Averill Park-Josephine F. Lesniak (Jody), beloved mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, died Wednesday, February 4th, at the age of 104. Proud of her Italian heritage, she nevertheless loved this country deeply and did her lifelong best—in her own quiet, steady, remarkable way—to add to its fabric.
Born in 1917, she was witness to over a century of American history, narrowly avoiding both the World-War-I era Spanish Flu and today’s Covid pandemic. Employed for a time as a medical and legal secretary, she spent much of her life volunteering (into her hundreds) for her local Catholic church, serving as an usher for the plays she loved to see, and—most notably—investing herself deeply in the lives of her children, Wendy (Jim Long) and John (Barbara), her grandchildren, Damian (Tess), Justin, Christian, Carolyn, and Will, and her great- grandchildren, Elliott and Henry.
A Rochester native and graduate of West High School, she married her great love, William Lesniak, in 1943. In 1979 she and her husband retired to Lake Worth, Florida, and after her Willy's death in 1987, she set her face to the wind and bravely soldiered on for decades, soaking up as much life as she could.
Jody never stopped learning, never stopped pursuing knowledge. Ardently curious about a range of subjects, she regularly immersed herself in reading, crossword puzzles, theater, and cinema. She was a woman of great wisdom, whose friends knew her for her endless, selfless generosity, and whose family loved her hovering tenderness and her shrewd, carefully-observed insight into the world. Her nonchalant skill in the kitchen, learned quickly after the early death of her own mother, was the marvel of all who sat at her table.
Though she lived an enviably long life, her loss notwithstanding is a hole in the world for the people who loved her.
A private Funeral Mass was held for her family and her interment was held at the Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Rochester.
Visit www.perrykomdat.com for a private guestbook.