Donald S. Adamowski, 74, passed away on January 4, 2013, after a valiant four-year battle with cancer.
Don was born on January 30, 1938, the son of the late Stephen and Sophie (Gustas) Adamowski.
Survivors include his loving wife, Sharon, of 27 years, whom he always referred to as his “Pretty Lady;” three sons, Scott (Rowena) Adamowski of Walled Lake, Michigan; Richard (Tamie) Adamowski of Hagaman, and Kenneth (Pauline) Adamowski of Amsterdam; stepsons, Scott (Eileen) Nusser of Cape May, New Jersey, and Matthew Gragg of Johnstown. He is the very proud grandfather of six grandchildren, Kayla, Kristen, Stephen, Sarah, Nicholas and Alexander.
Don was a lifelong Amsterdam resident, growing up on Vrooman Avenue and spending over 30 years of his summers at the family camp in Broadalbin on the Great Sacandaga Lake. He enjoyed boating, fishing, water skiing and in general just being around the water. As a golfer in July of 1997, Don recorded a hole in one on the seventh hole at Alexandria Bay Golf Course. He loved baseball – a lifelong Yankees fan – and he was a Little League baseball coach in the 1970s, often reminiscing of his St. Agnello’s team winning the then coveted “Hagaman Tournament” with dramatic final inning homerun hitting style. He enjoyed downhill skiing for many years, was a wonderful public speaker, orator, had a wonderful singing voice, a constant sense of humor, and was always in the mood for a good debate.
Don was a graduate of St. Mary’s Institute and a 1959 graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute earning a degree in civil engineering. He began his career as a highway engineer for the NYSDOT and shortly thereafter accepted an engineering position with the Montgomery County DPW where he remained for 35 years. He held various positions there including highway engineer, real property tax director and Commissioner of Solid Waste. Ultimately he founded and served as executive director of Montgomery-Otsego-Schoharie Solid Waste Management Authority (MOSA), from where he retired in 1993.
After his retirement, and for nearly 20 years, Don began a courageously strong advocacy for people with neurobiological disorders. Inspired by a stepson with schizophrenia, he generously invested tens of thousands of volunteer hours creating support groups, chairing fundraisers, and cultivating awareness through grass roots type campaigns. In 1999, he was the driving force behind the creation of The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Montgomery, Fulton and Hamilton Counties. In 2007, Don was awarded the very prestigious Muriel Shepherd Advocacy Award, the highest of commendations awarded to members of NAMI New York State. He served on the board of directors as president for NAMI Montgomery, Fulton and Hamilton Counties from 2005-2009, and in 2008 became the president of NAMI New York State. He served as president until, due to illness, he resigned at the end of 2011. His selfless efforts and passionate commitment have made positive impacts and developments in legislation, funding and the overall life experiences of people diagnosed with special needs.
Family and friends are invited to visit from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. on Thursday, January 10, 2013m at the Betz Rossi & Bellinger Family Funeral Home, 171 Guy Park Ave., Amsterdam, NY 12010. A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated on Friday, January 11, 2013, at 11 a.m. at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in Amsterdam, with Fr. Stanislaus Swierzowski as celebrant.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: Liberty Foundation, at www.Libertyarc.org, or mail to 43 Liberty Drive, Amsterdam NY 12010, NAMI Montgomery, Fulton Hamilton Counties, 2414 Riverfront Center, Amsterdam NY 12010 or St. Mary’s Cancer Center, Memorial Campus, 4988 Hwy. 30, fourth floor, Amsterdam NY 12010. Please visit the family’s online guestbook at www.brbsfuneral.com.