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Former Batavia PR director Michael McDonald dies

March 08, 2016

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Michael P. McDonald of Batavia, N.Y., died peacefully Friday morning, March 4, at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, N.Y. after a lengthy illness. He was 51.
Mr. McDonald was born Oct. 28, 1964, in Rochester, N.Y., the son of the late Paul McDonald and the late Barbara (Provenzano) Samberg.

Mr. McDonald graduated from the Aquinas Institute in 1982 and moved quickly into the family business. In 1984, he took over as the publicity director of Batavia Downs, which was then owned by his mother Barbara Samberg (who was the first female director of the U.S. Trotting Association) and his Aunt Donna Warner, after the passing of their father Pat Provenzano, who founded the track in 1940.
For 14 years, Mr. McDonald publicized and organized the activities of the top names in the industry and managed many high level racing events held at Batavia Downs that included Grand Circuit races, New York Sires Stakes and a Breeders Crown in 1988.
When the track was eventually sold to Western Regional Off Track Betting (WROTB) in 1998, Mr. McDonald stayed on staff and became the facilities operations manager and inter-track wagering (ITW) manager and served in both capacities until 2006.
A member of Resurrection Parish in Batavia, Mr. McDonald was an avid sports fan (in particular of the Minnesota Vikings) and was very active in local youth sports. He was also very involved with his two sons and their activities. He enjoyed playing golf and participated in the local men's hockey league. He was a youth football coach, little league baseball coach and a volunteer for Notre Dame High School football.

Mr. McDonald is survived by his stepfather, Jim Samberg of Webster; his pride and joy, sons Cam and Aaron McDonald, both of Batavia; loving sisters, Martha Smith of Rochester, Margo Conheady of Rochester, Meghan (Scott Boone) McDonald of Scottsville, NY, and dear brother, Mark (Jacquie) McDonald of Atlanta, Ga.; his former wife, Kelly McDonald and many aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews.
The McDonald family will be present from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, March 9, at the Michael S. Tomaszewski Funeral & Cremation Chapel located at 4120 West Main Street Road, Batavia. Prayers will be recited at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, March 10, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 10 a.m. celebrated by the Rev. Bill Donnelly at Resurrection Parish (St. Joseph's Site). Memorials can be made in his honor to Notre Dame High School, 73 Union Street Batavia, N.Y. 14020.

Please share your words of comfort with Mike's family at http://www.tomaszewskifh.com/or for more information please call (585) 343-7500.

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