Former TCO exec Hartman dead at 73

By Barb Van Atta

Former Tri-Cities Opera Executive Director Roger L. Hartman passed away Thursday (Sept. 7) from complications associated with long-term chronic illness. Hartman, 73, of Conklin, also was a baritone with the opera company, studying voice and singing leading roles in the early- to mid-1970s.

Roger L. Hartman

An Elmira native, Hartman graduated from Horseheads High School, Bowling Green State University (Ohio) and the Elmira College Graduate Program in Education. He served two years in the U.S. Peace Corps in Iran., then was a teacher and journalist before beginning a career in fundraising and not-for-profit management.

He served four years as development director and then executive director at TCO, then became executive director and planned giving director of the Broome Community College Foundation for 15 years. Following his tenure at BCC (now SUNY Broome), he served for 14 years as executive director of the Binghamton Boys & Girls Club Foundation.

Accomplishments during his development career included planning and fundraising for the Decker Health Science Center on the now-SUNY Broome campus as well as fundraising for the Applied Technology Building and for new laboratory facilities for the chemistry department. Major advances were made in both annual fund results and expansion of endowment, which, during his tenure was the largest of any community college in New York state.

In 1992, the Council for Advancement and Support of Education honored the BCC Foundation, under Hartman’s leadership, for being the number one private development program nationally at any two-year public college.

At TCO, he launched the company’s first subscription season, an important advancement in long-range planning, and with the Boys & Girls Club Foundation, he guided fundraising for the club’s new home on Clinton Street.

In his spare time, Hartman enjoyed singing, vegetable gardening, hunting and observing nature. He sang with the TCO chorus and did solo work at the Unitarian-Universalist Congregation of Binghamton, where he was a long-time member. Even when physical disability restricted his deer hunting to sitting in a blind provided by his cousin, Ronald Stayer of Horseheads, his efforts were still productive, filling the freezer many times over the years.

Hartman is survived by his dear friend Diane Dattoria of Conklin; son Morgan Hartman (Francine) of Williamstown, Mass.; daughter Mandy Hartman Graf (Bernhard) of Munich, Germany; siblings Richard Hartman (Brenda), Bonnie Phillips and Linda Grover (Coral); grandchildren Gable, Graziella and George Hartman and Bastian Hartman Graf, and step-granddaughters Frankie and Abby Scialabba.

His family will receive friends from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday (Sept. 12) at the Unitarian-Universalist Congregation of Binghamton, 183 Riverside Drive, Binghamton. A memorial service will follow visiting hours. Interment of ashes will be at Rural Home Cemetery in Big Flats at the family’s convenience.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Unitarian-Universalist Congregation of Binghamton, WSKG, the BCC Foundation, the Binghamton Boys & Girls Club Foundation, Tri-Cities Opera or other cause of one’s choice.

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1 Response to "Former TCO exec Hartman dead at 73"

  1. Tony Villecco

    I am saddened to read this. Roger was a true gentleman. As a teen chorister with TCO in the ’70s, I remember him well: his fine singing, his professionalism and kind manner. I recall the 1988 gala when he spoke so eloquently and particularly shared his joy when soprano Louise Wohlafka came to sing “Depuis le jour.” He said the first time he heard her sing that he would never forget it. I am glad to have been part of the “golden age” of Tri-Cities Opera and to have known people such as him. God rest his soul.

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