MILTON, NY – Frank K. Skartados, 62, a well-respected and popular New York State Assemblyman died on Sunday, April 15th from pancreatic cancer at St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital.
He is survived by his loving daughter Alyssa and brothers Russos and George (and wife Tina) both living in the United States. Other surviving family members are in Greece. Skartados is also survived by his beloved in-laws Myrna, Selma, Matt, Nivia and Rodrigo.
The seventh of eight children, Skartados was born on the Greek island of Astypalaia. At age 14, on July 4, 1970, he arrived in New York City with his mother. He became a U.S. citizen on November 24, 1976 and graduated from George Washington High School in upper Manhattan. Skartados later worked in the restaurant industry and eventually owned one.
His business savvy eventually allotted him the funds to educate himself at the State University of New York at New Paltz and he graduated with honors and a degree in Political Science. At the same time, he worked at the Commandant’s Office of the New York Military Academy in Cornwall, NY. Skartados went on to earn a master’s degree in International Studies at the State University of California at Sacramento.
He later served an internship at the United Nations Center Against Apartheid. For the next eight years he returned to the New York Military Academy to serve as chairman of the Health Department. He was also a teacher of Environmental Studies and American History.
In 2000, he made a career change and devoted his life to renovating properties in downtown Poughkeepsie, including building the Aegean Entertainment Center, the largest entertainment venue between Albany and New York City. At the same time, Skartados moved to a farm in Milton, NY where he raised goats, sheep and chickens for pleasure.
Frank Skartados’ next career move was to be elected to the New York State Assembly beginning January 2009. He temporarily lost the seat two years later by less than twenty votes. Then, in March 2012, Skartados regained the office in a special election and held it ever since, for a total of four-plus terms. Skartados’ district, the New York 104th, is in the Mid-Hudson Valley, and includes the cities of Newburgh, Beacon and Poughkeepsie and the towns of Newburgh, Marlborough and Lloyd.
He was proud to have the only district in New York whose cities and towns all border the Hudson River. As a result he focused his attention on the Hudson’s environmental protection, and helped to fund the creation of several riverside parks and trails. In addition he secured numerous grants to lower school and municipal taxes by investing in equipment, infrastructure, workforce housing and libraries.
Skartados’ popularity grew as he was elected by large majorities ranging from sixty to eighty percent of the vote. He was best known for his humble demeanor and for giving passionate speeches on issues such as education reform, support of immigrants and worker rights.
Viewing will take place at the DiDonato Funeral Services in Marlboro NY located at 1290 Route 9W on Thursday April 19 (from 2pm-4pm and 6pm-9pm), and on Friday April 20 (from 2pm-4pm and 6-8pm). A Prayer Service will take place on Friday evening at 8:30pm at the funeral home.
Funeral arrangements were entrusted to Carl J. DiDonato, Jr., of the DiDonato Funeral Service, Inc. (845)236-4300, www.didonatofuneralservice.com
(From the Poughkeepsie Journal, published on Apr. 17)