SPRING HILL - Many people remember Len Tria as a public servant who served two terms as county commissioner and spent his retirement years still involved with politics.
But there were sides to Tria that most didn't know about, said Kenn Pryor, close friend of Tria who spoke briefly during his funeral Mass on Thursday morning at St. Theresa Catholic Church in Spring Hill.
Tria loved boating, flying, motorcycling, golf, guitar picking and old movies, Pryor said. He was proud of his years in the New York police force and with the Coast Guard Reserve, he told the 100 or so people assembled for the service.
Pryor said he visited with Tria shortly before he died Dec. 5 from cancer and his friend told him he was not ready to die. At 76, there was still so much he wanted to accomplish, Pryor said.
"He wasn't done," Pryor said from the podium.
The Rev. Edison Bernavas said during his homily he admired Tria's devoutness to his Catholic faith and his willingness - even during his retirement years - to continue serving his community.
Bernavas said the fact that so many people attended the service was a testament to the friends he made since moving to Hernando County in 1982.
Among the attendees were former and present county commissioners, representatives of the banking community, business owners, attorneys, Realtors, Greater Hernando County Chamber of Commerce officials and others whose lives Tria touched during his years in public service.
In the front row were Tria's wife of 53 years, Barbara, along with daughter, Barbara Jean.
"You are here because you love Leonard," Bernavas told those who gathered. "You are here because he loved you."
Bernavas said he visited Tria in the hospital shortly before he died and was surprised his death occurred so fast. Tria, he said, was a man of "great conviction" and "a true statesman."
While others are content to spend their retirement watching television or taking it easy, Tria chose to be involved in politics and tried to make Hernando County a better place, he said.
"He wanted this county to be self-sufficient," Bernavas said. "He wanted this county to grow."
A retired New York policeman, Tria retired to Hernando County and soon became active in politics and other groups. Until about two years ago, Tria was the chamber's paid liaison for the Hernando County Association of Realtors, the Hernando Builders Association and Hernando Progress.
Tria, a long-time columnist for Hernando Today, served on the county commission during the 1980s.
As the crowd filed out of the church, Hernando school board member and businessman Gus Guadagnino said Tria was his mentor. Most most people will never know how active he was behind the scenes of government, Guadagnino said.
"He's going to be missed," Guadagnino said. "The community's going to miss him."