Dennis James Michalski, 71, of Colonie, New York,
passed away quietly in his sleep on Friday, November
5, 2021, at his home.
He was born June 18, 1950, in Rochester, New York,
the youngest son of Anthony and Agnes (Zavacki) Michalski.
He spent his childhood playing sports and in
the Boy Scouts, earning his Eagle Scout at 13. Dennis
attended the prestigious Aquinas Institute, graduating
in 1968 with honors.
He attended the State University of New York at
Geneseo, graduating in 1972 with a BS in Political Science.
During breaks from college, Dennis found his
calling and future occupation as a journalist, working
for the Democrat & Chronicle in Rochester. Dennis
was an active and proud member of the Phi Sigma
Epsilon fraternity. During a Phi Sig party, he met his
future wife, Patricia (Nizinkirck) Michalski.
Dennis and Pat started dating shortly after that and
were married on July 22, 1972. The newlyweds moved
to Gloversville, New York, where he would continue
his work in journalism at the Leader Herald. At the
Herald, he covered football and basketball games at
Gloversville High School. Dennis moved on to the
Knickerbocker News in Albany in 1978 as a copy editor
and rose through the ranks to become the executive
news editor. He and Pat bought a home off Lincoln
Avenue in the Village of Colonie in 1981, where
they remained for 40 years.
Dennis was a devoted father and very involved in
the community. In the 1980s, anyone driving up Lincoln
Avenue could see a game of basketball in the
driveway, catches on the front lawn, or a touch football
game on Ridge Terrace with his boys. The pool in
the backyard was the centerpiece of many family parties
and post-baseball season celebrations. He served
as an officer in Colonie Little League for close to 15
years, serving as President and Treasurer, and served
as the President of Colonie Babe Ruth for two years.
His impact on those programs is still visible today.
Dennis was a life-long scout and served as an Assistant
Scoutmaster to Troop 278. He was the Eagle
Scout coordinator and worked with many scouts to
help them attain the highest rank in scouting. Dennis
would write letters to local and national dignitaries
on behalf of the boys to receive their congratulations.
He would also organize their courts of honor. He enjoyed
campouts, particularly the winter freeze out
where he’d wear shorts in the cabin at Camp Rotary
for fun. No one knew their knots better than Dennis.
Dennis worked at the Times Union as photo editor
and the executive city editor. As photo editor, he
ushered in the digital age of photography for the paper.
He left the newspaper industry for a job as the
director of community affairs for the NYS Emergency
Management Organization in 1997. Initially, he was
convinced the state’s only disaster was the Buffalo
Bills, but that changed as he supported significant
events in the state’s history on the ground starting
with TWA Flight 800 and ending with the floods in
Schoharie County from Hurricane Irene. In between,
he coordinated responses to ice storms, tornados, and
9/11. Dennis ended his career as the Public Information
officer for the NY State Emergency Management
and Office of Homeland Security before his retirement
In retirement, Dennis spent time with his beloved
border collie Cody as well as his grandkids and puttering
around the house doing small projects. Ever a
perfectionist, he took pride in his landscaping abilities.
He enjoyed reading, Westerns, American History,
lounging around the pool, and his Cubbies and Bills.
A life-long Cubs fan, Dennis was beside himself in
2016 when his Cubbies finally broke the curse. A lifelong
Bills fan, he would tell you at least they got to
four straight Super Bowls. Dennis enjoyed traveling
with Pat all over the globe, particularly the Caribbean,
Puerto Rico, Alaska, Italy, Mexico, Australia, and recently
Ireland. One of his favorite trips was exploring
the National Parks.
Dennis is survived by his loving wife of 49 years, Patricia
Michalski, his two sons, Jim (Heather) Michalski
and Mark (Gabrielle) Michalski, three grandchildren,
Caylin Michalski, Theo Michalski, and Elliot Michalski,
his sisters and brothers-in-law, Kathy-Jo Michalski,
Anne and Tom Marsolais, and Lois Wigmore, and numerous
nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by
his parents, Anthony and Agnes (Zavacki) Michalski,
and his brother Ronald Michalski.
A funeral Mass will be celebrated by the Reverend
John Bradley on Thursday, November 11, 2021 at 11 a.m.
in the Church of St. Clare, 1947 Central Avenue, Colonie,
NY. The Rite of Committal and interment will
follow in St. Basil’s Cemetery, Maplewood, NY and
will be officiated by Archpriest Peter Olsen. Friends
are invited to attend and may also visit with the Michalski
family on Wednesday, November 10, 2021 from
4 p.m. until 7 p.m. at the Parker Brothers Memorial,
2013 Broadway, Watervliet, NY. The family requests
that all attendees please wear facial masks to both the
visitation and services regardless of vaccination status.
Those wishing to remember Dennis in a special way
may send a donation to St. Basil’s Cemetery Perpetual
Care Fund, 6 Lansing Avenue, Watervliet, NY 12189
or The American heart Association, 440 New Karner
Road, Albany, NY 12205, www.heart.org
Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may
be shared at www.parkerbrosmemorial.com.
2313 Broadway, Watervliet
Dennis James Michalski
Dennis James Michalski, 71, of Colonie, New York,