Qualified, compassionate, caring and community minded are only a few words that describe Mike Blasl, the Chatham funeral director and funeral business owner who has been dedicated to his profession for forty years and is running for Columbia County Coroner in November. Mike was born and raised in the Bronx where he attended Holy Family Grammar School and St Raymond’s High School. He began his extensive career working in the funeral business from when he was a teen. While in high school, Mike was involved in various leadership and civic organizations including being a participant in the prestigious leadership program of Boys State, drama with leading roles in numerous Broadway musicals and adapted plays, forensics winning several national competitions, and varsity ice hockey. He is a natural leader, a team player, determined and sincere man who has an embedded core value system which includes not only his love of community but deep love for his family who includes his beautiful and accomplished wife, Dawn-Marie Vittoria who is presently the Transitional Studies Chair, Associate Professor, and Director of College-in-the-High School at Columbia-Greene Community College and a Manhattan College and NYU graduate; their hardworking son, Michael, a Chatham High School graduate who attended Suny Albany and is working as a restaurant manager and their loyal companions, Daisy and Lillie.
Mike has lifelong connections to upstate New York. From a youth, he was a member of the Aquinas Council Knights of Columbus Squires, and the Boy Scout Explorers allowing for camping and skiing experiences while visiting majestic upstate New York regularly and frequently. With these experiences, he decided that he eventually wanted to settle in upstate New York. He first attended Herkimer County Community College specializing in Mortuary Sciences and was the President of the Mortuary Science Society. His great grandmother married a gentleman that settled in Chatham, New York in 1851. Columbia County was where he was determined to build his life and eventually a funeral business when he was older. In 2004, this dream came true when he and his wife left secure jobs, sold their Westchester County home and, using their life savings, purchased French, Gifford & Preiter Funeral Home in Chatham where they would build a business and become part of a beautiful, close knit and supportive community.
Growing up with two hard working first and second generation American parents, Mike knows and values hard work, education, family and community. The families he is so honored to serve becomes his extended family. There isn’t anything that he wouldn’t do to help them during their time of loss and grief. After completing his education with a degree from American Academy McAllister Institute of Mortuary Sciences, Mike managed numerous funeral homes while always working a second job of having his own small business. Over the course of his long career, Mike has been involved with over 15,000 cases of loss, grief and profound tragedies working with families, loved ones and communities at large. Mike has worked first hand with numerous families from 9/11, the crash of 587 in the Rockaways and with murder cases, car accidents, suicides and catastrophic events too numerous to mention. All the families he serves are always close to Mike’s heart and never forgotten for he was the first person to care for the grieving loved ones when they first experienced their grave and life changing losses. To this day, many families remain in contact with Mike and are deeply touched with gratitude and respect for what he did for them during their darkest hours. To Mike, his career is a twenty four hour, seven day a week calling and that remains true for the position of Columbia County Coroner.
Mike’s commitment to community involvement goes deeper than his profession and the families he serves. Since a young man, he has been involved in numerous civic organizations, community based organizations, volunteering his time and energy with a firm belief of helping others and supporting the community. Before moving to Columbia County, he has been a Past Grand Knight and member of the Aquinas Council Knights of Columbus and currently remains a member in good standing, Vice President of the 47th Precinct Community Council, Yonkers Board of Education Board Member, 757 Club President and Cresthaven Community Council Vice President. With his firm beliefs and strong commitment to the community, Mike immediately got involved in various organizations and has volunteered endless hours to the following organizations in Columbia County when he and his wife and their son relocated to Chatham. They are as follows: the Kinderhook Elks, Columbia County 50’s Group Club, Chatham Lions (member and past Secretary), Chatham Lions Foundation (current Treasurer), the Ocean Fire Company (Chatham) serving as the Treasurer since 2006, Board Member of the Tracy Foundation, President of Friends of the Tracy, and Board Member of the Payne Home. Mike is also a member of St. James Parish.