Joseph Erland, a member of the Port Jefferson community who played a part in local government sitting on the village board of trustees and serving as deputy mayor, died on Thursday at the age of 55. Mr. Erland was a retired Long Island Railroad engineer as well as a 38-year member of the and fire commissioner.
A message appeared on the village's official website regretfully announcing Mr. Erland’s passing.
“Those of us who had the pleasure of working alongside of Joe know his commitment, his love for this community and for his family,” the announcement said. “We will miss his smile and we send our sincerest condolences to his children at this time. You are a true Port Jefferson Hero Joe – rest in peace.”
Port Jefferson Mayor Margot Garant said that she got to know him when she ran against him for mayor.
"He was Deputy Mayor at the time," Garant said to Patch. "Everyone liked him, he was so agreeable and respected. It was clear he was committed to our village, his family and the fire department. We will miss his smile. This is a tragic loss for us all. Deepest condolences to his children and family."
State Assemblyman Steve Englebright posted on his Facebook page about Mr. Erland, sending his condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues.
“It is with great sadness that we share with you the passing of our friend, Joe Erland, former Trustee of the Village of Port Jefferson, 38 year member of the Port Jefferson Fire Department, and retired LIRR engineer,” he wrote.
State senator Ken LaValle also expresssed his support for the family in this time, calling Mr. Erland "a champion of our community." LaValle said that in his various roles he "gave selflessly of his time" to the village.
"I will miss him and send my deepest condolences to his family," LaValle told Patch. "Port Jefferson is profoundly an emptier place without him. Rest in peace Joe."
Visiting will be at the Byrant Funeral Home in East Setauket on Saturday and Sunday from 2 - 4 p.m. and from 7 – 9 p.m. A firematic service will be held Sunday at 8 p.m. Funeral services will be Monday at 11 a.m. at follow by internment at Cedar Hill Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to In-Patient Center in Port Jefferson.
Share your memories of Joseph Erland with us in the comments.