The City of Saratoga Springs has lost one of its most prominent citizens and her absence will be felt in every area of civic and community fellowship, throughout the Capital District, and New York State, for many years to come.
Born in Saratoga Hospital on October 20, 1964, Pamela Polacsek was destined to be a dynamo. After suffering a paralyzing spinal cord injury in 1990, she forged a path of fierce advocacy for those most in need, gave voice to the voiceless, and brought together thousands in a shared vision that strengthened our community and created real, lasting change that continues to bring hope and dignity to countless lives. Pam died peacefully, surrounded by family and friends, at Saratoga Hospital on Friday, February 9. She was 59.
A complete list of Pam’s accomplishments and contributions is impossible to compile. At the time of her death, she was the Director of Development and Foundations for the Saratoga County Chapter of Saratoga Bridges, well-known for its annual White Party that has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to benefit individuals with disabilities and their families. She has been the Board President, Chair of Discretionary Fund and Chair of Strategic Planning for the Hawley Foundation for Children, a Saratoga Community Block Grants Citizens Advisory Committee Member, Leadership Saratoga Advisory Board Member, and a Soroptimist of Saratoga County, just to name a few.
In 2002, Pam completed Leadership Saratoga and was named one of the Top “20 Under 40” by The Saratogian newspaper, for which she also wrote the monthly column “Living with Disabilities.” Pam’s faith was very important to her and she served as president, grant writer, Publicity and Media Relations Chair, and a Gabbi for Congregation Shaara Tfille and was on the Jewish Federation of NENY Board, served on its Communications Committee, and co-chaired the Saratoga Women’s Philanthropy event and North Country event. An avid reader, Pam was a member of the Lessons Learned Through Reading Book Club for 22 years.
Pam graduated Saratoga High in 1982. She went on to earn her Bachelor of Arts in French and Government from St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York and a Cértificate Diplôme d’Études Françaises from the Université d’haute Normandie in Rouen, France. In 2011 she was Saratoga Bridges’ Employee of the Year and in 2011 received its President’s Award.
Those that knew her were blessed to learn many valuable lessons, like “always say thank you and I’m sorry,” and “edit before pressing send,” and “always exceed your fundraising goals.” In her own words: “I believe it is very important to not only give back to the community but also crucial for all of us to try and make a difference in others’ lives.”
Pam is survived by her parents Allan and Carole Polacsek, her brother Bart and sister-in-law Allyz and her nephew Gabriel and niece Reva who fondly referred to her as “Tante.” Her Aunt Sondra Silverhart, Uncle Irving Metzger, Aunt Ellen and Uncle Joel Henkin, many cousins, her KDS Family, friends of Lessons Learned Through Reading Book Club, friends of Saratoga Springs High School Class of 1982 and friends from her time spent in Washington, D.C.
There are no words to express the love and friendship given to Pam by her incredible caregivers over the years, including Susan Asbell, Judy Braim, Jamie Miller, Kathy Plueau, Sandra Redding and Earline Stevens. They each made sure Pam was ready to begin her day, which wasn’t always an easy task—especially because she meticulously needed “everything to match.” Pam’s family are forever grateful to the staff of Saratoga Hospital’s ICU for the exemplary care and dignity shown to Pam.
In lieu of flowers the family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of a memorial contribution to either: Saratoga Bridges or Congregation Shaara Tfille.
A funeral will be held at Congregation Shaara Tfille at 84 Weibel Ave Saratoga Springs, NY on Monday, February 12, 2024 starting at 11:00 a.m. with a meal of comfort to follow.
Online remembrances may be made at www.burkefuneralhome.com.