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Obituaries & Services

The listings below represent the current and recent services entrusted to our care. If the service you are looking for is not shown, please enter the name of the deceased in the search box and click search.

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Novella “Novie” Faith Claiborn

Nov. 15, 1996 ~ May 20, 2020

Services will be held:

Bryan-Lee Funeral Homes

John Thomas “J.T.” Honeycutt

May 23, 1938 ~ May 23, 2020

Services will be held: May 29, 2020

Pansy Greer Wood

October 16, 1935 ~ May 26, 2020

Services will be held:

Alma A. Fuquay

October 29, 1926 ~ May 22, 2020

Services will be held: May 25, 2020

Delores Irene Caskey

July 1, 1939 ~ May 21, 2020

Services will be held:

Lyman Danziel Gregory

January 1, 1931 ~ May 21, 2020

Services will be held: May 27, 2020

Linda Grice Byrd

July 7, 1938 ~ May 20, 2020

Services will be held:

Ted Darrell Austin

February 17, 1930 ~ May 19, 2020

Services will be held: May 23, 2020

John Gerald Cioffi

May 10, 1919 ~ April 6, 2020

John Gerald Cioffi, 100, was born May 10, 1919 to the late Carmine and Jennie Della Cerra Cioffi, in Rochester, NY.

My father always said that his obituary should only say ‘John Cioffi loved God, his wife and family’. Sum total. Sorry, Dad, there’s more to be said.

After graduating from University of Rochester, class of 1940, he served in the USN at Portsmouth Naval Hospital, where he met Mom. Then he worked at Symington Gould in the chemical control laboratory as a metals analyst. There he did quality control and research projects. After receiving his MEd in 1951, he taught high school biology, chemistry & physics at Rouses Point High School in Rouses Point, NY, where he also worked part time in a grocery store as a butcher and salesman, and part time at the local movie theater – back in the reel to reel days. He moved the family to Long Island where he taught at Wellington C. Mepham High School in Bellmore, NY. In 1959, he took a teaching position at Rhinebeck Central High School in Rhinebeck, NY, where he remained until his retirement in 1979. After retirement, he spent many years volunteering at Ferncliff Nursing Home and Northern Dutchess Hospital.

After school, he would meet his mother at the theater – back when you could sit watching newsreels and the featured film as many times as you wanted (for 5 or 10 cents!). She would pack a lunch and they would sit for hours eating together and watching movies. So began his great love of all things theatrical – movies, opera, ballet and live theater! Those loves continued until the past few months when he was no longer able to get out at will. He did, however, continue to watch ballet on YouTube – some of the dancers, like Baryshnikov, he had seen in person on the NY stage.

From his father he learned the joy of gardening and there were always 2 huge gardens at our home – 1 dedicated to vegetables and 1 to flowers. I can still smell the gladiolas fresh cut on the table. And roses. And azaleas. And…zucchini. Tomatoes. Peppers.

He retired before mom, so he took over the cooking and baking – except pie crust. Mom was the queen of that realm of baking. He made chocolate candies, brownies, cookies, cakes and breads. He always said that bread baking was a good form of anger management – you could take out all of your frustration kneading the dough! Homemade, simmer on the stove all day, pasta sauce!

He read books galore. When we had to move him out of his apartment, we donated 31 boxes of books and DVDs to the local library. There were many duplicates – he explained that since no one told him not to, he could buy whatever and however many he wanted. Children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and friends were gifted with books.

After Mom retired, they went on trips – U.K., Ireland, Switzerland, Italy – they had wonderful times and carried those memories with them. Mom took copious notes and typed them all into trip journals. The one place he wanted to visit and never did (but it’s written on his ‘bucket list’) was Scotland.

His other great love and talent was picking winning horses! My parents and extended family spent many a July day at Saratoga watching the thoroughbreds. He never bet more than $2, but the majority of his picks were winners! Like everything else he did, he read about them, studied their parentage, and then chose wisely. As an aside – all thoroughbreds have January 1 as their birthday – he considered himself a thoroughbred, so on January 1, you’d better be calling him to wish him a happy birthday. Technically, to his way of thinking, he did live to be 101!

In the words of his granddaughter, Meg Cioffi, “Pop was an intelligent, loving, sweet man and everyone who met him loved him instantly; he just had that quality of … making people feel like they were at home in his company.”

He was married to his wonderful wife, Mary Blythe O’Leary Cioffi from June 22, 1946 to February 20, 2014, almost 68 years, until her death. He was a one-woman man and loved her until his final breath.

John is survived by his children Jane Baker (Richard); Steve Cioffi (Debbie) and daughter in law, Nancy Mountain; grandchildren, Michelle Juranic (Amanda), Julie Cioffi (Susan), Brian Cioffi (Bri), Megan Cioffi, Nicole Cioffi and Pam Reeves (Andy) and great grandchildren, Jack Ferraro, Kessler Cioffi, Winter Cioffi, Mady Carlozzi, Emily Janiak, and Annabeth Janiak. He also leaves several much-loved nieces and nephews and special friends. In addition to his parents, 2 sisters (Pat & Fanny) and 1 brother (Dom), John was preceded in death by his wife, Mary and son John, Jr. (Jack).

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, Jesus, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Community Home Care & Hospice, 1231 N Main St, Lillington, NC 27546 or your charity of choice.

Due to the current circumstances, the family is holding a private service now with a burial in Red Hook, NY to follow. There will be a Celebration of John’s life at a later date for all to attend.

Condolences may be made to the family at www.bryan-leefuneralhome.com.




  1. Brian C. Cioffi

    Beautifully written and true. I love you and miss you, Pop.

    Love, the Cioffis,

    Brian, Brienne, Mady, Kessler, and Winter

  2. Tina Tucker

    He will be definitely be missed, “fly high sweet 👼 ” 🙏 for the family during this time. 😢💙

  3. Loutishia Nabors

    I love & admire him and never met him 💚 Sending prayers for comfort & peace to all of Pop’s family 🙏🏻

  4. Gwen McGuire

    He was an amazing teacher. Very sorry for your loss. I’m sure he will be greatly missed. Gwen McGuire

  5. Tim Decker

    He was one of very best teachers the Rhinebeck High School. He commanded respect without having to do anything. He made chemistry interesting and enjoyable even for those of us who were not STEM students. I will always remember his calm and dignified demeanor. I’m glad you posted such a complete obituary to show how full his life was. May he rest in peace!

  6. Susan Russell-Robinson

    My condolences to Mr. Cioffi’s family. Your tribute to him is so loving. Wow, he had a wonderful life and because of him, so did many of his students. I loved taking chemistry from him at Rhinebeck Central School. He handled with great diplomacy the chem lab “shenanigans” at the lab table I shared with my brother Kevin. Seemed once a week, some experiment or other would splatter my shoes or dress. In most cases, nothing was ruined. If he thought there’d be an issue, he’d send a message to the elementary school to my Mother “Mrs. Russell – I’m afraid this time Susan’s dress will have holes in it as soon as you wash it.” Fortunately I sewed my own clothes and could patch the holes. Because of the excellent teaching foundation provided by Mr. Cioffi, I was able to ace geochemistry in college and grad school.

  7. Debbie Demarest Jones

    Mr. Cioffi was one of my favorite teachers at RCS. I knew I wanted to be a teacher and after having him as a biology teacher I seriously considered getting a biology degree but ended up in Special Education. His teaching style was absolutely copied by me. He really had a positive influence in my life. My condolences to your family.

  8. Linda Sussin Abramson

    Mr. Cioffi was my chemistry teacher in 1968. He was always my favorite teacher. He had a wonderful way of explaining things, that made learning fun! My deepest sympathy to his family.

  9. Mary (Denehy) Sheran

    So sorry for your loss. Although I had never met Mr.Cioffi (Pops) as he was called by his granddaughter Pam, he appeared to be an interesting, loving and family man. He’s an angel in heaven now with our Lord. May he RIP!❤️

    (I attended high school, with Mr.Cioffi’s granddaughter, Pam)

  10. Gertrude Koser

    I smiled all through the reading of the beautiful obituary. Mr. Cioffi was my teacher for both biology and chemistry. He was kind, caring and patient. I became a teacher as well and I know that I tried to model my approach after his. He was and always will be oft in my memory. Thank you, Mr. Cioffi for having touched my life.

  11. Margie Shinners Corbett

    Mr. Cioffi was a favorite of mine also . Chemistry did not come easy for me and he somehow always made sure that I got it. My condolences for the family. Life well lived!
    Margie Shinners Corbett

  12. Joan Bruno

    My condolences to you and your family Jane. Your father was quite a gentleman. And what a legacy he left. Despite wanting the briefest obit, I’m certain he is well pleased with yours.

  13. Ed Nicholson

    Wow What a great long life he had I had him as a Biology teacher in Rhinebeck HS in 68. He was a straight forward guy. Teading about him just funny some things he was married on the same day as my wife and I ( quite a few years later in 74) It also said how he loved Saratoga and the horses. I live a mile from the track. Rip. Mr. Cioffi

  14. Caroline Rider

    Mr. Cioffi taught me biology and chemistry in 1964-65 and 1965-66, in Rhinebeck, and he was…. fantastic. He was SUCH a great teacher. And such a lovely man. And quietly, behind the scenes, he helped a lot of students who needed special help, students who would not be getting that help otherwise. I have been grateful all my life for the solid foundation in biology and chemistry that Mr. Cioffi provided…. and of course, the demos were great! We got to do amazing things in chemistry lab…. stank up the entire second floor of the high school on more than one occasion…. Sad to think he is no longer with us. Condolences to his entire family, you have sustained a big loss.

  15. Thomas Bradley

    He was a most kind and generous human being. When I first started teaching at Rhinebeck, he always greeted me with a smile and a kind word. He was known as an outstanding educator who cared for his students. rest in peace!

  16. William Gribble Sr

    Knew Mr and Mrs Cioffi in 60’s and early 70’s
    before moving to Florida in 74.. Knew Mary from her banking days, wonderful Lady. Mr Cioffi volunteering at Northern Dutchess took me to exit hospital as a patient on a wheelchair after major Surgery and 28 days in Hospital.. always a nice, polite Gentleman.. Also worked with Steve at Grand Union when he was a young fellow. good fellow!
    My condolences to the Cioffi Family.. Bill G

  17. William Gribble Sr

    My condolences to the Cioffi Family.. knew Mary in her banking career, always very nice.. Mr Cioffi helped escort me from N Dutchess after 28 day stay for Major Surgery., nice Gentleman. Knew Steve well also as a young Man and employed at Grand Union
    Bill G

  18. Jen Cielma

    My most sincere condolences. John was always kind, wise, interesting, and a joy to talk to. There is no doubt that he will live on in warm, fond memories of all who knew him.

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