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Anthony J. Symasko
April 3, 1949 ~ April 4, 2023 (age 74) 74 Years Old
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Anthony J. Symasko III of Dartmouth Street, Holyoke, Professor, Environmental Advocate, and Local School Program Coordinator who ended his working career as the Environmental Educator at Arcadia Nature Center and Wildlife Sanctuary in Easthampton MA died on Tuesday, 4 April, at home surrounded by caregivers, friends and family. He was 74. Born and schooled in Holyoke, Anthony was a Communicant at Mater Dolorosa Church, later Our Lady of the Cross. He was a 1969 graduate of Paul Smiths College in Paul Smiths NY with a Degree in Applied Science and Forestry and a 1972 graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst with a B.S. Degree in Wildlife Management with a Minor in Zoology. He served on many local, State and National Boards, and was named a National Catholic Elementary Educator. He was a Visiting Adjunct Professor at Elms College, Springfield College, Westfield State College and American International College authoring curriculum for Graduate courses in Environmental Science and Ecological Studies. He brought the outdoors indoors. Anthony was an avid outdoorsman, hunter, fisherman, tracker, and skier and a member of the National Ski Patrol at Killington. He was happiest outdoors and sharing the wonders of the natural environment with young and old. His efforts with young scholars were recognized with the Holyoke Public Schools 2000 Achievement Award, The Excellence in Environment Award from the State Executive Office of Environmental Education and, he was named a National Catholic Elementary School Educator of year. He could tell the underlying story of every leaf, stone and track and he brought the joys of nature to collegians as well as young urban school students. As an Air Force veteran, he Enlisted and earned his Staff Sargent Stripes, trusted with Top Secret Clearance, and was assigned to Westover Field, a Strategic Air Force Command (SAC) during the Vietnam War where he served as the Administrative Supervisor to the Base Commander. After the Air Force, he was a Salesman for Williams Distributing Company of Springfield handling their Budweiser Accounts in the Berkshires not far from his ‘’top secret fishing spots’’. Later heeding the call of the outdoors, he became the Director of Interpretation and Primary Outdoor Instructor at the Oxbow Audubon Center in Easthampton Massachusetts. During this period, he was appointed to the Holyoke Conservation Commission as their Environmental and Ecological expert providing critical guidance to the City, implementing newly promulgated State and Federal Environmental Legislation. Also in Holyoke, he conceived and spearheaded the city-wide youth Environmental Program with workshops that brought the wilderness to the City, one of the first to effectively work with recently arrived Hispanic youths introducing them to the wonders of the urban flora and fauna around them. He was predeceased by his parents, Anthony J. and Wanda K. Symasko. He leaves his older Brother Peter, an architect, and his wife, Maria of Cape Cod and Southampton NY, his nieces Victoria Hooton of Cape Cod and Patricia of Los Vegas NV as well as and numerous Symasko, Ostrowski, Zwirko, Lambert and Calkins cousins, colleagues and outdoor companions in the local area. Anthony will be remembered for his magnanimous character and dedication to the Lord’s domain we call nature as well as his feisty and heroic will to live to the end. We thank all for caring. Visiting Hours will be in the morning from 9 to 1030 AM at the Dillon Funeral Home in Holyoke, followed by a 1100 AM Requiem Mass at Our Lady of the Cross and Burial with his parents in The Symasko Family Plot at the Mater Dolorosa Cemetery in South Hadley.