Donald Mark Petro, 79, of Niskayuna and Lake Placid passed away peacefully February 14, 2012 at home with his wife and family at his side.
Born in Schenectady, NY on August 23rd, 1932, he was fifth of six children born to Michael and Catherine Petro.
He grew up in Mount Pleasant and graduated from Mount Pleasant High School, Class of 1950. Don moved on to Siena College as a commuter with several of his friends, many of whom he remained in close contact with for a lifetime. He studied business with the help of ROTC and graduated in 1954 with his commission as 1st Lieutenant in the Army, reporting to Fort Sill with his Siena friends.
His love for skiing started at Mt Pleasant on the ski team, and remained a passion throughout his life. Donald was a Certified Professional Ski Instructor in 1959 and was founder and director of the North Creek Ski School, and later at Hickory Hill Ski Center. He imparted his enthusiasm for skiing to hundreds, young and old. Generations later, Don's influence remains a fixture of modern ski technique throughout the region. Don was especially pleased that his grandchildren inherited his passion for skiing.
Don started his professional career in insurance with the Glens Falls Insurance company in 1957. He was a "field man" with the Glens Falls, where he learned the property and casualty insurance business. Don connected with one of his agents in North Troy, who took him in as partner in the Reginald Carignan Agency in 1962. Don took over the agency in 1967 and over the next 30 years built his business and stellar reputation as an "insurance man's insurance man". Hard work and unwillingness to compromise defined Don's working life, as well as his outside interests of cycling, skiing, hunting, fishing with his grandchildren, and fine woodworking. He loved the Adirondacks, especially Minerva and Lake Placid, where he spent summers and ski seasons with his much adored family. Don's smiling face and exceptional sense of humor were cherished by all who knew him. He was a talented mentor with a generous heart.
He was a long standing member and Director of the Lansingburgh Boys & Girls Club.
Don is survived by his wife Joan (Jay) Harrington Petro. They met at a ski lodge in NH and were married in Colonie on November 11, 1961. They recently celebrated 50 married years. He also leaves his two sons, Alec Petro (Leah Conti), and their children, Christian, Grace, Benjamin, of Duxbury, MA, and Matthew Petro (Amy Flannery), and their two daughters, Sara and Hanna, of Rexford, NY. and his beloved dog, Max. Don is also survived by his brother Tom (Balbina) Petro, two sisters - Betty Woodrow, of Charlotte, NC., and Catherine Licata, of Dayton, OH., brother-in-law Dr. Gerald Terry of Niskayuna, NY., sister-in-law, Jane Harrington, of Clifton Park, NY and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
He was predeceased by his brother Peter, of Florida and sister, Dorothy Terry.
Don was a 45 year survivor of Type 1 diabetes and was able to be well and active throughout almost all of that time. He was fortunate enough to have outstanding doctors, especially those in recent years who were part of his "team". We would like to thank Dr. Tom Schumacher and the caring nurses and social worker at the Peritoneal Dialysis Center in Schenectady; Dr. Gary Dunkerley, "main man"; endrocrinologist, Dr. Greg Gerety; Dr. Vincent Luvera of the Wound Care Center and Dr. Craig Peterson. His dedicated caregivers were outstanding and along with the Hospice Team made the difficult times more doable. We are so grateful.
The family will welcome friends during calling hours at Jones Funeral Home, 1503 Union St., (at McClellan St.), Schenectady on Friday, Feb. 17 from 4 to 8 p.m. A Catholic Mass will be held at St. Helen's Church, 1803 Union St., Schenectady at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 18
In lieu of flowers those who wish to honor Don's memory may contribute to the Donald and Jay Petro Scholarship at Siena College Development, 515 Loudon Road, Loudonville, NY 12211. For directions and online condolences, please visit www.jonesfh.net