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Richard J. Witko

Posted By Hans Funeral Home On May 6, 2019 @ 7:43 am In Obituary | 15 Comments


NEW SCOTLAND – Richard J. Witko, 72, formerly of the Town of New Scotland, passed away peacefully on May 3, 2019 at the Teresian House after living with dementia for several years.

Dick was born in Albany, the son of the late John Witko and Loretta Hoeltzel Witko. He lived in the area all his life, except during his time in the U.S Air Force. He grew up on Russell Road when it was more country than city and where his dad had a baseball field on their property for neighborhood kids, as Dick always loved baseball. He graduated from St. Margaret Mary’s grade school.

He was a proud 1965 graduate of Vincentian Institute where he played football, basketball and baseball. Dick received his degree in political science in 1969 at State University at Albany. College also provided many lessons on how to live life to its fullest, especially with his Potter Club fraternity brothers. After graduating, he served as a pilot in the U.S. Air Force as a Captain during the Vietnam War from 1969-1974 at Webb Air Base in Texas, Castle Air Force Base in California and Plattsburgh Air Base in New York. Dick returned to Albany, and lived on Brookline Ave. and State St. across from Washington Park until moving to the Town of New Scotland where he enjoyed the beauty of his Diamond Hill Road property for nearly thirty years. Dick knew growing up that he wanted to be a state worker and that is what he pursued. He was employed as a Medicare/Medicaid Specialist at the New York State Departments of Social Services and Health, retiring in 2003.

Most who knew Dick have stories about an interesting, fun and crazy time. Dick loved a good time and enjoyed the pleasures life has to offer with friends and family. Some of his favorite things were: being outside on a beautiful day especially in Thacher Park; partying with rock music blaring; hanging with the boys; politics and sports (Jets and Yankees fan); and champagne which he drank every Friday. As his signature drink, he’d bring the bubbly to celebrations, including all the Femia/Meehan holiday gatherings he enjoyed so much. He started a tradition that will continue.

Dick’s mantra was to be positive, confident, and to have good self-esteem, which he frequently told his children. This life philosophy is now being passed on to his granddaughters. His spirit and love of life will carry on.

Dick is survived by his daughter Amy Savoie and her husband Dave; his son Christopher Witko and his wife Rebecca; his granddaughters Alexis and Caitlin Savoie, and Sarah and Rachel Witko; his sister Joan Irish and her children Kelly and Raymond; his former wives Gail Femia Meehan (husband Bill), and Sally Mills; his children’s half-sister Jill Meehan Burke; and by many brothers and sisters in law and nieces and nephews through his previous marriages.

Funeral services will be held in the Hans Funeral Home, 1088 Western Ave., Albany, Wednesday May 8 evening at 7:00 p.m. Relatives and friends are invited, and may call at the funeral home Wednesday prior to the service from 4-7 p.m. Interment will be at the Gerald B. H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery in Schuylerville at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, May 9.

The family suggests memorial contributions to the Feed and Read (FAR) Program, Albany Fund for Education, PO Box 3110, Albany, NY 12203 or https://www.thealbanyfundforeducation.org/admissions . Dick supported this weekend backpack food and literacy program from the time it was only a concept to combat childhood hunger and would be happy to support the over 600 children it helps. To leave a message of condolence for the family or obtain directions to the funeral home, please visit www.HansFuneralHome.com .

Condolences for the family of “Richard J. Witko”

Condolence from Beth Vogel on May 6th, 2019 8:57 am

I am so sorry for your loss, Amy. Keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

Condolence from Marguerite and Grace on May 6th, 2019 11:25 am

I am so sorry Amy for your loss. Since moving to Albany in 2012, I marveled at your strength and commitment of care you demonstrated 24 hours per day to make sure he was comfortable and safe.
I am hoping you and all of your family members can find strength and hope during this time.

Condolence from Susan Witko Plunket on May 6th, 2019 11:38 am

To all Dick’s family – my sincere condolences. And to you Dick – Godspeed. I will remember you in my prayers. Thank you for all the fun games of Monopoly, Scrabble and Clue through all the Sunday afternoons of our childhood at Grandma and Grandpa’s.

Condolence from Ned Guild Webb AFB UPT 71-04 on May 6th, 2019 12:09 pm

12 o’clock high!

Condolence from Jack McGeough Webb AFB UPT Class 71-04 on May 6th, 2019 2:39 pm

My condolences to the family. Fly high, Dick.

Condolence from Kevin Hicks on May 6th, 2019 5:11 pm

Champagne Dick, The Captain, The Nitwit, The Witness and a few others. The nicknames the boys of the LaSerre Frogs and Larry’s Foriegn Auto softball fame gave you, wish you Godspeed and Pleasant dreams for all eternity.

Condolence from FRANK J. PANUCCI on May 7th, 2019 5:52 am

My deepest condolences to Amy, David, Sally & families. Mike and I had the pleasure of seeing Dick weekly for many years. after his retirement. We always looked forward to seeing him & having a great time. We enjoyed going to NY JET games and tailgating.

It was terribly sad watching Dick decline and hopefully he is now in a better place. We are sure there is a bottle of champagne waiting for you our friend.

Rest in peace Captain we will NEVER forget you.

Condolence from Jana Femia on May 7th, 2019 7:22 am

Amy and Chris,
My deepest sympathy is with you. I have many fond memories of your Dad. Amy I so admire the respectful, and skilful care you gave your Dad over their years. It was a long and heartbreaking journey and you did it with compassion and grace. Your Dad will be missed at all our family gatherings and his zest for life will live on. Love, Aunt Jana

Condolence from Buck Buchanan on May 7th, 2019 7:40 am

Amy, Our sincere condolences from Buck and Gloria Buchanan in Valier, MT. I was class commander of 71-04 and in the “other” section.
We lived in Alaska until a couple years ago so we were out of touch.
Kind regards, Buck

Condolence from Tom Revitt on May 7th, 2019 11:54 am

“Goin where the sun keeps shining through the pouring rain” …..Squadron 1 OTS Lackland AFB, Webb AFB Big Spring Tx, Plattsburgh NY and Albany NY. Now as then brother, always a way through……God bless your family, every single one.

Condolence from Ed Yanni on May 7th, 2019 5:09 pm

My condolences to Dick’s family. I sat in back of Dick for most of our years in VI. We had some good times and even managed to get into a little trouble. RIP Dick

Condolence from Tina Vogel on May 8th, 2019 12:08 pm

Amy, My deepest sympathy is with you and your family. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers. I hope your dad is at peace now and he is enjoying a bottle of champagne.

Condolence from Blanche (Barney) Branton on May 8th, 2019 12:34 pm

I grew up across the street from the Witko family. Richard was my childhood friend straight thru to high school graduation. We lost touch when he went into the Air Force and I went away to college. He was always kind, and a good friend. I am so sorry for your loss and I will keep you all in my prayers.

Condolence from Margaret St.Onge on May 8th, 2019 3:44 pm

To the family of Richard Witko;
Joe St.Onge and myself , his wife Peg , are saddened by the loss of Richard. He was in our wedding almost 52 years ago and was a friend of Joe’s growing up on Russell Rd . They also shared a love of baseball. May Richard rest in heavenly piece.

Condolence from William Shea on May 14th, 2019 11:51 am

Hey Wit Rest in Peace. Thanks for the warm friendship and shenanigans we shared with “Grendel” (Paul Shay) from VI to our young adult years. Pick up Geoff Trimble as your wingman in your new glidepath!

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