Obituary of Michael H. Ankuda
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Michael Ankuda passed away on March 8, 2022 at the age of 70, at his home in Hastings-on-Hudson, NY, following a long battle with cancer.
From an early age, Michael was drawn to caring for and restoring things. This interest later drew him from Vermont to NY where he attended Fashion Institute of Technology then Pratt Institute, where he obtained his Bachelor of Architecture. As a licensed architect he enjoyed working on a variety of projects spanning athletic facilities, libraries, and private residences. His work blended a sense of practicality and a dedication to restoration. Michael was proud of his landmark preservation work which received awards for Christ Church Riverdale and the Starrett Lehigh Building in West Chelsea.
Upon moving to Hastings in 1991, Michael could often be found in his basement workshop, creating thoughtful woodworking gifts, or working on one of his pet projects. While a part of the Hastings Architectural Review Board, he discovered the neglected 1930's Berston Children's Playhouse in Draper Park and organized local volunteers and town support to complete an extensive hands-on restoration. The Draper Park Playhouse, dedicated in 1998, now sits downhill of the Historical Society Observatory Cottage.
However, Michael's great passion project was the acquisition and restoration of a British Lifeboat "Silver Jubilee" formerly stationed in Margate, England. He referred to the 36-foot wooden vessel as "13 tons of fun" and spent many an hour scraping, caulking, and repainting her between jaunts on the Hudson River. This brought him to the Yonkers Yacht Club, where he enjoyed serving on the Board and later as Commodore.
Michael valued expertise, and over time acquired a laundry list of experts to lean on, whether it was to repair a clock, assist him on his boat, or care for his treasured Saabs. He often shared stories about them over his favorite drink, a Beefeater Martini or a Chocolate dessert provided by Maud's Tavern, his gold standard of care.
Michael is survived and deeply missed by his wife, Michele and daughters, Madeleine Hurd and Adrienne Ankuda, Son-in-law, Brooks Hurd, his sister Alice Boylan, and beloved pets, Jasper & Otis. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: Memorial Sloan Kettering (mskcc.org) or Abandoned Angels Cocker Spaniel Rescue (abandonedangels.com).