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Joan S. Wozer (nee Stevens) - Of Clarence, entered into rest suddenly on November 26, 2023. Beloved wife of 40 years to Gregory J. Wozer; devoted mother of Jenna Wozer, Scott (Kathryn) Wozer, Kaitley (Aitor) Wozer, and Emily (Jake) Pleadwell; cherished grandmother of Valentina Fuentes-Wozer; loving daughter of the late Mary (nee Noble) and Robert P. Stevens; dear sister of Thomas (Barbara) Stevens, Barbara (Dennis) Petrie, and James (Susan) Stevens; also survived by loving nieces and nephews.
Joan Marie Stevens was born on January 29th, 1961 in Buffalo, NY to Bob and Mary Stevens and three older siblings (Tom, Barbara, and Jim).
Her childhood was spent in Williamsville and summers at Silver Lake in Perry, NY.
She was athletic, outgoing, and adventurous, beloved by her nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
Joan graduated from Williamsville South High School in 1979 and went on to study animal science at University of New Hampshire.
She and Greg grew up together as family friends and discovered a romantic connection in 1976 at a family New Year’s Eve party. Greg left notes and roses in her school locker and always watched her sports games. Seven years later, they married on May 21st, 1983.
As newlyweds, they pursued their dreams of renovating an old farmhouse and starting a family - first with puppies, then with children. In November of 1987, they joyfully welcomed their first baby girl, Jenna, who gave Joan her favorite title in the world - Mom. Scott, Kaitley, and Emily followed, and Joan proudly embraced her role as a Stay-At-Home Mom. A devoted mother and wife, there is nothing she wouldn’t do for her family. She fully supported each child’s activities and passions - always a room mom, volunteering to coach the sports teams, and sewing dance costumes. She strived to raise her children to be kind, polite, and thoughtful.
Joan’s care and thoughtfulness extended beyond her children to everyone she met. She couldn’t go to the grocery store without making a friend. She never passed up an opportunity to help improve someone else’s life, whether or not they asked for it. She always looked out for people who had nowhere else to turn, and pushed the limits of what was possible to get anyone the help they needed.
Joan elevated her natural inclination for caregiving to a professional level by going back to school for nursing after raising her family for 22 years - ultimately earning her Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing from Daemen College in 2015. With her nursing degree, she helped countless patients and families while working at WNY Pediatric Urgent Care, St. Joseph’s Health Hospital (medical/surgical float pool, and gastroenterology clinic), and Maple West Elementary School. She succeeded in achieving her dream role as a postpartum nurse at John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital in Buffalo, NY where she exhibited a special interest in caring for underserved families including newly-arrived refugees. Joan also worked tirelessly to support the art of breastfeeding in her role as Lactation Consultant and recently earned her certification as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC).
Friends and coworkers described Joan as “a bright shining light,’ possessing “such light and grace. Her warmth was felt by all.” She was “such a thoughtful, respectful, hardworking woman who loved her moms and babies…so selfless and caring and showed so much love anywhere she was.”
From a young age, Joan picked up on her father’s love for all animals, wild and domestic; her care for animals was consistent throughout her life. Her childhood was enhanced by the near-constant connections with all types of animals including horses, stray kittens, and gerbils. While raising her children, Joan frequently stopped for injured animals (deer, raccoon, turtle, geese, robins, turkey) and routinely nursed them back to health. She opened her home to foster animals through the SPCA, frequently delivering puppies and kittens in her children’s bathroom.
As a young child, when Joan asked her parents for puppies, her mom said “when you grow up, you can have as many dogs as you like”. And she did. Throughout her adult life, she bred and raised 11 litters of golden retriever puppies with her husband, Greg, bringing immeasurable joy to families across the northeast. She raised her puppies by hand in the family home and ultimately created a beloved lineage of “Classic Goldens”. In 2021, one of Joan’s puppies, AJ (owner, Mary Beth Konesky), was awarded “#1 Golden Retriever All Systems (AKC)” and Joan was bestowed the title of “Breeder of the Year” by the Golden Retriever Club of America.
Joan also exhibited a talent and appreciation for gardening and loved anything that connected her to the outdoors. Running, swimming, hiking, camping, water and downhill skiing, Joan lived an incredibly active life and frequently claimed she never felt more than 22 years-old.
Throughout different periods of Joan’s life, she assumed the role of primary caregiver for her ailing parents, in-laws, and most recently as caregiver and best friend to her adoring granddaughter, Valentina. Though her life was overflowing with responsibility and diverse interests dividing her attention, Joan’s only selfish acts in life were driven by her attempts to keep her family closer for longer.
Joan’s legacy will live on in her family and the families she touched. Family was the MOST important thing in her life. Joyful, generous, caring, spontaneous, loving, and determined Joan’s light will shine on for the rest of time.
Relatives and friends may visit the LOMBARDO FUNERAL HOME (Northtowns Chapel) 885 Niagara Falls Blvd. Amherst (near Eggert Rd.) on Monday, December 4th from 4-8PM. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Tuesday morning, December 5th in SS. Peter and Paul RC Church, 5480 Main St, Williamsville, NY 14221 at 9:30AM.
The family kindly requests that callers wear a pink accent or accessory in memory of Joan.
Although Joan loved flowers, consider a gift with lasting impact by donating in Joan’s name to:
Erie County SPCA: https://yourspca.org/
Crisis Services’ WNY Postpartum Connection Inc: https://www.wnypostpartum.com/