Donald Michael Scalia

Donald Michael Scalia - Rochester Cremation

Donald Michael Scalia, 62, passed away on September 10, 2023 after a short illness.

Don, as he was known to everyone who loved him, was born on October 7, 1960 to Thomas and Sheila in Corning, New York. After graduating from Corning-Painted Post East High School in 1978, he moved to New York City where he worked for several years in construction and carpentry. He dedicated his free time to animal rights protests and volunteering as a clinic escort at Planned Parenthood. In the mid 1990s Don relocated to Columbia, South Carolina, where he obtained his bachelor’s degree at the University of South Carolina. He then attended George Washington University Law School, graduating in 2001. After a short stint practicing law in the corporate world, Don was delighted to join the Monroe County Public Defender’s Office. Don was an exceptionally talented attorney and he loved his work and his colleagues. He retired from Monroe County in late 2022.

While working as a Public Defender, Don met the love of his life, Campbell Roth. They married in 2016 and embarked on a life together filled with laughter, love, travel, music, and friends.

Don was exceptionally smart, wickedly funny, and unendingly compassionate. His big heart had an especially soft place for all animals, and he was a vegan for over 30 years. He had a lust for learning and doing. He was always there for his family and friends. He fiercely loved them and was fiercely loved back.

Don is survived by his wife, Campbell, sister June, brother Tom, twin brother Chris (Lynn) Scalia, niece Brittany, nephews Tristan and Aidan, and his pets/“deadbeat roommates,” Chloe, Ygritte and Wally. He leaves behind a wide circle of beloved friends who will cherish a lifetime of memories with him.

Donations in his memory will be lovingly appreciated in lieu of flowers to any of the causes he championed, including Verona Street Animal Services and Planned Parenthood.

7 Condolences

  1. Ann Vuletin on September 13, 2023 at 10:38 am

    I didn’t know Don very well (I only met him and Campbell once actually), but it was very clear from that meeting that Don and Campbell simply adored each other. That kind of love was moving to witness and it is something I remember to this day. My deepest and sincerest condolences to Campbell and Don’s family who must miss him terribly. I’m so very sorry for your loss.

  2. Julie on September 13, 2023 at 10:55 am

    Don was my friend and colleague at the Public Defender’s Office. For someone who uses words for a living, it is nearly impossible to capture what it was like to have Don here with us, because he brought so many different skills to the table. There wasn’t anything he couldn’t talk about – philosophy, punk rock, what it was like in NYC in the 80s, the terrors and joys of criminal defense work, how to repair virtually anything, what kind of rose can tolerate shade, can Rats get along with Horses, a golf event I will never forget – my God the list just goes on, as you see and anyone who knew him, knows, remembering Don leads to this. When I think of the times I laughed the hardest, three out of five times, it was Don that made me laugh. When I think of the times I was best understood, again, three out of five times – Don. His heart, his humor, his intelligence, his intensity and his vulnerability will always be remembered and valued as someone who truly impacted my life. My deepest condolences to Cam and his family.

  3. Mary Whiteside on September 13, 2023 at 11:37 am

    Don started a few months after I joined the Public Defender’s Office. We went to the equivalent of legal battle together with almost no training and a shared deep desire to do right by our clients. It was a time when management allowed caseloads to be 10 times the recommended amount and there was no effort to lessen the load. We were just supposed to handle it and provide stellar representation without the support necessary. Don and I bonded because we really tried and it wounded me. I am not the same person after those years and neither was Don. He cared so deeply even when he needed to create mental armor to endure the lack of humanity the legal system inflicts on our most vulnerable. He incredible sensitivity and empathy led him to fight for abused animals furry and human. He was one of the absolute best people I have ever known. An absolute Diamond of colleague and friend. I would never have survived my time as a PD without my almost daily lunches with Don. We laughed. We commiserated. We strategized. Seeing him fall in love with Cam and their affection for each other felt so good because Don deserved all the good things in life. He deserved to be cherished, as we all do. I moved and daily lunches turned to whenever I happened to be in town. But I was lucky enough to get a few more long chats this past May when Cam and Don visited Los Angeles to celebrate Danielle Ponder’s blossoming music career. I am beyond shocked he is gone. Years ago he introduced me, because he was also a music aficionado to a lesser known singer Matthew Jay. On his album Draw is the song You’re Always Going Too Soon and it captures how I feel right now. I will miss Don forever. He will remain an example of integrity and compassion. I hope that he is at peace and that Cam, his family and friends can find that as well without him.

    • June Scalia Sampson on June 16, 2024 at 5:06 pm

      Thank you for sharing your times with my brother, Donald. I miss him daily. You captured him. Again, thank you. 💔 June

  4. Brandon on September 13, 2023 at 11:38 am

    Don was a friend and a mentor, his door was always open. Don taught me that doing a trial was “imagine having to perform a play but you only get to perform it once, you need to learn your lines , become familiar with the other actors , and crush it on opening night” – that has stayed with me and is the most accurate description I’ve ever heard. I had many adventures with Don and I cherish all of them. I will always miss you man.

  5. Silvia Lopez on September 13, 2023 at 2:20 pm

    My heart breaks for the physical world’s loss of this beautiful, hilarious, incredibly intelligent, and loving soul. Don was a wonderful friend to me from practically the instant I met him, 15 years ago. I deeply admired his skill and passion as an attorney, and greatly appreciated his advice and willingness to help me when I was a new (and older) attorney, but really what I love about him the most was who he was as a person and friend outside of work. He was such a layered and interesting person. I remember the first time I saw his tattoo of the monkey breaking out of its chains, and I knew right away I wanted this man to be my friend. And he was a damn good friend- loyal, generous, loving, and such a good time. His sharp, quick humor had me crying laughing every time we hung out. There has never been a person like Don on this planet, and there never will be. He was tough as nails in the courtroom, then a complete softy with his loved ones. So much love to Cam and his family. This is a mighty loss. Don, you will be missed dearly, my sweet, lovely friend.

  6. June Sampson on June 16, 2024 at 5:09 pm

    Thank you for your love for my brother, Donald. I loved him so much and miss him daily. June

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