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Dante J. (Dan) Orsini

Man with white hair wearing a collared shirt

Dante (Dan) Orsini

A 1939 South High post graduate, Dante J. (Dan) Orsini served as deputy mayor and Village Board member in his hometown of South Glens Falls from 1955 to 1970, but his community activities were not limited to elected office. A long-time member of the South Glens Falls Rotary Club and St. Michael’s Church, Mr. Orsini served and continues to serve such organizations as the American Legion, the Chamber of Commerce, the United Way, the YMCA, the Boy Scouts and the Marine Corps League. A member of the South Glens Falls Rotary Club since 1961, Dan served as president in 1967-68 and has been the club’s secretary for more than 30 years. He was also chairman of the District Governor Selection Committee, assisted in four district conferences, and was the governor’s representative six times. A Paul Harris Fellow, Dan was named Rotarian of the Year in 1988 and Rotarian of the Decade in 2001.

He chaired the Tri-County Water Pollution Abatement program from 1966-71, and was cited for his efforts in 1968 by Governor Nelson Rockefeller. He chaired the first Earth Day in the area in 1970.

A 1938 graduate of St. Mary’s Academy, Dan then attended South High, where he played football and basketball for the Bulldogs before graduating in 1939. He played on the first 6-man football team under Coach Pete Hatch.

In 1940, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps, where as Sgt. Major of the 1st Marine Division, Dan participated in the invasion of Guam and the invasion of Okinawa and also served six months in China. He was present when the United States Flag was raised after the taking of Guam, capturing the moment with a photo that he still has to this day.

During his distinguished military service, Dan also served on President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s security detail, witnessing President Roosevelt’s “Day of Infamy” speech after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and received a letter of commendation for his work with a Special Forces unit.

“I got to know President Roosevelt pretty well,” he recalled, traveling with him to the “little White House” in Warm Springs, Georgia on several occasions.

Shortly before he was honorably discharged in 1946, Dan received the Order of the Cloud and Banner from Chinese leader Chaing Kai Shek.

“Once again, I was in the right place at the right time,” he said.

After returning home, Dan retired from Scott Paper after 34 years of service, and then served Congressman Jerry Solomon in the Glens Falls office for 18 years. A lifelong Republican, Dan still serves as chairman of the board of directors of the Solomon Foundation, which awards grants to local Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops. He also volunteers for State Senator Betty Little, and is also a lifelong blood donor, one of the area’s most generous, donating 114 pints.

In 2001, Dan spoke at a World War II Veterans Recognition Ceremony and presentation of diplomas at South High, and the following year, he spoke at the Korean War Veterans Recognition Ceremony.

In May, he was grand marshal of the South Glens Falls Memorial Day Parade, and in November, he will be grand marshal of the South Glens Falls Holiday Parade.

The New York State Senate and Assembly honored Dan after his 90th birthday in May. Dan and his wife of 64 years, Hazel, have four children, five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.