Dorothy Joan Smolenski, known fondly as Joan to friends and family, peacefully passed away on December 11, 2023, in Ridgewood, New Jersey. Born on November 30, 1931, in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, Joan's life was a rich tapestry woven with love, dedication, and service.
Joan grew up in Bergenfield, NJ, and graduated from Tenafly High School. With a passion for art, she furthered her education at Syracuse University in New York.
After marrying the love of her life, Aleg Smolenski, who preceded her in death, Joan settled in Oakland, New Jersey in 1958. Though she faced the loss of her beloved husband, her mother Lois Demarest Tutschek, her father Gilbert Tutschek, her brother Gilbert Scott Tutschek, and her son Peter John Smolenski, Joan’s strength and warmth never wavered.
Joan will be lovingly remembered by her children: Anne Gardinier, David Smolenski and his wife, Robin, and Paul Smolenski. She was a proud and devoted grandmother to her adored grandchildren: Christopher and Jeffrey Gardinier; Gilbert, Jewell, and Caroline Smolenski; and Emily and Andrew Smolenski.
Professionally, Joan took great pride in her 17-year tenure at Meadox Medicals, where she skillfully hand-sewed aortic and vascular graft devices. Her dedication and precision in her work undeniably contributed to the wellbeing of countless patients.
As a nurturing spirit and proud loving mother of four, Joan leaves behind a legacy of her generous and selfless character. Her home was always a welcoming haven, regularly hosting holiday and family gatherings. The same hands that carefully constructed life-saving medical devices were equally adept at creating meals filled with love.
A woman of many interests, she cultivated a beautiful garden that was a playground for the birds she adored, cardinals and hummingbirds being among her favorites. Summers held a special place in her heart, with cherished memories made at Glen Wild Lake in Bloomingdale and Ocean Grove, NJ.
Joan's contributions to her community were no less significant. An active member of the Ponds Reformed Church in Oakland, her faith and commitment to service shone brightly through her actions and interactions with others. Her days as a proud Girl Scout further exemplified her dedication to guiding and supporting the young.Those who knew Joan would describe her as a lantern of generosity, love, and selflessness, illuminating the lives of those around her. Her absence will be deeply felt, but her memory will continue to inspire all who knew her.
Though we say goodbye to Joan, her indomitable spirit and the multitude of memories she leaves behind will continue to comfort and guide her family and friends.
The legacy of Dorothy Joan Smolenski is one of profound love and unending dedication, and it is with this remembrance that her spirit will forever flourish in the hearts she touched.