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Howard Okusko

Obituary of Howard W. Okusko

Vernon-Howard W. Okusko Sr., age 86, a longtime resident and local horseman of Vernon Downs passed away Thursday afternoon May 20, 2021 in St. Elizabeth's Medical Center after a brief illness. He was born on January 9, 1935 in Utica, NY a son of the late William and Ethel Okusko and attended St. Francis De Sales School. He proudly served his country with the United State Marine Corp from 1953-1955 when he was honorably discharged. On July 23, 1955 Howard and Carol Robinson were united in marriage in Utica, New York and shared that vow of only days short of sixty-four years together until Carol's death on July 15, 2019. In his early career Howard along with his wife Carol operated the Utica Dry Cleaning Company and then the Utica Paint Company and later worked for Associated Transport. Later on the couple became involved with harness racing at Vernon Downs and operated a very successful stable. Howard was a trainer and driver for many years for the Dan Garnett Stable and many other prominent horse owners in central New York and campaigned memorable horses like Lotto S Collins and their own Donna's Girl. Howard was a member of the USTA, Saratoga Harness Horse Association and was a very active member of the HHACNY. Howard was a driving force of the association and a great advocate for the local horse men and horse woman and the sport of harness racing. He was not only a talented horseman but was also an all-around good guy with a big smile and was always willing to help anyone in need of a hand. Surviving are two sons and daughters-in-law, Billy (Shawn) Okusko of Sherrill and Howard Jr. (Jessica) Okusko of Vernon, granddaughter Candice (John) Phelps, grandson, Jan (Casey) Okusko, great-grandchildren Layne, Elin, Mila, Jameson, Josephine and Jasper, also grandchildren Austin (Liz) Garofalo, Oliver, Kayla and Blair Prentice and Derek Bryant (Veronica). Also surviving are nieces; Cheryl VanSlake, Debbie Canatales, Diane De'Amora and nephews John Robinson, Bob MaGee and John MaGee and special friends, Liz Chandler, Rick Papa, Nelly Garnsey, Collen Carlson and Hope Mahady. Howard was predeceased by his daughter Shari L. Okusko, and his wife Carol, his parents William and Ethel Okusko, in-laws John and Gertrude Robinson, brother-in-law John (Joyce) Robinson, in-laws, and Jack and Joan MaGee. Family and friends are invited to call on Sunday, May 23, 2021 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. at the Malecki Funeral Home Inc., 23 Front Street, Vernon, NY. Private burial will be at a later date in New Forest Cemetery, Utica, NY. Online condolences may be sent to
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Visitation at Funeral Home

2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Sunday, May 23, 2021
Malecki Funeral Home Inc.
23 Front Street
Vernon, New York, United States