JoAnne Stack, 95

JoAnne Bernadette Stack, “Dody” to family and friends, passed away peacefully on February 16, 2024, with her family by her side. She was 95 years old, had enormous faith in God and practiced her Catholic religion daily. She loved her family and friends deeply and lived life every day to the fullest.

Her family was her rock: Dody was the third of four sisters born to Dr. Joseph and Helen (nee’ Beckett) Stack. Her father, a dentist, and her mother were both from large families, so Dody’s life was filled with happy activities and family gatherings. She adored her older sisters Maria and Ellen and younger sister Cynthia and described the four of them as a team. They all remained close throughout their lives, speaking multiple times to one another every day. The Stacks raised their daughters in the Pelham Bay section of the Bronx. Dody often said that Pelham Bay Park was a magical place as it provided them with recreational games, ice skating in winter, and job positions as teenagers as playground supervisors!

Her educational journey included attending P.S. 71, Villa Maria Academy and St. Simon Stock high schools, and Good Counsel College, not only earning a wonderful education at each but collecting lifelong friends along the way. Dody appreciated the Catholic school perspective that she gained in high school and college. She remained loyal to her schools throughout her life, always involved with the alumni associations.

She served as Alumni President of the College of White Plains of Pace University (the successor to Good Counsel) for a number of years and maintained close relationships with the nuns and her classmates. She also earned a master’s degree from Columbia University, Teacher’s College – a degree that she would put to good use for the remainder of her working days.

Dody was a natural teacher and administrator, and especially loved working with children. From 1951 – 1967, she taught 2nd , 3rd and 4th grades in Murray Avenue School in Larchmont, NY, followed by a promotion to Resource Teacher district-wide for all four elementary schools. She was promoted to Assistant Principal at Murray Avenue School, a position she served in from 1969-1983. Dody finished her career as the Principal of Chatsworth Avenue School from 1983 until she retired in 1992.

In reflecting on her 41 years in the Mamaroneck Public School System, Dody said she was most proud of her work on the district’s curriculum, her encouragement of teachers’ professional development, and the community feeling at the school. Her hope was that the steps she had taken to secure these goals created a legacy that would live on. After her retirement, Dody continued to get together on a regular basis with her work colleagues and to keep in touch with those who had moved away. She always said it was a blessing to have worked with such wonderful, dedicated, smart people.

Dody lived most of her life in Peter Cooper Village-Stuyvesant Town in lower Manhattan. She enjoyed walking everywhere in the city, going to the theatre or movies, and getting together with friends that she had known her whole life. She took great pleasure in all sports, but especially baseball, golf and ice skating. As a child, Dody participated in the Silver Skates ice skating competition at the 1939 World’s Fair skating rink. Later on she frequently chaperoned classes of school children to the ice rink so that they could skate with their principal, and brought her grand-nieces and grand-nephews ice skating. The children were all awed by her speed skating prowess!

After retirement, Dody traveled extensively both domestically and internationally, including Russia, Spain, Italy and the UK. She spent a few weeks every spring and summer in her beloved Hilton Head Island, South Carolina where she enjoyed golf, swimming and hosting members of her family at her villa there. A consummate hostess, Dody enjoyed giving parties, hosting dinners and entertaining people from all walks of her life. Young or old, she enjoyed people and was happiest when she could show some measure of kindness to them, whether through a delicious meal, a thoughtful present or a timely thank you note of gratitude.

A devout Catholic, Dody was a daily mass communicant, said the rosary every day and was often seen holding her prayer book saying her prayers quietly to herself.

She put this faith into action and volunteered weekly for many years as a teacher of English to disadvantaged adults, and at Lourdes in France as a helper making beds, mopping floors, doing dishes and bringing food to the sick malades. She was devoted to the Little Sisters of the Assumption (LSA) Family Health Service from the time that her father provided free dentistry services to the nuns. Dody continued her father’s legacy through her ongoing relationship and financial support of the Little Sisters.

Dody is survived by her 15 nieces and nephews (Jayne Anne, Peter, Kathleen, Joseph, Maria, David and Anne Kinsella; Bernard, Joseph, Elizabeth, Susan, David and Robert Marren; Carol and Maureen Byrnes) and their spouses, numerous grandnieces and grandnephews, and many great-grandnieces and great-grandnephews. She was predeceased and is now joyfully reunited with her parents Dr. and Mrs. Joseph A. Stack; her sisters and brothers-in-law: Dr. Maria and her husband Dr. Peter Kinsella, Ellen and her husband Bernard Marren, and Cynthia and her husband John Byrnes; nephew John Byrnes Jr.; and grandnephew Colin Marren.

Visitation hours at Coxe & Graziano Funeral Home, 134 Hamilton Avenue, Greenwich CT will be 4:00-8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 21. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Mary Roman Catholic Church, 178 Greenwich Avenue, Greenwich CT 06830 on Thursday, February 22 at 10:00 a.m. Interment at Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Valhalla to follow the mass.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donations in honor of JoAnne Stack to D. Marren Primary Lateral Sclerosis Research Fund at Columbia University (please make check payable to Columbia University, in memo field D. Marren PLS Research Fund, and mail to Columbia University Irving Medical Center, Office of Development Attn: Matt Reals, 516 W 168th Street, 3 rd Floor, New York, NY 10032) or the Colin Donohue Marren Charitable Fund (please make check payable to Colin Donohue Marren Charitable Fund, memo space–account 1017713, and mail to Fidelity Charitable, PO Box 770001, Cincinnati, Ohio 45277).