Eastport and much of Suffolk County are mourning the passing of Andrea Spilka, a tireless civic leader who played an instrumental role in preserving the environment across Suffolk.
A graveside service was held for Spilka on Sunday in Mt. Lebanon Cemetery in Queens.
“To say that the hamlet of Eastport, the Town of Brookhaven and the Town of Southampton lost a terrific, caring and kind civic leader would be an understatement,” Brookhaven Town Councilman Dan Panico said in a heartfelt Facebook post about Spilka.
“This world lost a truly good person who cared deeply about her community and worked actively to make that community a better place,” he added.
Friends said Spilka died last month after a short bout with cancer. She most recently served on the newly re-established Greater Eastport Chamber of Commerce and the Suffolk County Council on Environmental Quality.
She had also been president of the Southampton Town Civic Coalition and a member of the East Moriches Property Owners Association and the Brookhaven Town Open Space and Farmland Acquisition Advisory Committee.
Additionally, she served on the Southampton Water Protection Alliance and the League of Women Voters of the Hamptons. She was also a leader in the Eastport Green Project.
Spilka played an integral role in the reorganization of the Greater Eastport Chamber of Commerce, which put out a statement regarding her passing:
“Andrea was a huge advocate for Eastport and worked hard to bring down the poles to restore our historical district,” the statement said, in part. “She made a significant impact in Eastport, and was a pioneer in preserving the environment throughout Suffolk County.
“We cannot thank her enough for her hard work in keeping our area quaint and beautiful. She will be truly missed by our community,” the statement continued.
“Andrea Spilka was a civic leader who never approached an issue with a preconceived notion,” Panico said. “She listened intently and tried to understand each side, and the merits of their arguments. She truly had a heart of gold.”
Facebook user Lauren Stiles posted her thoughts about Spilka — a woman she called her “dear friend.”
“Andrea was an incredible woman who did so much for our community. I met her 20 years ago when I worked at the Pine Barrens Society,” Stiles wrote. “She was a great environmental advocate who easily made friends with everyone, even the developers we were suing and politicians from both sides of the aisle.”
Stiles noted in her post how Spilka was always smiling and “sharing her kindness with the world.”