Andy Ray Campanaro Aug. 17, 1943 — June 2, 2012
Author and former Adirondack Journal columnist Andy Ray Campanaro, 68, who was raised in Chestertown, died June 2, 2012 in the Halifax Health Hospice facility, Orange City, Fla., of congestive heart failure after living an adventurous, freewheeling life.
An author of several books and hundreds of news articles and columns, Campanaro was known to people in northern Warren County for his colorful accounts of life growing up in the Chestertown area.
Most of these stories were published, from the late 1980s through early 1990s, in his Voice from the Wilderness column for the Adirondack Journal.
Andy Ray Campanaro was born Aug. 17, 1943 in Glens Falls to Thelma Elaine Smith and Angelo Campanaro.
An avid reader since he was in primary school, Campanaro’s writing career began at the age of 10, writing articles for Kurt Rhode's weekly Chestertown summer newspaper.
He graduated from Chestertown High School in 1960, and received a degree the following May from Royal Barber School of Schenectady Shortly after, he worked with his father barbering in Chestertown until entering the U.S. Army in February, 1962. Campanaro married Flora Jane Morehouse Sept 1, 1962 in St. Cecilia's Catholic Church in Warrensburg.
He served in the U.S. Army overseas and in New York City in ordnance and military intelligence until 1965.
After leaving the Army, Campanaro attended Daytona Beach Junior College where he started to develop his pungent, concise writing style. He wrote for various literary magazines and newspapers including the Daytona Beach News-Journal. He published his first work of fiction in 1968.
In 1969, Campanaro worked for the Daytona Beach News-Journal as a police reporter. Later, he attended Florida State University where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree while working part-time for several newspapers, including The Orlando Sentinel, and the Tampa Tribune.
After graduating from FSU in 1972, he served briefly as a correspondent for the Glens Falls Post-Star. After working for several other newspapers, he changed careers in 1978 and sold farm machinery in the Florida Everglades. That same year, he married Catherine Janean Gilbert in West Palm Beach, Fla.
At the age of 43, he went back to school to continue studies in writing and literature at the University of Central Florida, with a goal of writing a book. In 1989 he earned a Master’s Degree and the next year, published the novel “Candle in the Rain.”
Besides his parents, Campanaro is predeceased by his sister Patricia Frazier and son Angelo Campanaro. He is survived by his daughters Janie Lee Campanaro-Burnham and Monica Lynn Campanaro-Potter — both of of Lake Luzerne; his son Scott James Campanaro of Colorado Springs, Colo.; and his grandchildren Renee Burnham, Alesha Burnham, Zackery Potter, Brandon Potter and Connor Campanaro.
In later years, Campanaro represented AA as a recovered alcoholic, speaking at various gatherings, organizing AA groups, sponsoring many members. Also, he was a motorcycle enthusiast, riding with the AMA 200 family riding club.
Campanaro’s primary interests in life were writing, rock ‘n roll, women and motorcycles, his daughters said this week.
Campanaro’s latest book, “Another World, Another Time (2005) focusing on his upbringing in Chestertown, may still be available through local stores.
Donations in Campanaro’s memory may be made to Halifax Health Hospice of Volusia/Flagler.
Campanaro’s daughters are planning to have his remains returned to Brant Lake and buried in a local cemetery, adjacent to where his mother and father are buried.