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In memoriam: Edward J. Demske

01/23/2012

Edward J. Demske
Edward J. Demske, Miami's senior vice president for finance and university services and treasurer for 17 years, died Saturday, Jan. 21. Demske, of Oxford, was 76.

Demske served from 1982 to his retirement in 1999, in the administrations of three presidents – Paul Pearson, Paul Risser and James Garland. His responsibilities included directing budget development, financial affairs, purchasing, legislative relations, personnel, physical plant and safety and security operations.

Born in New York City, Demske graduated from the University of Albany and worked for the Research Foundation of the State University of New York, and then in 1970 became the vice president for finance and business affairs at Binghamton University, a state research university.

At Miami, some of his key accomplishments included implementing a recycling program, improving energy conservation, establishing a new budgeting system, improving employee benefits, implementing the Miami Metro bus system, and overseeing substantial growth in the endowment. Miami’s Demske Culinary Support Center was named for Demske in 2007.

“Having worked for Ed Demske in the finance and business services division and with him as a colleague on the president’s cabinet, three attributes come immediately to mind: his integrity, his forthrightness in telling it how it is, and his commitment to developing staff,” said Steve Snyder, who retired last month as Miami’s secretary to the board of trustees and executive assistant to the president.

“Ed’s recommendations and decisions were always based on what’s best for the university as a whole, not on how a particular area would benefit. Ultimately this meant how students could best be served,” Snyder added. “You always knew where you stood with Ed and could rely upon receiving honest feedback. And he especially had a true passion for developing talent and encouraging staff members to push themselves to achieve their potential. A number of us at Miami benefitted from that philosophy. He will be truly missed.”

After retiring from this position, he served a brief time as interim vice president for university relations. During his Miami career and in retirement, he was an active supporter of the university and a vocal booster of its athletic programs. In recognition of his devotion and accomplishments, Miami University made him an honorary alumnus.

After retiring, he consulted with universities and investment companies and also served on the Oxford Community Board as treasurer, the McCullough Hyde Memorial Hospital board of trustees, United Way board of directors, and was currently chair of the board of directors of the Miami University Community Federal Credit Union. He was a member of the Oxford Rotary Club. He also created an endowment to support students of the University at Albany School of Business.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 26, at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, 25 East Walnut Street, Oxford. A reception will follow at the Demske Culinary Support Center, Wells Mills Drive, Oxford. A private burial will be held in the Oxford Cemetery. The Ogle & Paul R. Young Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.

Condolences may be sent online to www.smithoglefuneralhome.com.

Demske is survived by his wife of 51 years, Elizabeth Drumm Demske; three sons and their wives, Gregory Demske and Tamra Mendelson, Takoma Park, MD; Bruce and Kate Demske, Cincinnati; Steven Demske and Sue Lamie, Seattle, WA; six grandchildren, his brother, Walter (wife, Geraldine) and brother-in-law, Thomas Drumm.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Edward and Elizabeth Demske Basketball Support Fund at Miami University, 725 E. Chestnut Street, Oxford, OH 45056; the Demske Family Fund at the Oxford Community Foundation, 52 E. Park Place, Oxford; or the Elizabeth and Edward Demske Scholarship at the University at Albany, The University at Albany Foundation, UAB 226, 1400 Washington Ave., Albany, New York 12222.

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