Bayville Trustee Principe dies at 61


Bayville Trustee Michele Principe, 61, died of congestive heart failure at Glen Cove Hospital on Dec. 9.

Originally from Locust Valley, Principe had lived in Bayville since 1983 and was a trustee for a year and a half.

She was rushed to Glen Cove Hospital by ambulance on Nov. 30, but her health continued to deteriorate, and she never regained consciousness.

“The entire time she was in the hospital, it came down to waiting for a miracle,” said former Bayville mayor Victoria Siegel. “It was a matter of time.”

Principe died in the hospital she had fought to keep open. As co-chair of the Committee to Save Glen Cove Hospital four years ago, she fought long and hard. The facility was affiliated with North Shore Long Island Jewish, but there was a threat that it would cease to be a community hospital and become exclusively an emergency center.

She and Siegel became friends four years ago, while serving on the committee. “Michele was an extremely hard worker in everything she did, including her work on Glen Cove Hospital,” Siegel said. “If she believed in something, there was nothing that would stop her.”

During the past six months, Siegel added, Principe was having health issues. “Her entire family was telling her to see a doctor, but I think she was scared,” Siegel said. “Michele was a bright woman that had been a pharmacist, and was aware of what her symptoms could mean.”

Siegel managed to get her friend to agree to a blood test on the morning of Nov. 30. “We were turning things around, but it was too late,” she said. That evening, Principe was taken to the hospital.

Judith Sniffen, who also met Principe while working on the Committee to Save Glen Cove Hospital, was also a friend. The three had remained on the hospital’s community board after the decision was made to keep it open as a community hospital.

What impressed Sniffen most, she said, was Siegel’s commitment to whatever she set her mind to do. “Her dedication to her beliefs impressed me the most,” Sniffen said. “She wanted very much to save the environment. and was true to her conviction of being a village trustee.”

Principe was a chemist who had worked at Kollmorgen Corp., as the director of facilities support and as safety director. She had also worked for Grumman as a senior corporate environmental engineer. She had testified in court as an expert witness too. A former chemistry teacher, she was working toward state certification to become a special education teacher.

Principe was married to Michael Amodio and had two daughters, Stephanie and Kristie.

When asked which issues were most important to Bayville during her run for trustee in 2016, she said, “We must preserve our resources and beautiful vistas so that our children and grandchildren can enjoy them. We must work together in the open, with every resident having the opportunity to voice their opinion.”

Principe always shared her opinions at village board meetings. But she also listened and considered other’s views, even if she didn’t agree. She appeared to enjoy her work as a trustee.

“She was able, with her brilliant mind in engineering and the environment, to step into the village and make sure [the board] understood everything before they did anything,” Sniffen said. “She was on top of everything, and her heart was always in it right from the start.”

Trustee Bob De Natalie said he didn’t know Principe until they campaigned together in 2016. “She was a ball of fire and a real dynamo,” he said. “A real doer. She was a gift to the village, and had so much to offer.”

Bayville Mayor Paul Rupp described Principe as intelligent and proactive. “It’s a big loss to the community,” he said. “She was very involved as a trustee, leading the recreation committee. We had kayak races for the first time this year under her leadership.”

Former mayor Doug Watson said he was shocked by Principe’s death. “She was growing into the job, and unfortunately [her life] was cut short,” he said. “It is mind-numbing. We were sitting around a table together just a few weeks ago, and now she’s gone.”

As members of different political parties, Principe, of the Taxpayers Party, and Rupp a Bayville Revitalization Party member, did not always see eye to eye. “She came to realize, once she was a trustee, what we came up against in our first two years in office,” Rupp said. “She saw a different part of village government. She always cared about the village.”