July 4, 1939 – Feb. 2, 2020
Harold H. Izard, a former New York State assemblyman and Sweet Home High School biology teacher, had a passion for science, politics and life.
The father of 14 children dove from a waterfall near his country home at age 70. At age 75, Mr. Izard made sure to ride the Superman – Ride of Steel coaster at Darien Lake just to feel the wind against his face, recalled his son Bruce.
“It reminded him of downhill skiing, an activity he missed because he could not do it anymore,” said his son.
Mr. Izard, 80, died Feb. 2 in Buffalo General Medical Center after a brief illness.
“He would have loved the palindromic date he died on – 02/02/2020,” said his son Bruce. “He was a science geek just like I am.”
“He wanted to have an even number of children because if we went to Darien Lake to ride the coasters, there would be no odd man out,” recalled his youngest child, Angel.
A 1957 graduate of Kenmore High School, Mr. Izard, who lived in Buffalo for a brief time recently, spent most of his life in Kenmore, where he raised his family, and in East Otto, where he custom-built an A-frame home.
Mr. Izard served as assemblyman for the 140th District in 1975-76. His term followed that of former Congressman John J. LaFalce, who served in the Assembly seat in 1973-74 and preceded current Assemblyman Robin Schimminger, who will retire this year.
Married in 1961, Mr. Izard and Linda May Quigley divorced in 1998.
From 1962 to 1975, Mr. Izard taught biology at Sweet Home High School. Savvy with numbers and armed with a photographic memory, he never forgot anything he read, said his son.
“He was always the teacher. It was really hard to argue with him. He knew genus and species, and he could tell you every tree on the reservation,” said Bruce Izard. “He taught us how to tap trees on the land and we made maple syrup.”
As scoutmaster, and even after, he routinely brought large groups to camp on a 432-acre family-owned refuge called Sycamore Reservation in Zoar Valley. Founded in 1955 by his father, Dr. Emmette Izard, the reservation fostered outdoor education.
Mr. Izard was known to wear a Russian aviator’s hat, and it seemed he had an unending supply of camouflage gear he wore often. His sense of compassion shone through his life in many ways, his son said.
“He always had people living with him if they didn’t have a place to stay,” his son said. “He would take in any stranger.”
After retiring from the Assembly, he signed on in 1977 as scientific coordinator in the State Legislature researching climate issues, particularly acid rain.
He also worked as scientific writer for Eco Research, a firm that specializes in market and social research in Africa. In 1981, he began working for the state Department of Labor as an industrial hygienist. From there he served as a consultant until 1995 for the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
“He traveled to every state,” said his daughter Angel. “He was a dancer, always cutting up a rug out on the dance floor. When my dad met you, he would talk like you’re his best friend and be comfortable immediately.”
In addition to his son Bruce and daughter Angel, Mr. Izard was survived by nine other sons: Kirk, Norman, Warren, Christian, Paul, Glenn, Gabriel, Michael and Stephen; two other daughters, Amy Donavan and Judy; a brother, Donald; a sister, Louiseanne Pawlik, and 16 grandchildren. His oldest son, Arthur, died in July 2019.
A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb.15, in Kenmore United Methodist Church, 32 Landers Road, Kenmore.