Apr 15, 2013, 1:12pm EDT Updated: Apr 15, 2013, 3:09pm EDT
Michael Bette, a founder of Barry, Bette & Led Duke, dies
Michael F. Bette, one of the founders of Barry, Bette & Led Duke, died April 11.
Reporter- The Business Review
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Michael F. Bette, one of the founders of Barry, Bette & Led Duke, a powerhouse general contractor in the Albany, NY, area that later split into competing companies that remain among the largest in the business, died unexpectedly April 11.
Bette, 76, died during a visit to his alma mater, Manhattan College, for its annual scholarship dinner, said his oldest son, Matt.
“He was with us in the morning,” said Matt, the oldest of his five sons. “We were going through our work program and the bid schedule to get him up to speed. We had no idea we wouldn’t see him on Friday.”
Bette is survived by his wife of 54 years, Mary Ann; seven children and 16 grandchildren.
Funeral services will be held at St. Pius X in Loudonville at 10 a.m. on April 19. Calling hours are 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on April 18 at St. Pius X.
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“Mike was a true gentleman,” said Joe Hogan, vice president for building services at Associated General Contractors of America. “It was just his stalwart nature as far as doing what’s right in the business, as well as being kind of a visionary in moving the industry forward in a variety of areas, from project delivery to safety.”
Over the past 50 years, Michael Bette successfully delivered more than $8 billion worth of construction projects in New York, Texas, Florida and elsewhere, including bridges, schools, luxury condos, office buildings, and health care facilities.
His projects included major work at The New York World’s Fair, Empire State Plaza and numerous colleges including Siena, University at Albany and Albany College of Pharmacy; and many hospitals, including St. Peter’s, Ellis and Albany Medical Center.
He built many of the high-rise condominiums along the Gulf Coast in southwest Florida, and specialized in multi-family projects in the Midwest and Texas, becoming the fifth largest multi-family builder in the nation, according to the company.
The Bette Cos. ranked No. 302 on the Engineering News Record list of Top 400 contractors in 2012, based on $176.3 million in 2011 revenue.
Six of Bette’s seven children followed their father into the business. Like their father, all five of his sons are civil engineers.
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Born in the Bronx and raised on Long Island, Michael Bette started working construction in 1959 and moved to the Capital Region in 1965 to co-manage the upstate operations of D. Fortunato, a Long Island-based contractor.
In 1973 he and Robert Barry, the other upstate manager at D. Fortunato, left to start their own construction firm, Barry & Bette Inc. Another partner, Donald Led Duke, joined them in 1982, creating Barry, Bette & Led Duke.
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Bette served on the board of trustees at Manhattan College and Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. He was also a philanthropist, having served on the boards of Hope House and Twin Rivers Council of Boy Scouts of America.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made in Bette’s name to Catholic Charities, 40 North Main Ave., Albany, NY, 12203 and St. Peter’s Hospital Foundation, 319 South Manning Blvd. – Suite 114, Albany, NY, 12208.
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