LEWISTON – Highway Superintendent Douglas A. Janese died Tuesday night in Roswell Park Cancer Institute after being ill for several weeks, the Town of Lewiston confirmed Wednesday. He was 62.
Supervisor Steve Broderick called Janese a “very private man” and said that he was surprised when he got the news, although he knew that he was sick.
The supervisor said Janese had been complaining of a continuing cough, which led to pneumonia, but was at work just two weeks ago.
Broderick, a Republican, was sworn in to his first term as supervisor Jan. 1. He said he met Janese, the endorsed Republican, as the longtime highway superintendent began his campaign for a fourth term.
The race for the seat between Janese and Democrat David J. Trane was so close that it became an issue in State Supreme Court, where both sides agreed to a deal to recount disputed ballots.
Janese, who had been declared the winner, held on to his seat by seven votes, and both he and Trane ended the race amicably.
After it was over, Janese said that Trane had been a gentleman throughout, adding, “There shouldn’t be a loser.”
Janese was “a real good guy, a man of his word. He was old school,” said Damon A. DeCastro, Janese’s attorney and a longtime friend. “If he shook your hand, that was the only contract you needed with Doug.”
DeCastro said Janese was member of the Carpenters Union, taking “great pains” to make sure that everyone was treated fairly, filing litigation on behalf of the members to ensure that the money was being handled properly.
Janese was senior project manager for a commercial construction company when he was chosen to be highway superintendent.
“He didn’t sugarcoat things,” DeCastro said, adding that his friend was first appointed highway superintendent by the town to “clean things up.” He was approached by the Republican administration even though he was a Democrat, DeCastro added.
Broderick said it will be up to the Town Board to decide what to do about filling the position.
“We’re going to sit down and take our time to make the right decision, but first and foremost, my thoughts and prayers are with Doug’s family,” Broderick said.
Janese is survived by his wife, Susan; two sons, Douglas A. Jr. and Jeremy; and a daughter, Diana.