Elizabeth J. LavernoichJuly 1, 1927 ~ July 7, 2017 (age 90)
Elizabeth Jane Perry Lavernoich
After a short illness, Elizabeth “BJ” Lavernoich passed away on July 7th 2017 at Valerie Manor Nursing home in Torrington, CT. BJ had just recently celebrated her 90th birthday with family. BJ resided in Winsted, CT on the southern shore of her beloved Highland Lake from Labor Day weekend 1956 to September 2013, and had resided since at Valerie Manor.
BJ was born on July 1st or 2nd 1927 in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. For most of her youth she resided in Newark, Delaware, and was a member of Newark High School’s Class of 1945. Formative summers of her youth were spent in Hantsport, Nova Scotia with her grandmother, making childhood friends in the 1930s and 1940s that she kept in touch with into the 21st century. She graduated from New England College of Henniker, New Hampshire in 1949 with a bachelor’s degree in English; part of NEC’s first graduating class. She met Alphonse Lavernoich at NEC, and was subsequently married to him for 42 years, until his passing in 1994.
As a newlywed she resided for 3 years in New Ipswich, New Hampshire, before moving to Winsted.
BJ was a substitute school teacher in Winsted, Barkhamsted, Colebrook, and Norfolk for several years during the 1970s. She earned an Associate’s degree in Library Science at Northwestern Community College, and held the position of Children’s Librarian at Winsted’s Beardsley and Memorial Library for nearly two decades. As a result of her dedicated and creative service to the library, a generation of children and their mothers became loyal friends and long time correspondents. For many years, she was a passionate volunteer for the Northwestern CT Association for Children with Learning Disabilities, and in retirement, a devoted guest reader in the Winchester Public Schools and at the Blanche McCarthy Senior Center. She was a volunteer reading tutor for dozens of children and several special needs adults. Reading was BJ’s lifelong passion, and encouraging others to read was a mission throughout her adult life. She was a strong advocate for improving education and protecting programs in the Winchester Public Schools, authoring Op-Eds in the local papers into her early 80s. BJ was a long time member of St. James Episcopal Church in Winsted, and taught Sunday school there for many years.
BJ was pre-deceased by her husband Alphonse, who she referred to as “Pookie”. She was the daughter of the late Arthur Wesley Perry from Nova Scotia, Canada and Anna Rebecca Potterfield Perry from Virginia. She was also pre-deceased by a brother Arthur William Perry, and a sister, Mary Foye Perry Huhta.
BJ is survived by a sister, Anne Perry Ford of Claremont, California; four sons: William Lavernoich of Tolland, Connecticut, Joseph Lavernoich and wife Marilyn of Charlottesville Virginia, Edward Lavernoich and wife Patricia of Beacon Falls, Connecticut, and John Lavernoich of Winsted, Connecticut; and four grandchildren: David, Alex, Rebecca, and Julia.
BJ was an iconic and widely known resident of Highland Lake, known for “BJ’s boatrides”, sharing the lake’s history and stories of families with a captive audience while her dog barked at anything that moved. She was an avid gardener who loved to plant flowers, but always chose to have her sons worry about the weeds in her gardens and the “weeds” in virtually every other aspect of her life. There will be a wake at Maloney Funeral Home 55 Walnut Street, Winsted, CT. 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM. On Wednesday July 12th, 2017, Burial will be private. A Memorial Service will be held at St. James Episcopal Church on Thursday July 13th, 2017 at 11:00 AM. To leave online condolences, please visit: www.maloneyfuneral.com
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Alphonse P. Lavernoich Gilbert School Scholarship Fund or the St. James Episcopal Church Memorial Fund.