Edythe Layne, longtime Roslyn political activist, dies at 92

Edythe Layne, longtime Roslyn political activist, dies at 92
A flyer from Edythe Layne’s campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives in 1974. She died on March 2 at age 92.

Edythe Layne, a longtime political activist in Roslyn who won the Republican nomination for the U.S. House of Representatives in 1974, died on March 2 at her home in Aventura, Florida. She was 92.

“In her 30 years in politics she came across every walk of life,” said her son, Douglas Layne. “She felt that just because she had it a little easier than others doesn’t mean others can’t participate.”

Layne was born in Brooklyn, where she graduated from Erasmus High School. 

She studied economics as an undergraduate at Barnard College and as a master’s degree student at Columbia University, Douglas Layne said.

After receiving her degree from Columbia, Edythe Layne moved to Los Angeles with her husband, Phillip, an investment banker.

After a short stay in California, the couple headed back east to Worcester, Massachusetts, where they lived for three years before moving to Roslyn.

From 1958 to 1980, Layne worked as a substitute teacher in Roslyn and a full-time teacher in Manhasset, Douglas Layne said.

She became heavily involved in the Town of North Hempstead Community Development Agency, where she served as a member, and later a chairwoman, from 1971 to 1984, Douglas Layne said.

“She was instrumental in reversing local urban blight to better community housing for local residents who didn’t have a leg up,” Douglas Layne said. “She would take existing properties and have them refurbished, creating more housing for the local community.”

In 1974, Edythe Layne won the Republican nomination for the U.S. House of Representatives for the 6th District, which included Roslyn.

“She was always very excited to participate in the rallies that were being put on by the Republican Party,” Douglas Layne said. “She was always excited to meet her constituents and raise awareness about why people should get out to vote.”

She had a private meeting with President Gerald Ford at the White House in 1974, Douglas Layne said.

“She sought to meet with him to see what kind of support Washington would give a local congressperson.”

She lost in the general election to five-time incumbent Democrat Lester Wolff.

“The low point was when she lost,” Douglas Layne recalled.

Layne remained in politics, serving twice on the Board of Trustees at SUNY Farmingdale and supporting local efforts to elect Republican candidates like Gov. George Pataki in 1994, Douglas Layne said.    

In 1993, Layne was first a board member and then commissioner of the Nassau County Tax Assessment Review Commission, The Roslyn Press reported.

Over the course of her political career, Layne met Republican Party luminaries Richard Nixon, Ronald Regan and Nelson Rockefeller, Douglas Layne said.

Edythe Layne was married to her husband Phillip Layne for 52 years until his death in April 1998, Douglas Layne said.

In addition to Douglas Layne, Edythe Layne is survived by her sons Fredric and Jonathan, as well as four grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

“She loved her family,” Douglas Layne said. “She only wanted the best for her family and she saw that we got it.”

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