Schoharie County lost an honored businessman and quiet philanthropist this week when Martin A. Galasso died on New Year’s Day.
Galasso, 74, a Navy veteran, died unexpectedly after a brief illness.
He spent many years at the helm of the family business, Lancaster Development, which got its start in 1947 near Buffalo before moving to Cobleskill, then to Richmondville.
He retired in 2001.
“I’ve been blessed to meet a lot of people in my life and I don’t hold any of them higher than him,” said his son, Mark, now president of the company.
Lancaster Development, which builds roads and bridges, employs as many as 250 people during the construction season, Mark Galasso said.
“He lived a great, long, full, happy life and affected a lot of people around him in a positive way,” he said.
He said his father’s work ethic was unmatched. He worked “seven days a week as long as I can remember. He worked harder than anyone I’ve met,” his son recalled .
Martin Galasso was a smart businessman, said Alicia Terry, who heads Schoharie County’s planning and economic development department.
“He really took that business and grew it,” Terry said.
He shared his success with the community, Terry said, but not for recognition, something he shunned.
“Part of his legacy was he was very sincere about what he believed in. If he believed in it, he was willing to support it generously, yet he did not want the publicity,” Terry said.
Mark Galasso, former mayor of the village of Cobleskill, said his father’s support extended to so many charities and efforts that they were “too numerous to even mention.”
He said his father heavily supported the ARC, Hospice, Head Start and the Schoharie County Marathon for a Better Life.
He said his father went out of his way to help others learn.
“If there was one way to summarize him that affected the most people, it would be mentor. He helped and taught more people in more ways and more things than most anybody I’ve ever heard of,” Galasso said.
Services are planned for Wednesday at St. Vincent De Paul Catholic Church in Cobleskill.