Local Obits

Obituary of Michael P. Andersen


Michael P. Andersen was born on April 5, 1948, in Brooklyn, NY, to Martin and Ruth Andersen.. Michael graduated from Roundout Valley High School, in Stoneridge, NY, where he was a football player and wrestler. After highschool, he went on to work as a head butcher at a beautiful resort in the Catskill Mountains, called Lake Minnewaska. Some of his best memories consisted of working at the resort, where he made lifelong relationships. Following in his father’s steps, he later worked at various IGA’s as a meat manager. At an early time in life, Michael joined the volunteer Wawarsing Fire Department, fighting forest fires in the Catskill mountains. He eventually became the fire chief.

Michael was hired as a part-time firefighter at the Cortland City Fire Department on April 11, 1988. He attended New York State Academy of Fire Science (Fire Academy) in Montour Falls, and set the running record while he was there. He became full time on July 21, 1989. Michael was promoted to captain on October 22, 1996 and retired May 28, 2010. Captain “Buzzy” was well respected, and known for his strong work ethic, excellent leadership skills, and the frequent pranks he would pull on his coworkers. During his time at the fire department he saved countless lives and received numerous awards; The City of Cortland Fire Commission CES Starmer Memorial Commissioners Award (1993), American Legion Commendation Firefighter of the Year (1993), City of Cortland Firefighter of the Year (1998), City of Cortland Firefighter of the Year (2001), American Legion Commendation Firefighter of the Year (2006). He was a Fire Investigator for 15 years, a certified code officer, and even had his own chimney sweep business. Michael did code work for many years at various places, and most recently was Code Officer for the Village of Groton. He was an active participant with the Southern Tier Building Official Association (STBOA). Michael retired as the Code Officer from Groton in November of 2021, due to his health. If he had it his way, he would have never stopped working.

One of Michael’s true passions in life was being a competitive athlete. He took Judo as a young adult, and was working on his brown belt when he moved. He was an avid runner and canoer. Michael helped coordinate and certify many races, and initiated the Cortland Pumpkin Run 5K. He ran countless races, received numerous awards, and was known for being one of the most prestigious runners in the area. He helped do the river cleanup for one of his favorite canoe races, “The Cortland Canoe Classic.” Michael competed in the Great Race for 27 years, and finished in the top 20 at least nine times. He also enjoyed cross country skiing and snowshoeing through the woods behind his house. Michael loved classic cars, in particular, his 1963 Chevy Impala. He was an active member of the Seven Valley Street Rods Car Club, and was nominated Member of the Year in 2022. He volunteered at the Syracuse Nationals each year, and helped coordinate their own local car show.

Michael fought a courageous battle with cancer. He passed away peacefully in his home February 7, 2024, surrounded by loved ones. He will be remembered as being a loving and devoted son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, uncle, and friend.

Michael is survived by his wife of 18 years, Aimee (Roberts) Andersen, brother in law Jamie (Jeana) Roberts, brother Martin (Lynne) Andersen, Billy (Sheila) Andersen, Kurt Andersen, daughters Dacia Legge, Christine Ondecko, Vanessa (Jeffrey) Fitts, Alaina (William) Denn, Ashley (Josh) Cootware, along with his grandchildren Casey, Alysah, Eliana, Jonathan, Max, Henrik, Lindsey, Christian, and Brennan, great grandchildren Emily and Lucca, as well as many nieces, nephews, and cousins. He was predeceased by his parents, Martin and Ruth Andersen, half sisters Gloria Smally and Joan Waruch, and brother Bobby Andersen.

Michael’s family will receive friends on Thursday, February 15, 2024 at Riccardi Funeral Home, 69 N. Main Street, Cortland, NY, from 4pm-6pm. A memorial service will follow, and a celebration of life at the Cortland Elks Lodge. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The American Lung Association and the Cortland YMCA.

The family would like to thank Palliative Care, Hospice Care, Upstate Oncology, and all our friends and family for their love, support, and prayers.

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