Obituary of JoAnne C. Elser
Remembrance of life!
On February 16th,1960, JoAnne. C. Elser (Cisek), became a very special person when born into this world at the creation of two loving parents, Felix P. Cisek (aka "Flash"), and Sheila F. Cisek (Burke), both originally from Auburn. In 1968, JoAnne, along with her sister and parents, moved from Auburn, NY to Phoenix Arizona. While in Phoenix, JoAnne's father started his own business under the name of Arizona Computer Services. JoAnne's mother, Sheila, was a very dedicated nurse, who eventually retired from the nursing profession as the Nurse Administrator of Kivel Nursing home in Phoenix. JoAnne's nephew Christopher J. Cisek, affectionately known as "CJ", was also a special part of their family and JoAnne was like a big sister to him during his time growing up.
JoAnne graduated from Xavier College Preparatory High School in 1978 alongside many unforgettable friends of the Xavier "Mafia." Following graduation, JoAnne began her college career at the University of Arizona. JoAnne's college career was important, however, so was her social circle of friends and other activities outside of her studies. At the friendly and well mentioned advice from her parents, JoAnne transferred from U of A to Northern Arizona University to pursue her college education in Dental Hygiene. During her transfer to NAU, JoAnne reconnected with her best and inseparable friend since 3rd grade, Cindy Bishop, where they ended up as roommates. After graduation from NAU, JoAnne began her career as a Dental Hygienist working on an Indian Reservation and eventually moved on to working in Phoenix, AZ.
Despite her love for Arizona, through the years, JoAnne would often return with her parents to visit family in Auburn, NY and attend the summer Polish Picnic. She had a special connection with her cousin Lisa Schiminske (Emmi) during her visits. During a visit in July of 1988, JoAnne would meet Robert on Owasco Lake in the company of CJ, Lisa, Lisa's sister Suzie Myers, and Robert's brother Charlie Elser. Robert took JoAnne and CJ skiing for the afternoon. With a fun day of skiing and pleasantries exchanged, JoAnne and Robert went their separate ways. During the same summer visit, both Robert and JoAnne met again for a nice evening of conversation at Curley's bar. JoAnne returned home to Phoenix after her summer visit and subsequently sent a 'Thank you" note to Robert for taking her and CJ skiing. In the same note she extended an invitation to visit her in Phoenix, Arizona. Robert wholeheartedly accepted JoAnne's invitation and flew to Phoenix on New Years' Eve 1988. That is where JoAnne and Robert started to fall in love with each other.
On December 29th, 1990, JoAnne and Robert were married in Phoenix, AZ and then started their loving life together in Auburn, NY. JoAnne returned to Auburn not knowing many people other than close family and a few of Robert's friends. JoAnne's social circle of friends grew exponentially, beginning with Sue Phillips Coe inviting her out for "Girl's night out." JoAnne's unique ability to share her special gift of friendliness, happiness, along with her fun-loving expression of life, was infectious and left an indelible mark on each person she came in contact with.
In 1996 JoAnne and Robert's first child Charlie, was born, and in 1999 their second child Spencer was born. Charlie and Spencer were the light of JoAnne's life and she beamed with pride whenever her boys were mentioned.
JoAnne worked for several area Dentists including, Dr. Mike Keating, Dr. Jerry Oleksa, Dr. Crocky Nagle, Dr. John Ohnezeit, Dr. Brad Davidson, Dr. Ed Nolan, Dr. Anthony Tabone, Dr. Thomas Hogan, Dr. Greene and Dr. Miller in Fayetteville, NY, and she was also employed by Cayuga County in charge of the School based Dental Hygiene Program. At the end of the grant program for Cayuga County JoAnne became a Dental Hygienist for East Hill Family Medical in 2011 once again running the School based Dental Hygiene program. She loved her profession, she loved her fellow co-workers and staff members, she loved the children she would provide dental care to, she loved all of the educators and staff members in the schools that she would work in, and she loved working in the East Hill Family Dental Clinic during the past 18 months.
JoAnne was also introduced to working at Springside Inn for banquets and parties by her close friend Sue Phillips Coe. It was there that a unique, and everlasting friendship developed with Beth and Sean Lattimore, owners of the Springside Inn and Oak and Vine. Fellow waitresses Lisa G. and Nars loved to work with JoAnne! JoAnne's work was not work to her at Springside...it was social time for her! While donning her white black button tuxedo shirt, and her "high water" black pants with apron, JoAnne was affectionately known as the "Mayor" of the Inn because she worked the crowd with incredible loving spirit and zest......and always volunteering to pour the coffee!
It was obvious that JoAnne loved everyone and everything that kept her busy and allowed her to socialize. JoAnne was so proud to have completed three marathons through the years, the NYC, Chicago, and the Marine Corp., alongside her friends Sue Phillips Coe, Bridget Dautrich, Kevin Dautrich, and her husband Robert cheering all the way! She was also a member of Swagler's Strength Training. A special thanks goes out to Jamie Swagler for dedicating a recent strength training event in JoAnne's memory. She was fondly referred to as "Joyce'' by the Swagler Strength Team. She was also a member of the Tuesday Night Golf League with teammate Jackie Giannotta at Highland Park Golf Course. Highland had a special place in JoAnne's heart as both her father and mother were members in the early 60's, and her father Flash being a past president. Even through her recent recovery from her surgery in the last couple of months, JoAnne was dedicated to keeping herself physically active and rode her MYXfitness stationary bike. She never gave up!
JoAnne and her husband thoroughly enjoyed being together with their family, friends, and other acquaintances at friendly gatherings, events, weddings, Tinkers, A.T. Walley's, Swaby's, and Springside Inn/Oak and Vine, especially on Friday's for "Happy Hour." JoAnne loved life, her family, her friends, and the people she encountered on a daily basis. She was well connected to her cell phone and social media. Robert would jokingly refer to her as the "Administrator of Facebook for the Northeast!" She had an uncanny way to remember people, places, and past events. She loved texting with her "BFFL's" every day, bantering with them, and meeting periodically for a "BFFL" night out for plenty of friendship, love, and laughter. JoAnne would always enjoy sitting by the fire pit in the "Prospect Park" with her husband, and together they would watch the beautiful sunsets that reminded them both of Arizona. They both thoroughly enjoyed making the numerous pilgrimages to the Jazz Fest at the Glenora winery during the months of July and August.
During JoAnne's last few months, she encountered so many living "Angels'' that provided outstanding care to her. Her oral surgeon Dr. Candice Scruggs was always checking on JoAnne at the discovery of her tongue cancer and throughout her recovery. The Doctors, Residents, Therapists, Nurses, and staff members at Upstate Cancer Center and Auburn Cancer Center were always presenting her with positive vibes of "hope" in her challenges that she faced with her cancer. A special thanks goes to Paulette at the Upstate Cancer Center for befriending JoAnne and helping us in any way, all of the Upstate Hospital Medical Heroes during JoAnne's recovery from her surgery and during her last 10 days on the Oncology floor and MICU floor, the Upstate Palliative team of Lori-Jeanne West, NP, Lisa Cico, MSN, ANP-C, Brittany Root, MSW, and, the excellent intervention of care and advice from Karen Leshko Balamut, LMSW at the Upstate Cancer Center, the Nurses and Therapists from Rochester Regional Home Health Care for their attentive care of JoAnne during her recovery from surgery, along with the staff, nurses, Dr. Usmani, friend Marcia Mizro, Respiratory Therapist, at ACH Emergency Room, and Nurse Alisha Northrup from Rochester Regional Health during JoAnne's medical challenge on November 1st, and JoAnne's personal physician Dr. Gail Keenan, a special thank you for always being there for JoAnne. Also, a heartfelt thanks goes out to her close friends for all of the cards, cookies and food, gift baskets, gift cards, and special visits that JoAnne received during her recovery from her surgery in September and October.
As mentioned, JoAnne was unconditionally loving and proud of her two sons at every stage of their lives. During her challenges and battle with squamous cell tongue cancer, JoAnne was so proud of Charlie for staying focused on hiking the Pacific Crest Trail and Appalachian Trail, and likewise, so proud of Spencer for his ability to stay focused in his profession of trimming trees from power lines and responding to storm duty in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Cape Cod. JoAnne's love for Charlie and Spencer was unconditional and insurmountable, and her boys loved her immensely.
Her love for her great nephew Gunner Cisek, and great niece Chloe Cisek was so special. The numerous Facetime chats were always full of funny sounds, laughs, and cute comments that were very precious and full of "Auntie's" love.
During the final days of her life, JoAnne and Robert were given the gift to share in memorable conversation, holding hands, and expressing their strong love for each other, just as they did at the beginning of their life together.
At the 11th hour, on the 11th day of the 11th month of 2021, JoAnne C. Elser departed from this world as we know it. She was surrounded with love by her husband Robert, her sons Charlie and Spencer, her beloved nephew CJ Cisek, and her best friend from 3rd grade, Cindy Bishop.
Her extraordinary love for her family, and her friends, coupled with her fun-loving zest for life, will always remain a cherished memory asset for each heart and mind that she touched.
JoAnne will always be remembered by her loving husband of 31 years, Robert C. Elser, her two beautiful sons Charlie and Spencer Elser; Her beloved nephew Christopher J. Cisek (Veronica), and beloved great-nephew and niece, Gunner and Chloe Cisek, Phoenix, AZ; Brother-in-law Gary M. Elser (Donna) of Liverpool, NY; Daniel J. Elser (John Romero) of Safford, AZ; Mother-in-law Elizabeth "Bessie" Share (Elser) of Auburn, NY; A sister, Karen Cisek of Phoenix, AZ; Special family member Jessie Mazzeo; JoAnne's best friend from 3rd grade, Cynthia Bishop of Phoenix, AZ; cousins; And, the unprecedented social network of special friends and neighbors that knew her, loved her, and always laughed with her.
JoAnne was predeceased by her father, Felix "Flash" Cisek (2006), her mother, the lovely Sheila F. Cisek (2017), and brother-in-law Charles "Uncle Buck" Elser (2019).
JoAnne requested that the happiest and most memorable way to honor her life would be a celebration event. So, family and friends are welcome to join us to celebrate JoAnne's life and share your best stories on February 16th, 2022, 4:30PM - 8:30PM at the Springside Inn/Oak and Vine, 6141 W. Lake Rd, Auburn, NY.
Donations may be made in JoAnne's name to the Upstate Foundation, Inc, (Upstate Cancer Center) 750 East Adams St., CAB326, Syracuse, NY 13210 or to the Matthew House, 43 Metcalf Dr., Auburn, NY 13021
In closing, as a family we ask that we all consider to live life like Joanne did which was perfectly described by a good friend after JoAnne's passing, "Be a carefree and loving soul; wear some neon, take selfies, give endless hugs, sip on some whiskey, sing Mele Kalikimaka or whatever song comes to mind loud and proud, shout across a store when you see a friend, travel through snowstorms to your local watering hole, throw on red lipstick, and most importantly love your family and friends to no end."To plant a tree in memory of JoAnne Elser, please visit Tribute Store
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