Baseball, Politics, Community Defined His Contribution

ALBERT ‘SAM’ NADER • 1919-2021

Baseball, Politics, Community

Defined His Contribution

The Nader family chose this photo of their patriarch, Sam Nader, with Damaschke Field, home of his Oneonta Yankees, in the background.

Editor’s Note: Here is the obituary prepared by Sam Nader’s family.

Albert S. “Sam” Nader passed away on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021, at his home as he wished, surrounded by members of his family.

He was born on July 8, 1919, in Oneonta, the son of Elias Andrew Nader and Rose Rajah Nader (Nassar). He was one of six Nader children. Sam Nader spent nearly his entire life in Oneonta. He was a proud lifelong resident of the 6th Ward and became an integral member of the community.

He graduated from Oneonta High School in 1938, where he excelled as a lefthanded pitcher. Mr. Nader attended Bates College and later Hartwick College and played baseball at both institutions.

As World War II approached, Mr. Nader began working for the Scintilla Magneto division of the Bendix Corp. in Sidney.

At the outset of the war, he sought to enlist in the Army and was initially turned away due to poor vision. He later successfully enlisted and became a machine gunner in the European Theater of Operations where he fought at the Battle of the Bulge. Mr. Nader was honorably discharged in 1945 and during his service earned a Bronze Star, three battle stars, an Army Commendation Medal, and Army of Occupation Service Medal, American Theatre Service Medal, a Victory Medal and a Good Conduct Medal.

In 1954, Mr. Nader married Alice House at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in Oneonta, and settled into their home on River Street. She predeceased him in 1991. Alice and Sam Nader had three children. John S. Nader of Farmingdale (Kathy), Alice O’Conner of Lilburn, Ga. (Cliff) and Suzanne Longo of Havertown, Pa. (Tom). Their River Street home was always open to hundreds of students, friends, family, baseball players, and notables for decades.

Upon his discharge from the Army, Mr. Nader resumed his career at Bendix in Sidney working in both quality assurance and procurement for over 40 years. He retired in 1983 as director of purchasing for Bendix Electrical Components Division.

Sam Nader was an avid sports fan and golfer. In his youth, he caddied at the Oneonta Country Club and became an accomplished player – once earning the club’s handicap championship. He became a season ticketholder of New York Giants in 1952 and saw the team play in every one of the six home stadiums used by the team. He attended some of the premier events in sports including, NFL and NFC champions, many World Series games, the Rose Bowl, the Cotton Bowl, and the Masters. In 1948, he obtained a copyright for a sports calendar.

Mr. Nader had an extraordinary civic career. He served as an alderman representing the Sixth Ward as well as a city assessor and as legislative assistant to Assemblyman Paul Talbot. In 1961, he was elected mayor of the City of Oneonta and was reelected in 1965.

During his two terms, the city made remarkable progress. His vision for the Oneonta Municipal Airport was realized, the Housing Authority was created and Oneonta became one of the leading recipients of federal funds for municipal infrastructure.

Following his elected service, Mr. Nader also served as chair of the Otsego County Democratic Committee.

His aspiration to bring minor league baseball back to Oneonta was fulfilled in 1966 when the Oneonta Red Sox became part of the New York-Penn League. Subsequently Mr. Nader secured a working agreement with his beloved New York Yankees. In 1968, along with nine other civic leaders, he formed the Oneonta Athletic Corp., purchased the team and the Oneonta Yankees became a community fixture for over 30 years.

Oneonta’s affiliation with the Yankees was one of the longest in minor league baseball. The Oneonta Yankees became well known as one of the most successful franchises in minor league baseball and operated in one of its smallest markets.

The team launched the career of dozens of Major League players and hosted some of baseball’s greatest names at Damaschke Field.

Following the Yankees’ departure in 1999, the Detroit Tigers began a long and successful affiliation with the OAC and Oneonta. The Oneonta franchise was recognized with the Bob Freitas Award as the outstanding minor league operation of the year. The New York Pennsylvania League championship trophy was named in honor of Alice House Nader who was integrally involved in the team’s operation.

In addition to his work in government and baseball, Sam was a member of the Board of Directors of the Wilber National Bank, Fox Hospital, the Oneonta City School District Board of Education, and the Future of Oneonta Foundation, among others. He served as honorary chair of Opportunity for Otsego’s Capital Campaign. Mr. Nader was fortunate to be widely recognized for his civic work.

Sam was honored for his community achievements by the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce, LEAF Council on Alcoholism, Future of Oneonta Foundation, Minor League Baseball and numerous other organizations, including SUNY Oneonta which annually awards the Alice H. and Albert S. Nader Scholarship.

In addition to his wife, Alice House Nader, who passed away in 1991, Mr. Nader was predeceased by his siblings, Julia, Nausif, Adele, Dorothy, and Jemele as well as a niece and three nephews whom he loved.

He is survived by his three children and their spouses as well as seven grandchildren: Danielle O’Conner of New York City, Mark Nader (Angela) of Oneonta, Kevin O’Conner (Sarah) of Atlanta Ga., Allison Berquist (Peter) of Los Angeles, Rachel Nader of Washington D.C., Sloan Longo of Philadelphia, and Sarah Nader-Marcus of Oneonta. He is also survived by his great-grandson, Levi Samuel Nader. In addition, Mr. Nader is survived by numerous nieces and nephews including Barbara Church, Carol and Rick Follett, Diane Minogue, and Anissa Shannon. He is also survived by first cousin Fares Nassar of Ithaca.

A private funeral mass is being planned by the family. A celebration of life is planned for the summer of 2021.


One thought on “Baseball, Politics, Community Defined His Contribution

  1. Linda A Gilmore

    Sam will be very missed down here in the ward! Our deepest condolences to the entire family. Sincerely. The Chicorelli Family

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