Richard Insogna, a prominent attorney in the Amsterdam area for nearly four decades, died on December 28, 2012, at St. Mary's Hospital in Amsterdam, after a brief illness. He was 86.
Born on September 12, 1926 in Amsterdam, the son of Marzio and Cleonice Insogna (nee Viscosi), he was a U.S. Army veteran of World War II, serving in the Pacific theater, where he saw action in the Philippines and as part of the post-war occupational forces in Japan. After his honorable discharge in November 1946, he earned a B.A. from Union College and a J.D. from Cornell University. He was admitted to the New York State Bar on October 1, 1953.
As a lawyer, Mr. Insogna accepted all kinds of legal work from his clients, including wills and estates, divorce and child custody matters, medical malpractice suits, and criminal cases; but his specialty was trial law - he was widely regarded as a master of courtroom strategy and tactics, and was a passionate defender of the rights of the accused. Among the many high points of his career came in 1974, when, as the attorney for the Amsterdam Permanent Firefighters Benevolent Association, he led the firefighters in a dramatic walkout of a hearing that was covered by regional television news stations. The hearing had been called to investigate allegations by the firefighters regarding the deteriorating condition of the fire alarm system in the City. He retired from active practice in 1991.
Mr. Insogna was an amateur thespian, and appeared in many local productions with the original Colonial Little Theater and the Adirondack Players. He enjoyed all manner of outdoor activities, including hunting, camping, skiing, and tennis, but he was an especially avid golfer, playing weekly, weather permitting, up until his passing. In 1972, he purchased a school bus at a district auction and, with the help of his children, outfitted the vehicle as a camper and embarked on a cross-country trip with his family. The adventure is often and fondly remembered by the family, and spawned dozens of favorite anecdotes. In 1973, after the first Arab oil embargo, he combined his distaste for oil companies with his love of the outdoors, and converted his entire 23 room home to wood heat, installing a massive wood furnace and establishing a wood splitting operation in the family backyard. He was an accomplished cook, and enjoyed engaging the entire family in the production of his culinary masterpieces. In all of his pursuits, the common denominator was doing things with his children, in whom he instilled the rule of always putting family first.
He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Mary K. Insogna (nee Galinski); and six children: Martin Insogna, and his companion Deborah Ferris, of Amsterdam, Richard Insogna and his wife Carol, of Amsterdam, Dr. Nancy Radigan of Amsterdam, David Insogna and his wife Patricia, of Laurel, MD, Marie Insogna of Amsterdam, and Laura Guadagno and her husband Gary of Perth. He is also survived by his sister, Evelyn Riccio, and her husband John, of Charlottesville, VA; and was the brother of the late Gino Insogna of Amsterdam. He is also survived by grandchildren and step-grandchildren, including Michelle Insogna, Eric Insogna, Richard Insogna, Michael Insogna, Kristen Lemanski, Karen Lemanski, Brian Lemanski, Kim Lemanski, Alia Constantino, Thomas Radigan and his wife, Savanah, Sean Radigan, Mario Mascaro, Grace Insogna and Adam Insogna, and one great-grandchild, Connor Insogna.
A wake and memorial service will be held on Wednesday, January 2, 2013, at the Betz, Rossi & Bellinger Family Funeral Home, 171 Guy Park Avenue, Amsterdam. with calling hours from 4 to 7 p.m. The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the American Kidney Fund, the American Heart Association or the Diabetes Action Research and Education Foundation c/o of the funeral home office. Please visit the family's online guestbook at www.brbsfuneral.com.