Damon N. “Skip” Alger, 86, of Westvale, died Friday at Francis House, holding hands with the love of his life, Kathleen “Ghee” Alger. A man of few words, Skip spoke volumes through his generosity and thoughtfulness. A cherished husband, father, beloved uncle and surrogate grandfather to dozens, Skip was a man to whom there was much more than met the eye. Meticulous and thorough, he had an eye for detail and was an excellent marksman as well as a talented cook. He loved nature and spending time outdoors. An avid skier and hunter, he enjoyed time “with the guys.” He was an Army Veteran, having served during the Cold War. Employed by the Onondaga County Dept. of Transportation for over 20 years as a snowplow driver, he took great pride in “making the roads safe for the motoring public.”
A man of many talents, Skip will be remembered most for his boundless generosity. He was the world’s best gift-giver. Remarkably thoughtful, when selecting a gift, he spent considerable time choosing exactly the right thing, often delighting the recipients with something they had not even known they wanted. When you received a gift from Skip, you knew it was the best quality and suited your needs perfectly. With every gift, he was certain to charm and surprise you.
Skip was known as the man who knew all the cool spots in upstate New York. If you planned a trip, you made sure to tell Skip. No matter where you were going, he knew the best farmstand, the best restaurant, the best waterfall, the best spot to see the sunset, and the best way to get there. He had an excellent sense of direction and loved to explore, often packing a picnic and taking a drive with his cherished wife. He took time to notice the special locations and he never forgot them.
Skip loved family, spending hours and days at family gatherings, and loved nothing more than to sit with people and get to know them. Every holiday he was sure to bring some special addition to the meal, whether it was his own homemade marshmallows, a special appetizer, deep-fried turkey, or a fruit jam he bought from that one Amish stand in the next county over. Skip’s contributions were always noticed and delicious.
Skip met his wife Ghee, in the winter of 1972, and it was love at first sight. They dated for seven years before they got married because, as Skip said, “You know, you just can’t rush into these things.” Together they built a home that was warm and welcoming, where there was always something delicious to eat and excellent conversation. Skip and Ghee spent 50 years together, and anyone who ever spent time with them could see clearly how in love they were. Ghee describes him as the best gift she ever received and will miss him “more than tongue can tell.”
Perhaps Skip’s most important trait was his unending care and open heart. While he rarely said so with words, the care for his family was unending. In his usual meticulous and thoughtful way, he was always there to step into the places he was needed. He was truly a gentle giant.
Skip was a loving father to Lisa and Todd, whom he loved dearly. He was endlessly patient with his mother-in-law in her last days and served his role as surrogate grandfather to numerous nieces and nephews with the same diligence and attention to detail he brought to everything else in his life. He will be missed more than can be expressed.
Skip is predeceased by his parents; daughter, Lisa; son, Todd; and brother, David.
Surviving are his loving wife of 44 years, Kathleen; brother, Leslie “Paul” (Lori) of Constantia; sister, Donna (Phil) Hamel of Phoenix; and several nieces and nephews and their children.
Skip’s entire family would like to express their immeasurable gratitude to the staff and volunteers at Francis House and Hospice of CNY, who took excellent care of Skip in his last days.
Relatives and friends may call Thursday, September 7 from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Buranich Funeral Home, 5431 W. Genesee St., Camillus. A funeral service will follow at 11:30 a.m. in the funeral home.
Skip will be laid to rest in St. Mary’s Cemetery, DeWitt.
In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to Francis House, 108 Michaels Ave., Syracuse, NY 13208 or to Hospice of CNY & Hospice of the Finger Lakes, 990 Seventh North St., Liverpool, NY 13088.
In memory of Skip, please drive to that one spot off the highway and take the trail to the waterfall. It’s a great spot to watch the sunset.