, has died at 67 years old after a long battle with a rare lung cancer.
"Today, we lost a true public servant, Presiding Officer William J. Lindsay. Bill had a common sense way about him which permeated throughout his interactions with constituents as well as his fellow elected officials," County Executive Steve Bellone said, calling him honest and true.
Lindsay, a Democrat from Holbrook, was first elected to the legislature in special election in 2001 to fill the seat vacated by Steve Levy, before becoming presiding officer in 2006, according to his website. Lindsay holds the record for being the legislature's longest-serving presiding officer.
"He possessed an unstoppable determination to serve the people of Suffolk County even in the midst of battling cancer.Bill stands as a shining example of what all public officials should strive to become," Bellone said.
He had stepped back from his day-to-day in the legislature in the past two years to undergo treatment for his cancer.
Suffolk Legis. Kara Hahn, D-Setauket, called Lindsay a compassionate, fair, patient, tolerant man who was a tremendous leader and "even-handed in all things."
Hahn, who worked for Lindsay as his director of communications for six years before her own election to the county legislature in 2012, said he will be missed.
"He was so committed to leading and making sure the focus was always on making things better for Suffolk County," she said. "He kept it as nonpartisan as you could possibly keep a governing body. He was a true leader and we were blessed to have him."
With reporting by Christine Sampson and Sara Megan Walsh.