The former pastor at died Saturday morning at , according to church representatives.
Reverend Monsignor Edmond J. Trench, who was the pastor from 1988 to 2000, was 81.
It was under his leadership that the church underwent major renovations that included more than $1 million in structural and electrical improvements and more than $100,000 to repair stained glass windows. Another $100,000 was needed to repair the roof, which was in such disrepair that buckets were often used to collect rainwater.
The expenses were daunting, but according to the church's 100th anniversary memorial book released in 1996, he told parishioners that "big bucks and little bucks built the church" and "big bucks and little bucks are needed to restore our church."
Members rang doorbells and made calls, and when all was said and done, the church raised $1.7 million, enough to turn it into the shining beacon on Hill Street that is about to be designated a Basilica.
Monsignor Trench remained a fixture in the Southampton community even after his retirement in 2000. He was the fire department's chaplain and marched annually in the town's Independence Day parade.
Trench was replaced by Monsignor Jeffrey Madley, who incidentally is leaving the church this June because his 12-year term is up. His replacement is slated to be Father Mike Vetrano of Our Lady of Lourdes in West Islip.