Michael D. Damsky
Date of Passing: December 25th, 2020leave a condolence read condolences
Michael D. Damsky, lifelong Utican, passed away peacefully on December 25, 2020, just two days shy of his 87th birthday. Born December 27, 1933 to the late Hyman and Pearl Damsky, Michael made it his life's mission to provide for his family and give back to the community. His towering presence was seen in the way he dedicated himself to sports, the Jewish community, and the hometown he loved.
Michael split his professional time between insurance sales and community involvement. Michael started in the insurance industry in 1967 and remained active with his business for the next 52 years. His community was rewarded by the time he spent volunteering as a board member at St. Luke's Hospital, Munson Williams Proctor Arts Institute, Utica College, the Sitrin Home, and the Jewish Community Center, just to name a few. Additionally, he served as a county legislator for 22 years, giving a tremendous amount of himself to Central New York. While working with Utica College, he co-founded the Young Scholars Liberty Partnerships Program (YSLPP) to help local minority students suffering from low graduation rates. The chosen students attended enrichment classes at Utica College, and upon graduation from high school, were guaranteed their college education. This program became so successful that similar programs throughout the country were modeled after it. The local scholarship is named in his honor.
Michael was well known among the local sports community as a standout basketball player. From his days as Utica Free Academy's high scorer and MVP for the county all-star team in 1950, to his time attending Ohio State University and playing as a walk-on for the Buckeyes, basketball was a defining part of Michael's legacy. He spent time playing for the army and many years for the Utica MUNY league, followed by his days as a member of some of the best senior-league teams around, both regionally and nationally. After turning 55, Michael qualified for every National Senior Olympics, where he played until he was 83. In 2017, Michael was inducted into the Greater Utica Sports Hall of Fame.
After college, Michael married his high school sweetheart Evy Wineburgh. They remained married for 65 years. Michael was very proud of his family. He leaves behind his wife and three children, Beth Damsky (Joanne Peskowitz), Wendy Sanders (Brian Sanders) and Scott Damsky (Wendy Damsky); and four grandchildren, Jacob Damsky, Lanika Sanders, Anna Damsky, and Gabriel Damsky. Michael also leaves behind his brother, Barry Damsky (Cynthia Damsky). Michael was predeceased by his other brother, Alan Damsky (Cornelia Damsky).
The graveside funeral for Michael will be private and may be live streamed at https://www.facebook.com/markcbentzfuneralservice on Tuesday at 2 pm due to COVID concerns. Virtual Shiva will be Zoomed at: https://nylife.zoom.us/j/92415570644?pwd=VUhDSjFRSzVMaDJCN3lBVzNpTFhndz09 on Tuesday from 4-7 pm. A celebration of Michael's life will be held at a later time.
For condolences, please visit bentzfuneralhomes.com. Those who wish to remember Michael can also make gifts in his memory to the Michael D. Damsky Young Scholars Scholarship at the Office of Advancement, Utica College, 1600 Burrstone Road, Utica, NY 13502.
The link for Michael Damsky's Shiva Tuesday, December 29th 4-7PM
Dear the Damsky Family.
I had the pleasure of working with Mike when I worked at Friedlander Insurance back in the 80's. Mike was always so welcoming and helpful. One of the smartest insurance professionals I ever met. So sorry for your loss. May you always remember how admired he was and that he will be remembered fondly by many.
Lisa Mattison Bates
Dear Evy, we were so very sorry to hear about Michael. We know how difficult this time is for you and your family. Our hearts are with you.
Burt and Edie Danovitz
I had the honor & privilege to serve with Mike on the Oneida County Board of Legislators. He was a good legislator but a better person.
My condolences to the entire Damsky Family.
Evy and family. I was very saddened to learn of Mike's passing. He was the first Life Underwriters Association (NYSALU)state president I served under when I joined the association staff in 1981. Memories of his presidency are highlighted by our traveling across the state on the NYSALU "Appleknockers" Sales Caravan. I will always treasure our personal and professional friendship.
RIP. We pray god to give your family strength on this difficult time. You will be miss by your family.
Dear Mrs Damsky and Family, I was saddened to read in the OD that Mike had died. As a retired Director of Young Scholars, I know first hand that Young Scholars would never had happened at UC, if it were not for him. He was The Godfather of the Program and continued to serve on the Board for many years. Young Scholars has been so successful and helped so many kids in the city of Utica because of him. I know he was proud , as he should have been.
After I retired, our paths crossed often at the King of Kings basketball games, run by two former Young Scholars. I was always happy to see him and he inspired me to stay in shape.
Our talking about all the great memories and good times, will keep his memory with us. We are all lucky, he was in the right place, at the right time to make a significant difference.
I was Commissioner of Planning for Oneida County and worked closely with Mike for many years and he was so intelligent and so supportive of efforts to move Oneida County forward. At the same time I count him as a friend and fellow basketball player. I know his passing is a loss to you all, but please know that I feel his loss also. Mike Gapin
My sincere condolences to the Damsky family. Many find memories with Mike and Evy at the life underwriter conventions throughout New York State. He was a gentleman and a professional always. I learned a lot from him. May he rest in peace.
What a pleasure it was to know Mike and to spend time with him and his family, especially in Old Forge with Wendy and Brian. Mike was impressive in his achievements both at work and at play, his commitment to the community, and most of all the role model he was as a father and grandfather. He gave it his all, and it is good that he is now at peace, as hard as it is for those he leaves behind.
Judy Owens-Manley & Brian Manley
It was a privilege to have worked with Mike on a variety of business situations over many years. MIke carried himself at all times with dignity, honesty, honor and professionalism. A true credit to his profession. Sympathies to his family.
My condolences to the Damsky family. May you find comfort in happy memories of Mr. Damsky. Godspeed.
It was a privilege to work with Mike during my time as CEO of Utica First. He was one of the finest men I have ever met. May he Rest In Peace
Michael will be missed. He was one of the good guys! We are less without him.
Domenic P Aiello