Former Charlton Town Council member and longtime community leader Damasita Miner, 78, died of injuries sustained in an auto accident Sunday, Jan. 28.
The accident occurred at 5 p.m., as Miner’s husband, Francis, 81, allegedly failed to yield the right of way while driving west on Route 67.
Witnesses at the scene said Francis Miner made a left turn onto Mann Road, entering the direct path of an oncoming Ford truck that carried a v-shaped snowplow in the elevated position. The plow struck the passenger side of the Miners’ car, sending it careening into a utility pole. Damasita was riding in the passenger seat. The couple were trapped inside until they were extricated by members of the Ballston Spa Community Ambulance and the Malta Ambulance Corps.
The Miners were airlifted to Albany Medical Center, where Damasita died shortly after her arrival from injuries sustained in the collision.
Francis Miner remains in fair condition at Albany Medical Center after sustaining head and other injuries.
Damasita was born in Buffalo, the daughter of the late Clare and Evelyn Beames. Damasita lived in Bayside until 1971, when she and her three daughters moved to Charlton. She married Francis Miner in 1974. Damasita was a town council member from 1973 to 1977, the first woman elected to office on the Charlton Town Board. She served on the board again from 1986 to 1993.
Longtime friend and current town council member Sandy Verola remembers Damasita as being a woman of strength and conviction.
She had an abundance of energy that was contagious, said Verola. `She was the one who got me interested in politics. She was my mentor.`
Damasita was a lifetime Republican. She was also involved with the town planning board and the Charlton Historical Society.
A true animal lover, Damasita ran a sheep farm with her husband for 15 years. She volunteered with the Charlton soup kitchen, Scotia-Glenville Senior Center and participated in the breakfasts at the Empire State Aeroscience Museum, where her husband was involved. She enjoyed traveling, crafts, gardening, playing cards and walking her dog.
Charlton Supervisor Alan Grattidge credits Damasita with stirring up early interest in preserving the small-town flavor of Charlton.
`At the time of her council service, the board was wrestling with ordinances and zoning to keep things appropriate with the sizes of our lots,` said Grattidge. `There was a focus on keeping things rural and agricultural. The town was developing quickly, and we were the first town in the area to start looking at zoning in the 1980s. We headed off problems before they had a chance to start.`
Along with her husband, Damasita is survived by daughters, Kathleen Hole of Portsmouth, R.I.; Damasita Sanchez of Niskayuna; brothers, Clare F. Beames III of Schenectady; Tom Beames of Virginia; and William Beames of Florida; as well as 10 grand-children. Damasita was pre-deceased by her first husband, Timothy Allen, and her daughter, Cynthia Allen, in 1959.
Verola said Damasita’s spirit will be long remembered in Charlton.
`She continued to always be active, she came to board meetings and was totally devoted to the town,` said Verola. `If you ever needed anything, she was the one to call. This is the whole town’s loss.` “