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NYSERDA honors Parker Mathusa

A man's name well known around the town of Bethlehem now graces the boardroom of one of state's most well-known agencies.

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and Development Authority (NYSERDA) held a dedication ceremony to Parker D. Mathusa on Tuesday, April 14, at its main office on Columbia Circle in Albany. The boardroom of the Albany headquarters for NYSERDA is now officially named after the Bethlehem native.

Mathusa was the town's former Planning Board chairman, a title and a role he both cherished and was honored by, but he played a much larger role in both New York and U.S. history.

Born on April 5, 1938, in Cedar Hill, Mathusa left behind a legacy that includes building nuclear plants in Alaska, Las Vagas, San Fransico, and Boston; assisting in building a propulsion system for the first Mars orbiter; a 38-year career in energy management at the Public Service Commission; working in various capacities at NYSERSA since 1978; and assisting in the building of the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, The USS Enterprise.

At the age of 70, Mathusa lost a battle with ALS also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease on Sunday, Nov. 16, 2008, at his Delmar home.

"I am so pleased that we are joined here today by Parker's wife Polly, his daughters Heather, Ashlee, Bethany, and Elise, their spouses and all of Parker and Polly's grandchildren," NYSERDA Chairman Vicent Delorio said at the dedication."

NYSERDA board members Liz Thorndike, Garry Brown and Pete Grannis joined Mathusa's family. Also in attendance were past presidents such as Bill Valentino, Bill Flynn, Pete Smith and Congressman Paul Tonko.

Albany County Executive Mike Breslin and Bethlehem Supervisor Jack Cunningham were also on hand for the dedication, as was former employees Joe Visalli, Gunnar Walmet, Jean Woodard and Paul DeCotis and other NYSERDA staff.

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