PLATTSBURGH — Alan James Burczak died at home at 4:05 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 30, 2006.
He was gently held in a last loving embrace by his wife and partner of 36 years, Lucy Burczak, surrounded by his loving daughters, Ashley and Layla Burczak and a special family friend, Diane LaBombard.
Born Sept. 23, 1947, in Glen Cove, N.Y., he was the son of Stephen and Irene (Ignatowski) Burczak and attended Cold Spring Harbor High School where he was an outstanding athlete in football and lacrosse. He continued to be a star athlete at Ithaca College where he obtained a bachelor's degree in history.
After college graduation, he attended law school at the University of Buffalo, earning honors grades there and a Juris Doctor in June 1974. He was admitted to the New York State Bar in March 1975 and went into private practice at a Buffalo, N.Y., firm specializing in marine law. He later joined state government service as a staff attorney at the Adirondack Park Agency before serving as law clerk for Supreme Court Judge Norman L. Harvey.
He was later appointed to be regional office head of the North Country's Attorney General's Office, where he served New York Attorney General Robert Abrams for 14 and a half years as assistant attorney general, in charge of the Plattsburgh Regional Office. He served with distinction and was known for his integrity, accessibility, advocacy of consumer protections and energetic pursuit of consumer fraud schemes.
After leaving the Attorney General's office, he opened an office for the private practice of law where he worked until his health recently deteriorated. He had an affinity for and was a strong advocate for children, often serving them as a law guardian.
He loved his wife and adored and was so proud of his two daughters, who idolized him. He will be greatly missed by his family and friends for his gentle nature, wry wit and great sense of humor.
Alan had a life long interest in history, geography and science. He possessed an encyclopedic knowledge of military history, especially the Civil War, the American Revolutionary War, and the Alamo. He was also interested in world history and the Zulu nation and Zulu warriors. With his keen intellect, be studied military strategy and tactics from past conflicts and was an adept player of complex and historically accurate board game simulations of these events. His opponents rarely succeeded in getting the upper hand, as he would spend many happy hours pondering and plotting his next tactical move to encircle and defeat his opponent, in board simulations that sometimes continued over several weeks. Knowledgeable of geography, he could recall the locations of even the most remote places on earth. He was keenly interested in space exploration and joked about becoming the first intergalactic lawyer. He loved rock music and the Rolling Stones. He was dedicated to physical fitness and worked out regularly for more than 26 years at the Plattsburgh YMCA where, in his final days, he was encircled by the warm and supportive Y family and by his many friends there, especially Michelle, Patti and Kelly.
Besides his daughters and wife, he is survived by a brother and sister-in-law, Stephen and Nicki Burczak of Las Cruces, N.M.; a sister and brother-in-law, Gail and Danny Fortuna of Scituate, Mass.; his nieces and nephews, Karen Fortuna Fontaine and husband Tim Fontaine and Brandon and Morgan Fontaine of Omaha, Neb., Craig Fortuna of Scituate, Kerri Fortuna Zeoli and spouse Mike Zeoli and Alexander, Benjamin and Allison Zeoli of Pembroke, Mass., Chris Fortuna and his spouse Sue and Emma, Zachary and Quinn Fortuna of Massachusetts. He is also survived by his Aunt Rae of Lutz, Fla.; and many cousins in Florida, Long Island and Connecticut. He is also survived by a mother and father-in-law, Rosa and Pedro Sanchez; and a brother-in-law and spouse, Peter and Maria Sanchez and their children Leslie, Arlene, and Peter Jr.
Memorial services will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2006, in the Emmaus Room at St. Peter's Church, located on the corner of Cornelia and North Catherine streets.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations in his name be made to Hospice of the North Country, American Cancer Society or Plattsburgh YMCA.
The R.W. Walker Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.