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Hundreds of mourners attended a memorial Mass Friday for Thomas Strada, the 41-year-old son of Westbury Mayor Ernest Strada who was killed in the September 11th World Trade Center Attack.

Mourners extend their arms and hold hands in prayer during the standing-room-only memorial Mass for Thomas Strada at St. Brigid's Roman Catholic Church, Westbury on Friday. Father Frank Gaeta, former pastor of St. Brigid's, is shown at the center of the altar, along with fellow clergy, arms outstretched. Photos by Al Posillico

A veil of sadness has covered the Westbury community in the weeks following the attack, as news of the loss of Thomas Strada and other Westbury sons and daughters has hit home. Along with the family and friends of Thomas, his co-workers at Cantor Fitzgerald, and people from throughout his hometown of Westbury came out to the memorial service in grief, prayer, and remembrance. The Mass at St. Brigid's Roman Catholic Church, Westbury, was filled to capacity, and flowed out onto Post Avenue, where benches had been set up for the crowd of mourners.

Thomas Strada is being remembered as a beloved father, husband, son and brother. He is survived by his wife Terry and their three children, Thomas Joseph, 7, Kaitlyn Claire, 4, and his newborn son Justin Thomas, who was born just four days before his father's tragic death. He is also survived by parents Ernest and Mary Ann Strada of Westbury, brothers Joseph and Michael, and sisters Susan and Jennifer. Family and friends recall Thomas as an avid outdoorsman and sportsman, who especially enjoyed harness racing, deer hunting, and golf, and had a passion for fishing.

A native of Westbury, Strada attended St. Brigid's School in Westbury, St. Dominic's School in Oyster Bay, and Nassau Community College. He had worked as a bond broker at Cantor Fitzgerald since 1995, recently achieving a partnership on his desk there, and had resided with his family in Chatham, New Jersey for the past seven years.

Father Frank Gaeta, the former pastor of St. Brigid's who now heads a parish in Deer Park, came back to Westbury to preside at the solemn occasion Friday. He was joined at the altar by Father Ralph Sommer, current pastor of St. Brigid's; Associate Pastor Rev. James Stachacz; Deacon James P. Morris; and Father Frank Midura, former pastor of Our Lady of Hope Roman Catholic Church, Carle Place.


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