Stanley Hornak, former CSEA Deputy Director of Communications



ALBANY — CSEA is mourning the loss of former longtime Deputy Director of Communications Stanley Hornak, who passed away Feb. 22, 2024, at age 78 from a brief illness.

“It is with a heavy heart that I share the sad news of the passing of our longtime friend and colleague, Stanley Hornak,” said CSEA President Mary E. Sullivan. “Stanley’s dedication to improving the lives of working people was only matched by his kindness, wisdom and loyalty to all in our union family.”

A Poughkeepsie native, Stanley graduated from Our Lady of Lourdes High School and Marist College. Early in his career, Stanley’s jobs included a public relations position at the City of Poughkeepsie.

In June 1980, Stanley began his 33-year career with our union as a Communications Specialist in the Southern Region.

In October 1985, Stanley became our union’s Deputy Director of Communications. Except for two years as Director of Communications in the 1990s, Stanley held the Deputy Director of Communications post until his retirement in 2013.

He consistently showed a strong commitment and loyalty to our union. His creativity helped our union shape messaging on numerous campaigns and other collateral. Despite his numerous contributions to fighting for working people, Stanley preferred to work behind the scenes and lift others into the spotlight.

Stanley was known for his kindness, sense of humor, generosity, humility and calming spirit that he showed even in tense situations. He was both a gentle and strong force in navigating our union’s many issues, and he always showed diplomacy and wisdom in his interpersonal dealings with others. In 2005, he was honored with our union’s Kim Hytko Memorial Award, which recognizes a CSEA staff member who shows kindness and dedication to their colleagues.

A wealth of knowledge and insight, Stanley was a mentor and an inspiration to many of his co-workers and CSEA members.

He was beloved by his CSEA colleagues, particularly in the Communications Department. Over his many years of union service, he was key to professionally developing, supporting and gently guiding numerous current and former Communications staff members.

Stanley rarely passed a day at work without checking in on Communications staff both in Headquarters and the regions, showing true concern for both their professional and personal lives.

Stanley often went above and beyond in his efforts to care for them, including invoking his gentle nature to bring together staff whether it was for an expansive union campaign or lighter moments.

According to his obituary, Stanley found passion in his work and loved the people he worked with, some of whom stayed in close contact even after his retirement.

Off the job, Stanley had a strong love of history and traveled the world, most often with his brother Michael. His favorite destinations included Italy and France.

A devout Catholic, Stanley also was a parishioner at St. Peter’s Parish in Hyde Park and cherished the opportunity to be in the presence of three Popes during his lifetime.

Throughout his career at CSEA Headquarters until shortly before his passing, Stanley split his time between Albany and Poughkeepsie.

In addition to his brother, Stanley is survived by a godson, cousins and many other relatives and dear friends. Services were held on March 2.

— Janice Gavin


About Author

Janice Gavin is the editor of The Work Force and CSEA’s special interest publications. A graduate of SUNY Plattsburgh and Syracuse University, Gavin has been a journalist and public relations professional for more than 25 years. She worked as a newspaper reporter and bureau chief at the Plattsburgh Press-Republican, where she was honored with Associated Press and New York Newspaper Publishers Association awards. Gavin joined CSEA as a communications specialist in the union's Southern Region in 2000. In 2004, she became The Work Force's associate editor, a position she held until becoming the publication's editor in 2017. Growing up in a union household, she is dedicated to improving workers’ lives through telling their stories.

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