ALBANY, NY – Dr. Russell F. Mankes, 71 of Guilderland, passed away unexpectedly on September 5, 2020. Born in Niskayuna, he was the only son of the late Frank P. and Venona M. Mankes. He was raised in Rotterdam, graduating from Draper High School then obtaining a bachelor’s in Biology from SUNY Albany in 1971. Following college, he received a doctoral degree from Albany Medical College in Experimental Pathology and Toxicology in 1977. Following a year in Summit, NJ, where he worked for Ciba Geigy Pharmaceuticals, he returned to the Albany Medical College Institute of Experimental Pathology and Toxicology, first as a Doctoral Fellow then as a Research Assistant Professor. In 1985 he was appointed an Associate Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology. Additional roles at Albany Medical Center included his appointment as Chairman of the Albany Medical Center Controlled Substances Governing Board and the Responsible Facility Official in the Department of Health & Safety. He retired in 2011.
Over the years, Russ authored numerous scientific publications and book chapters. While his early research focused on birth defects stemming from fetal alcohol syndrome and pesticide toxicity, later endeavors focused on infective agents and pharmaceutical pollution prevention. Despite significant health issues, he continued to collaborate with other researchers and publish papers well into retirement. He also loved to teach throughout the entirety of his life, whether it be to the medical or graduate students he met as a professor at Albany Medical College, several of whom he continued to mentor decades later; his daughter, fostering a career in medicine; his son, providing him with the practical skills needed to fix anything around the house; or his nieces and grandchildren, guiding them through everything from understanding their science homework to working a microscope or learning the art of catching a fish.
A devoted husband, father, and “poppy”, Russ is survived by his wife of 48 years, Karen, whom he met in college; his children Kristina (Nicholas) Roddy and Gregory (Erin) Mankes; and his loving grandchildren, Sean, Sonja, Kevin and Lukas. He is also survived by his sister-in-law Francine (John) Mantyh and his very special nieces, Emma and Kate. He will be missed by all.
At the time of his death, Russ was on the kidney transplant list for five years. He fought valiantly and wanted nothing more than to have more time with his family and to see his grandchildren grow. In his memory, his family asks that you consider registering to become an organ donor at donatelife.ny.gov.
In keeping with his wishes and his love of teaching, his body has been donated to the Anatomical Gift Program at Albany Medical Center. Due to the COVID pandemic, a private memorial service will be held. In lieu of other gestures, we ask that you consider a donation in Russ’ memory to Doctors Without Borders USA, P.O. Box 5030, Hagerstown, MD 21741-5030. To leave a message of condolence for the family, please visit www.HansFuneralHome.com .
Dennis and Carol Maher
Karen, Greg and Chris, we send our love and heartfelt sympathy to you.
To the entire Mankes family,
I worked with Russ at AMC for many years and always found him to be very kind man. He was very intelligent and always very willing to help when needed. I have often thought about him since we have both retired. I’m so sorry to hear of his passing. He was a very unique individual and will missed by many. Please accept my deepest sympathies.
Dear Karen, Kristina and Greg,
So sorry for your loss. It has been a long and courageous journey for all of you. Our prayers are with you.
John and Janice Smircich
Wayne and Cynthia Schneider
Dear Karen, Kristina and Greg,
We have such warm memories of Russ during those seasons of Youth Hockey when the two Gregs played together. Russ was always fun to be with and we were so glad to have had the opportunity to share that time with him.
With deepest sympathy.
Wayne and Cynthia Schneider
Russ was such a good man. We were classmates at Draper and it’s been decades since we last spoke. Interacted on FB but was not aware of how sick he was and am so sorry for your lose. Respectfully
I am so sorry for your loss. I learned so much from Russ during my years at Albany Med. During my 10 years working with him, he always beamed with love and pride when he spoke of his family.
I worked for many years with Russ at AMC, he mentored me during the years we worked together. He always had something to teach me . I think that is why I still have the stuffed animals he gave me of Ebola and E. Coli displayed on my shelf. We shared memorable family stories often of our children and grandchildren over the years.
I pray you will find peace in knowing that he was a special man that touched many.
I was a classmate of Russ’s at Draper. We had a lot of good times, and I have great memories of our high school days. Russ was very smart in school and used the smarts to help others through his work. I am very sorry for your family’s loss. May your loving memories see you through this trying time. RIP Russ.
Marilyn and Stan Kaltenborn
We know it has been a very long time since we have been in touch, but we want to let you know that we are thinking of you and your family at this most difficult time.
We read the Russ’s obituary and think it is a wonderful tribute to him and his many years of teaching and mentoring.
We have very fond memories of the times we spent together.
Greg, I was so sorry to hear about your father. Your family will be in my prayers.
Christine F. DeSorbo
Dear Karen and Family,
We are saddened by the news of Russ’s passing. Please accept our prayers and sympathy at this difficult time.
Though we haven’t seen you for quite a few years, we all fondly remember the years at Guilderland schools and St. Margaret Mary with your family.
John, Chris, Doug and Blake DeSorbo
I remember Russ from the early days, the warmth of his smile. He was a wonderful person. Such a loss.
May it help you to know that your friends are thinking of you with love.
I was so sorry to hear of Russ’s passing. I worked closely with him at Albany Med in the Health & Safety Department.
He was a great mentor and reference regarding the field of hazardous materials. I use to joke with him that he was a “walking MSDS/SDS” (Chemical reference). May he be at peace.
Karen, Kristina, Greg and family,
I am saddened by and sorry to learn of Russ’ passing. I pray that, in spirit, Russ will continue to guide you with love, and that your family’s joyful memories and thoughts of love and laughter shared will carry you through this difficult time. May God bless and comfort you. Michael Sims.