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John W. Borek Obituary

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John W. Borek

Rochester, New York

May 21, 1949 - April 3, 2021

John W. Borek Obituary

Animals die, friends die, and thyself, too, shall die; but one thing I know that never dies the tales of the one who died. From The Hávámal, an Old Norse poem. On May 23rd, 2020, my wife Jacqueline Levine died. I loved her more than anyone whoever walked the earth. I truly thought my life was over because I was also diagnosed with an aggressive leukemia which eventually killed me. We had no children. I survived as long as I did because of the superhuman efforts of friends and the compassionate care I was given at Wilmot Cancer Center. My friends who have taken care of me through my struggles deserve recognition. I want to bring them out of the shadows of their selfless care. They each lived with me to care for me. Thank you Eve Elzenga, Annette Dragon, Anthony Irwin, William Kern, Mia and Omar Bocanegra, Sara Korol Theresa Loebach, Phil Brune, Jan Jerzy Pytalski, and my nephew Jordan Daniel. Thank you Dr. Jason Mendler and your staff at Wilmot and all the nurses on the sixth floor and our therapists Doug Seyfried, Meredith Rossborough, Brian Pettit and Roger Gilchrist. If you'd like to know more about me, search “John W. Borek’s Nine Stories” at soundcloud.com. As my wife Jackie used to say about our lives together "We have won the lottery of life." I was born on May 21st, 1949 to John Walter Borek and Josephine Skawski Borek, as elegant a couple as ever lived. There was much suffering before my birth--three miscarriages. My parents doted on their prince of an only child. I had the most remarkable education imaginable--first Brighton High School which at the time was an Ivy League feeder secondary school. I went to Columbia University where I received a B.A. in English in 1971. This naturally led to my opening The Village Green Bookstore on Monroe Avenue with my friends-to-this-day, Paul Adams and William Kern. Jackie and I ran the store together for several years. The people who worked there were extraordinary: Paul Holzman, Hope Norton, Debbie Drechsler, Kathryn Hollinger, and when the store expanded Jessie Marvin Lazeroff, who righted the ship innumerable times After the bookstore closed I drifted for a while through financial services until I found my passion -- working for the betterment of SouthWest Rochester--first as President of the Nineteenth Ward Community Association and then for fifteen years as the legislative aide to the brilliant and compassionate Adam McFadden. For ten years I was the artistic director of The MuCCC Theater where I had a long list of questionable theater accomplishments (my own). I am survived by the happy memories of so many friends and young people. Traditionally one would do the genealogy march. But I will simply say thank you to Eve Elzenga and Annette Dragon, Anthony Irwin and Amelia Toelke, Sara Korol and Phil Brune and their children Celeste. Darian and Daphne, Margaret Storms, Jordan Daniel, Diana and Joe Seroski, Mindy and Tom Cumbow and their children Margot, David and Elizabeth Jacqueline, to my brother-in-law Steven Levine, my sister-in-law Eileen Daniel, Jan Jerzy Pytaski and Sarah Pytalski, Kristina Wilson, her husband Eric and children Joan and Neil, Janet Irwin and Lew Jones, Dinah Irwin, Max Irwin, Kate Simon, Sara Robbins, the Stocchi-Perucchio family including Douglas, the Adams Family (obit shout-out to Nadia!), Stuart and Illa Loeb, Kathryn and Doug Hollinger And thank you, Lew, for caring for my dog, Henri. I am also deeply appreciative of relatives who have visited or provided coffee cakes and banana bread -- Fran Davis Abby Reip, Marianne and Lance Williams, Debbie and Glen Lawrence Jackie and I lived in the 19th Ward across from the University of Rochester since 1983. For much of that time the neighborhood was unjustly vilified. You should be so lucky to live among neighbors like Gail Mott, Leah Watson, The Stocchi-Perucchio family (Donatella, Renato, Silvia and Giulia) Dr. Daniel DeMarle, Yoka and Ilon Adar-Stam and Juliet Sullivan and her daughters Josie and Molly. They got us through. And to those who had faith in the neighborhood throughout the years, bless you Frances Johnson, Dorothy Hall, Milton Harris, and Adrienne Kllc. What a joy our wonderful godchildren have been: Margaret Storms, Yoav Shafrir, Julia Norton and Pamela Kim Adams; and our grandniece and grandnephew, Noa and Ezra Seroski. For perfect omelettes, thank you Phil Berk. For perfect flowers, thank you Suzanne O'Brien. For perfect Christmas celebrations, thank you Anne Lutkus For a perfect Passover Seder, thank you The Shafrir Family (Sharon, Shai, Ivry, Daria and Yoav) For a deep friendship, a traveling Christmas tree and a coffee shop that had the warmth of our living room, thank you Keena and Jim Tasciotti. For making us part of an extended family, thank you Janet Irwin, Lew Jones, Anthony Irwin, Max Irwin and Dinah Irwin. For the pure joy of friendship and conversation, thank you Paul Nunes and Elizabeth Waller For an endless supply of cookies, thank you Eleanor Oi and her daughter Victoria. For insider information on Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, thank you Gretchen Anthony For participating in my imperfect (way imperfect) theater world, thank you Annette Dragon, Spencer Christiano, Cassandra Kelly, Louie Podlaski Michael Arve, Arthur Bicknell, Laurie MacFarlane, Ruben Ornelas, Mike Bulger, Don Bartalo, Karsten Brooks, Betsy Benedict, Solomon Blaylock, Rebecca Solomon, Justin Rielly and all of you who believe the performer is to be revered; the audience, not so much. For perfect Italian adventures, thank you Donna Logan, Federico Siniscalco and their daughter Martina. For perfect British adventures, thank you Lisa Toelle and her late husband Bruce George MP. For perfect Spanish adventures, thank you Maria Cordoba, James Rajotte and their children Oliver and John. For perfect Icelandic adventures, thank you Ian Watson. For perfect Japanese adventures, thank you Ben Snyder and Hitomi Nomura and their children Robin and Jay and mom and dad Vicki Roth and Phil Snyder. For opening my eyes to integrating art into life and for decades of extraordinary friendship, thank you Richard and Lucinda Storms. For believing in the power of theater like no one else I know, thank you Don Bartalo. For helping me when I thought all was lost, thank you Gary Cassara and Alice Hoagland. For making me believe in my art, no matter how strange, thank you Bleu Cease and Amy Collins. For being the best DJ ever (Long Live the Professor of Rap!(), thank you Brandon McNeil. For being the person who has come the farthest, has taught me the most about how life can magically change if you really try, thank you Richard Collinge. Have Richard design a Professor of Rap special outfit for you! For sitting in our kitchen and telling stories that would put "Mt. Allegro" to shame, thank you Marco Cultrara. For fifty years of friendship and stories, thank you Connie Davis. For German chocolates, wit, joy and friendship, thank you Caroline Coone. For trying to design with me a duck-shaped cruise ship, thank you Jon Young with a hello to Lisa, Armin and Giada. For showing me that art is everywhere, thank you Pepsy Kettavong. For understanding the depths of my mad artistry, thank you Jeff and Margaret Spevak For giving me a fifteen year lesson in civics, ethics, government and responsibility and for her invaluable friendship, thank you Carolee Conklin. For training Henri for "War Terrier: and planting a lilac for my mother, thank you Deborah Cooper For connections to a glorious, mythical past, thank you Kabir and Gawain de Leeuw. For helping me navigate Jackie's illness when a doctor abandoned her and for pouring love on a deep wound, thank you David Higgins. For the great camaraderie of my wife's international colleagues, here's a toast to Ewa Hauser, Lisa Toelle, Petra Visscher and Margery Ganz. For your talent, commitment to the American Songbook and for showing me a path through grief and despair, thank you my dear college friend, Gerry Geddes. To Melyssa Hall who loves New York as much as I did. To Neena and Daniel Holzman who have turned my grief into art and who have reminded me, through their generational kindness, how much I love their parents Paul and Mira. To the Lank family who gave me intellectual shelter. To my high school teacher Beverly Rorick who had me read everything from Buddhist texts to Wuthering Heights. To three wonderful sisters: Rainie Spiva, Laila and Zoe McFadden To the Hofseth family. I'm sorry I will not see Norway. To Rachel Isenberg who climbs mountains in search of truth. To Marius Kothor, who will be a great scholar. To Jim Hulbert, Jackie's young, mad, funny French professor who our beagle adopted. To my brother-in-law, Steve Levine, a fountain of information. To Eve Elzenga, who is brilliant. And lastly to my high school friends who saw me through every stage of my life: Karen Winer, April Vollmer, Sally Erdle, William Kern, Paul Adams, and Betsy Benedict. The rest of you who have been shining lights in my life and Jackie's life know who you are. I can never thank you enough for the help you gave us so that Jackie and I could thrive in our illnesses. There is no need to grieve. Our lives have been everything they could possibly have been. To remember us, take a child to an art gallery, a dance concert, a play or a library. You also could make a donation in our name to the RoCo(Rochester Contemporary Art Center, 137 East Avenue, Rochester, NY 14604.) Condolences may be sent to Jordan Daniel at 296 Melrose St. Rochester, NY 14619

To share a memory or send a condolence gift, please visit the Official Obituary of John W. Borek hosted by Anthony Funeral.

Animals die, friends die, and thyself, too, shall die; but one thing I know that never dies the tales of the one who died. From The Hávámal, an Old Norse poem. On May 23rd, 2020, my wife Jacqueline Levine died. I loved her more than anyone whoever walked the earth. I truly thought my life was over because I was also diagnosed with an aggressive leukemia which eventually killed me. We had no children. I survived as long as I did because of the superhuman efforts of friends and the compassionate care I was given at Wilmot Cancer Center. My friends who have taken care of me through my struggles deserve recognition. I want to bring them out of the shadows of their selfless care. They each lived with me to care for me. Thank you Eve Elzenga, Annette Dragon, Anthony Irwin, William Kern, Mia and Omar Bocanegra, Sara Korol Theresa Loebach, Phil Brune, Jan Jerzy Pytalski, and my nephew Jordan Daniel. Thank you Dr. Jason Mendler and your staff at Wilmot and all the nurses on the sixth floor and our therapists Doug Seyfried, Meredith Rossborough, Brian Pettit and Roger Gilchrist. If you'd like to know more about me, search “John W. Borek’s Nine Stories” at soundcloud.com. As my wife Jackie used to say about our lives together "We have won the lottery of life." I was born on May 21st, 1949 to John Walter Borek and Josephine Skawski Borek, as elegant a couple as ever lived. There was much suffering before my birth--three miscarriages. My parents doted on their prince of an only child. I had the most remarkable education imaginable--first Brighton High School which at the time was an Ivy League feeder secondary school. I went to Columbia University where I received a B.A. in English in 1971. This naturally led to my opening The Village Green Bookstore on Monroe Avenue with my friends-to-this-day, Paul Adams and William Kern. Jackie and I ran the store together for several years. The people who worked there were extraordinary: Paul Holzman, Hope Norton, Debbie Drechsler, Kathryn Hollinger, and when the store expanded Jessie Marvin Lazeroff, who righted the ship innumerable times After the bookstore closed I drifted for a while through financial services until I found my passion -- working for the betterment of SouthWest Rochester--first as President of the Nineteenth Ward Community Association and then for fifteen years as the legislative aide to the brilliant and compassionate Adam McFadden. For ten years I was the artistic director of The MuCCC Theater where I had a long list of questionable theater accomplishments (my own). I am survived by the happy memories of so many friends and young people. Traditionally one would do the genealogy march. But I will simply say thank you to Eve Elzenga and Annette Dragon, Anthony Irwin and Amelia Toelke, Sara Korol and Phil Brune and their children Celeste. Darian and Daphne, Margaret Storms, Jordan Daniel, Diana and Joe Seroski, Mindy and Tom Cumbow and their children Margot, David and Elizabeth Jacqueline, to my brother-in-law Steven Levine, my sister-in-law Eileen Daniel, Jan Jerzy Pytaski and Sarah Pytalski, Kristina Wilson, her husband Eric and children Joan and Neil, Janet Irwin and Lew Jones, Dinah Irwin, Max Irwin, Kate Simon, Sara Robbins, the Stocchi-Perucchio family including Douglas, the Adams Family (obit shout-out to Nadia!), Stuart and Illa Loeb, Kathryn and Doug Hollinger And thank you, Lew, for caring for my dog, Henri. I am also deeply appreciative of relatives who have visited or provided coffee cakes and banana bread -- Fran Davis Abby Reip, Marianne and Lance Williams, Debbie and Glen Lawrence Jackie and I lived in the 19th Ward across from the University of Rochester since 1983. For much of that time the neighborhood was unjustly vilified. You should be so lucky to live among neighbors like Gail Mott, Leah Watson, The Stocchi-Perucchio family (Donatella, Renato, Silvia and Giulia) Dr. Daniel DeMarle, Yoka and Ilon Adar-Stam and Juliet Sullivan and her daughters Josie and Molly. They got us through. And to those who had faith in the neighborhood throughout the years, bless you Frances Johnson, Dorothy Hall, Milton Harris, and Adrienne Kllc. What a joy our wonderful godchildren have been: Margaret Storms, Yoav Shafrir, Julia Norton and Pamela Kim Adams; and our grandniece and grandnephew, Noa and Ezra Seroski. For perfect omelettes, thank you Phil Berk. For perfect flowers, thank you Suzanne O'Brien. For perfect Christmas celebrations, thank you Anne Lutkus For a perfect Passover Seder, thank you The Shafrir Family (Sharon, Shai, Ivry, Daria and Yoav) For a deep friendship, a traveling Christmas tree and a coffee shop that had the warmth of our living room, thank you Keena and Jim Tasciotti. For making us part of an extended family, thank you Janet Irwin, Lew Jones, Anthony Irwin, Max Irwin and Dinah Irwin. For the pure joy of friendship and conversation, thank you Paul Nunes and Elizabeth Waller For an endless supply of cookies, thank you Eleanor Oi and her daughter Victoria. For insider information on Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, thank you Gretchen Anthony For participating in my imperfect (way imperfect) theater world, thank you Annette Dragon, Spencer Christiano, Cassandra Kelly, Louie Podlaski Michael Arve, Arthur Bicknell, Laurie MacFarlane, Ruben Ornelas, Mike Bulger, Don Bartalo, Karsten Brooks, Betsy Benedict, Solomon Blaylock, Rebecca Solomon, Justin Rielly and all of you who believe the performer is to be revered; the audience, not so much. For perfect Italian adventures, thank you Donna Logan, Federico Siniscalco and their daughter Martina. For perfect British adventures, thank you Lisa Toelle and her late husband Bruce George MP. For perfect Spanish adventures, thank you Maria Cordoba, James Rajotte and their children Oliver and John. For perfect Icelandic adventures, thank you Ian Watson. For perfect Japanese adventures, thank you Ben Snyder and Hitomi Nomura and their children Robin and Jay and mom and dad Vicki Roth and Phil Snyder. For opening my eyes to integrating art into life and for decades of extraordinary friendship, thank you Richard and Lucinda Storms. For believing in the power of theater like no one else I know, thank you Don Bartalo. For helping me when I thought all was lost, thank you Gary Cassara and Alice Hoagland. For making me believe in my art, no matter how strange, thank you Bleu Cease and Amy Collins. For being the best DJ ever (Long Live the Professor of Rap!(), thank you Brandon McNeil. For being the person who has come the farthest, has taught me the most about how life can magically change if you really try, thank you Richard Collinge. Have Richard design a Professor of Rap special outfit for you! For sitting in our kitchen and telling stories that would put "Mt. Allegro" to shame, thank you Marco Cultrara. For fifty years of friendship and stories, thank you Connie Davis. For German chocolates, wit, joy and friendship, thank you Caroline Coone. For trying to design with me a duck-shaped cruise ship, thank you Jon Young with a hello to Lisa, Armin and Giada. For showing me that art is everywhere, thank you Pepsy Kettavong. For understanding the depths of my mad artistry, thank you Jeff and Margaret Spevak For giving me a fifteen year lesson in civics, ethics, government and responsibility and for her invaluable friendship, thank you Carolee Conklin. For training Henri for "War Terrier: and planting a lilac for my mother, thank you Deborah Cooper For connections to a glorious, mythical past, thank you Kabir and Gawain de Leeuw. For helping me navigate Jackie's illness when a doctor abandoned her and for pouring love on a deep wound, thank you David Higgins. For the great camaraderie of my wife's international colleagues, here's a toast to Ewa Hauser, Lisa Toelle, Petra Visscher and Margery Ganz. For your talent, commitment to the American Songbook and for showing me a path through grief and despair, thank you my dear college friend, Gerry Geddes. To Melyssa Hall who loves New York as much as I did. To Neena and Daniel Holzman who have turned my grief into art and who have reminded me, through their generational kindness, how much I love their parents Paul and Mira. To the Lank family who gave me intellectual shelter. To my high school teacher Beverly Rorick who had me read everything from Buddhist texts to Wuthering Heights. To three wonderful sisters: Rainie Spiva, Laila and Zoe McFadden To the Hofseth family. I'm sorry I will not see Norway. To Rachel Isenberg who climbs mountains in search of truth. To Marius Kothor, who will be a great scholar. To Jim Hulbert, Jackie's young, mad, funny French professor who our beagle adopted. To my brother-in-law, Steve Levine, a fountain of information. To Eve Elzenga, who is brilliant. And lastly to my high school friends who saw me through every stage of my life: Karen Winer, April Vollmer, Sally Erdle, William Kern, Paul Adams, and Betsy Benedict. The rest of you who have been shining lights in my life and Jackie's life know who you are. I can never thank you enough for the help you gave us so that Jackie and I could thrive in our illnesses. There is no need to grieve. Our lives have been everything they could possibly have been. To remember us, take a child to an art gallery, a dance concert, a play or a library. You also could make a donation in our name to the RoCo(Rochester Contemporary Art Center, 137 East Avenue, Rochester, NY 14604.) Condolences may be sent to Jordan Daniel at 296 Melrose St. Rochester, NY 14619

To share a memory or send a condolence gift, please visit the Official Obituary of John W. Borek hosted by Anthony Funeral.

Events

Event information can be found on the Official Obituary of John W. Borek.