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Obituaries Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, July 21, 2011

Jack S. Vojnar

SCHENECTADY — Jack S. Vojnar was a skilled mechanic with a great sense of humor who loved to do impressions. His family and friends called him “Jake.” And he was always close with his siblings.

“There were three boys, and they were like the Three Musketeers: Jack, Sean, and Bobby,” said their sister, Doris Vojnar. “He was the last of the three,” she said. Their other sister, Audrey, usually joined the fray.

“Sean and Jack were partners in Olde Tyme Construction,” Doris Vojnar said. “Jack could take apart a car and put it back together.”

After a long and courageous battle with cancer, Mr. Vojnar died on July 16, 2011, at the Joan Nicole Prince Home in Scotia, surrounded by his loving family.

“With my mother dying just last year, it’s kind of a little setback for us,” said Mrs. Vojnar.

Mr. Vojnar grew up in Guilderland and attended Guilderland Central High School. He was an avid fan of NASCAR, the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing; the New York Jets; martial arts; and motorcycles.

“His pride and joy were his tools,” his sister said. “He would borrow some, but nobody borrowed his.”

And he loved the outdoors.

“He’d come down to the farm every day,” his sister went on. “He liked shooting; he had gun collections. He liked his cars. He loved hanging out with his friends.”

He also enjoyed snowmobiling, riding in his truck, and he always had a cup of Stewart’s coffee.

“First stop in the morning was Stewart’s,” Ms. Vojnar said. “He’d stop there and shoot the breeze.”

“He made many laugh,” his family wrote in a tribute, “and will be truly missed by all that knew him and loved him so very dearly.”

“He took sick in November, and his fiancée, Deborah, was by his side day and night,” his sister said. “But he never complained. He always thought things would be better. Not even one tear. Didn’t blame anybody.”

He got that from his mother, Mrs. Vojnar said.

Mr. Vojnar’s family sends its thanks to all the hospice volunteers at the Joan Nicole Prince Home for all their care and support, especially Susan, the executive director, along with Gail, Jennifer, and Anne. The family also sends its thanks to Jane Nugent and Dr. Giokas.

His sister, Doris Vojnar, concluded with a message to her brother: “You might be gone in body, but you are always in our hearts. You are our best friend, and our brother. Watch over us from where you are, until we meet again.”


Mr. Vojnar is survived by his son, Jack Vojnar Jr., of Colonie; his longtime fiancé, Deborah Davin, of Schenectady; and his father, William S. Vojnar, of Guilderland.

He is also survived by his brothers and sisters: William Vojnar and his wife, Dottie, of Esperance; Doris L. Vojnar of Cohoes; Kathleen Watford and her husband, Don of Garden City Beach, SC.; Randy Vojnar of Coulee Dam, WA.; Dan Vojnar and his wife, Lonya, of Guilderland; Audrey Kearns and her husband, Ronald, of Guilderland; Shawn Vojnar and his wife, Michele, of Guilderland; Bob Vojnar and his wife, Sara, of Rexford; and Angelo Miasonave of Schenectady.
Surviving, too, are his aunt, Elizabeth Vojnar; his nieces and nephews: Lisa, Willy, Jeromey, David, Alaya, and Tamira Vojnar; and several grandnieces and grandnephews.

Mr. Vojnar’s mother, Doris E. Vojnar, died before him, as did and his grandparents: William and Sadie Vojnar, and Clinton and Mildred Phillip.

Funeral services were held on Wednesday, July 20, at the DeMarco-Stone Funeral Home in Guilderland. Friends and family called at the funeral home before the service.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Joan Nicole Prince Home, 22 Glenview Drive, Scotia, NY 12302.

— Zach Simeone

Anthony E. Restifo

GUILDERLAND — A devoted father and family man, Anthony “Tony” Restifo died on Father’s Day, on Sunday, June 19, 2011. He was 67.

“He was not sick,” said his daughter, Deena Lestage. “He went to sleep and never woke up.”

“It was an unexpected heart attack,” said his wife, Donna Restifo.

“He was a very generous, very caring, very thoughtful man,” said Mrs. Restifo. “He knew what you wanted before you wanted it. He was tuned into people. You would think it, and it would be done.”

Shortly before he died, her husband had taken her to Gade’s to buy a burning bush, black-eyed Susans, and a hydrangea. They were planted before he died, Mrs. Restifo said, giving an example of his intuitive kindness. “The solar lights came after he passed away,” she said.

But his memory continues to light her way. She said he learned his love of family as he grew up in Albany’s South End. Born in Albany to the late Anthony and Antoinette (Anziano) Restifo, his close-knit family lived in a single house.
“His grandmother lived in the basement; his aunt lived on the first floor of their house; and his mother and father lived upstairs,” said his wife. He and his sister were named for their grandparents — Angela and Anthony.

“They lived in the Grand Street area,” Mrs. Restifo went on. “They were all very close. You’d say an Italian name and, somehow, he was related.”

Mr. Restifo graduated in 1962 from Phillip Schyler High School in Albany. After graduation, he proudly served with the United States Navy.

He relished telling the story of how he met Donna Miller, the woman who would become his wife, said Ms. Lestage. “He saw my mother walk into a bar wearing lime green pants. ‘She caught my eye,’ he’d say.”

Mrs. Restifo laughed at the story. “I think he was color blind….My pants were olive.” She went on, “He was there at the bar. He had other plans. He met me and I guess that was it.”

The couple married in 1966 and had three children — two daughters and a son — whom they raised in a house they had built on Spawn Road in Guilderland.

“My mother and father were each other’s best friends and confidants,” said Ms. Lestage. “They did everything together.”

“He was a great father — very strict but very generous,” she went on. “When we were kids, we thought we were rich. He’d come home from work and say, ‘C’mon. Get in the car.’ And we’d go to Hoffman’s Playland. Or, he’d come home and say, ‘I feel like having a good hamburger.’ And we’d drive from Guilderland all the way to Nassau Lake in Columbia County to Jean’s…We’d get hamburgers and skip stones on the lake, and feed oyster crackers to the fish till it was dark.
“He was a very spontaneous fellow,” she said.

He loved to watch the Yankees and John Wayne movies, and he would never miss a Jeopardy episode, his family said.
Mr. Restifo coached his daughter, Michelle, in softball and his son, Anthony, in Pop Warner. He would often cook meals for the teams, barbecuing homemade sausages, said his wife.

He continued his generous and caring ways even after his children were grown and had children of their own.

“His son, his namesake, was the apple of his eye,” said Mrs. Restifo. “He still treated him like he was a baby.”

Ms. Lestage recounts coming home to find a bag at her door, filled with the fixings for dinner, like homemade meatballs and sauce, with a note saying, “All you have to do is boil water.”

She also recalled needing eggs for baking in the midst of a snowstorm. “He was kind of stubborn,” she said. “He wouldn’t just get you eggs. He had to know what else your refrigerator was lacking. He’d come in with two bags of groceries in a three-foot snowstorm,” she said, concluding, “He was a caretaker.”

He was also a hard worker. Mr. Restifo’s first job was working at his father’s gas station. After his hitch in the Navy, his daughter said, he worked in construction on Albany’s mall. “I remember him coming home with a hardhat on and his hair would curl up around his hardhat,” she said. He worked for a while at Montgomery Ward and then in sales for a furniture company that had stores across New York State.

When Mr. Restifo spent time at the store in Hudson, Ms. Lestage said, “He’d come home and talk about this kid that caused a ruckus in town and he’d say, ‘He’ll be a big name some day.’” That kid was Mike Tyson.

Mr. Restifo went on to work, for the last 20 years, at the New York State Department of Higher Education, collecting for student loans; he retired last September, said his daughter.

Mrs. Restifo recounted the usual Sunday doughnut runs her husband would make, bringing treats to his children and grandchildren. “It was almost like church for him,” she said. “My one grandson says now, ‘We haven’t had any good food since Poppie’s been gone.’…

“He brought doughnuts to his family at work, too,” Mrs. Restifo said. She recalled a co-worker at Mr. Restifo’s wake saying how, on his last day, he brought her a treat — a huge glazed doughnut, her favorite.
“He was always looking out for others,” Mrs. Restifo concluded.


Anthony Restifo is survived by his wife and best friend, Donna L. (Miller) Restifo; his two daughters, Deena Lestage and her husband, Jeffrey, and Michelle Mendrysa and her husband, John, and his son Anthony Restifo and his life companion, Erica Tenney.

He is also survived by his grandchildren: Courtney, Christian, Abby, Jack, Luke, and Noah. He is survived, too, by his special nephew, Kirk Greenfield Jr., and his special niece, Janelle Anziano.

He is also survived by his sister, Angela Bertrand, and her husband, Alfred, and by his sister-in-law, Gayle Anziano.

Funeral services were held on June 23 at the New Comer Cannon Funeral Home, then a Mass of Christian Burial was held at historic St. Mary’s on Capitol Hill. Interment followed the Mass at Our Lady of Angels Cemetery in Colonie.

Memorial contributions may be made to a charity of one’s choice. To leave a message for the family online, visit www.newcomeralbany.com.

— Melissa Hale-Spencer

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