Navigating life is a continuous journey, filled with various twists and turns. Facing the uncertainty of where one’s path may lead, the road of life, at many times can be difficult. After Joan Constance Stovicek was diagnosed with cancer, she made sure that every courageous step she took, led her to finding peace and joy at Chautauqua Lake before passing in March 2014.
Born in New York City and raised in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, Joan eventually settled in the Cleveland, Ohio area with her second husband, Lawrence Stovicek.
Together, Larry and Joan would spend the summer months relaxing and soaking up the long, summer days at a vacation home they bought off of Route 430 in Bemus Point. Their home, nestled along the shore line, offered a panoramic window, constantly open to the natural beauty and serenity of Chautauqua Lake.
When Lawrence passed away in 2009, Joan decided to remain in Bemus Point year-round. She had traveled the world and lived all over the country, but it was here that she found her true home.
Joan was, by all accounts, a private person. However, those who knew her best were drawn to her warm and caring nature. She savored time spent with her close friends, especially Bemus Point Native, Jim McDonough, who introduced her to his friends. Together, they gave Joan the opportunity to really know and explore the Chautauqua region. Joan loved to spend her days at hunting camp, riding four wheelers or taking, long, scenic drives around the Lake.
Not long after Lawrence passed, it was suggested that Joan should consider visiting a local attorney to put together a plan for their estate should anything happen to her now that she was living here on a full-time basis.
With her attorney, Joan began to scratch down to the bare bones of what was important to her. While not a charitable person in the sense that she was prone to giving money to one cause or another, Joan was an extremely generous and kind woman.
Not interested in settling on one particular area, her attorney suggested the Fund for the Region at the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation for its fluidity and ability to address emerging community needs as they arise.
“She liked the idea that the (Community Foundation’s) Board of Directors could adapt (her gift) to whatever happens to affect the region at different times,” her attorney said.
Covering the arts, sports and leisure activities, human service, and environmental issues, the Fund for the Region truly captured Joan’s personality and her unique relationship with our area.
In his eulogy, Bart Stovicek, Joan’s step-son, said this, “Our legacy is more than the people we leave behind, but the values they take from us and improve upon.”
Joan’s values: her loyalty, her commitment, her courageousness and her friendship will be remembered and carried on by those who knew and loved her. Her remarkable generosity and foresight to have left, and will continue to leave, a lasting impression on our community.
Joan’s path led her to the Chautauqua region, her legacy leads us to the future.