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In Memory of Janice Lasda

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Janice Lasda

LASDA - Janice E. (nee Finch) December 31, 2020. Beloved wife of the late Andrew L. Lasda; loving mother of Elaine, Andrew V. Lasda and Rachel Lasda (Daniel) Zeller; cherished grandmother of Andrew S. Lasda and Erin and Lindsay Zeller; adored daughter of the late Vinton and Lillian Finch; dear sister of Barbara J. Christoff and Ellen M. Clancy; treasured sister-in-law of Sheila M. (nee Lasda) Togias; also survived by many cherished nieces and nephews. No prior visitation. A Service in Mrs. Lasda’s memory will be held when the family can safely send her off in a manner befitting of her wishes. Memorials may be made to Two Sisters Foundation of Williamsville United Methodist Church (http://williamsvilleumc.org/), to support the music ministry. On December 31, 2020, Janice E. Lasda (nee Finch) of E. Amherst passed away, a few weeks after contracting COVID-19. She was 75. The firstborn daughter of the late Vinton and Lillian Finch was born on July 17, 1945 in Colonie, NY. She was active in her church and school choirs, youth group and Girl Scouts. She loved the arts, and the idea of exploring the world thrilled her. If you knew Jan for even just a few minutes, chances are you were subjected to a few terrible rapid-fire puns, an outburst of song, or some combination of the two. Friends who knew her have noted her beautiful singing, her quick wit, and her friendly, upbeat spirit. One friend called her the “Queen of Quips”. She rarely had an unkind word to say about anyone, and it was difficult to be in a bad mood for very long when Jan was around. After graduating from Colonie Central High School in 1963, Jan moved on to SUNY Plattsburgh. She graduated from Plattsburgh with her degree in Elementary Education in 1967. While attending college, she went on a blind date with an airman who was stationed at the Plattsburgh Air Force base. Jan agreed, as long as she could bring another friend along with her. Shortly after Andrew Lasda arrived, he quietly told her he was glad it was she, and not her friend, who was his date. At the end of the date, Andy asked if he could kiss her, and she said yes. He asked if he could kiss her again, and she agreed. He then asked her if he could kiss her the day after that, and the day after that (and so on). Jan and Andy were married on July 22, 1967 at Pine Grove United Methodist Church in Colonie and were married for 52 years until Andy passed away in April of 2020 from kidney failure. Jan and Andy bought their first home on Oak St. in Andy’s home town of Syracuse, NY. She briefly pursued a career in teaching, but a few months after being married she became pregnant with Elaine Marie, so she instead became a full-time mom. For the next few years, the little family lived in Syracuse as well as Phoenix, AZ. During this time, Andrew Vinton was also born. They finally settled into a home on Velasko Rd. in Syracuse, and were surprised to find that in a few months they would have their third child, Rachel Joy. Jan went back to work when Rachel was a toddler, becoming the Nursery School Coordinator at Bellevue Heights UMC for the next few years. In 1979, Andy was offered a job in Buffalo, NY, so the family packed up and moved to 257 Mill St. in Williamsville that spring. Though Jan once again became a full-time mom, she spent countless hours volunteering with Williamsville UMC as a sunday school teacher and interim Christian Education Director, and staff (later, editor) of the church’s newsletter. She played guitar for group sing alongs, wrote plays and stories, and was well-loved by those around her. She also served as a Girl Scout leader for many years. She was an active member of the WUMC Choir for over 40 years and had recently become involved in the church’s Rachael Circle. She had her own special circle of friends, which had originated as a “Craft Club” with other neighborhood women. This group eventually became lovingly known as the “Carafe Club” because somewhere along the way the friends stopped doing crafts and focused more on wine, food and their long-standing friendships. Jan did not do these things out of obligation: she did them out of her love and passion for friendship and creativity. With her youngest about to start middle school, Jan decided it was time to return to teaching. She enrolled in the Master’s program at the University of Buffalo, and graduated with honors in 1990 with her MS.ed. During this time, she worked for the Amherst Central School District, where she wore many hats including Teaching Assistant, Teacher’s Aide, Substitute Teacher, and more. Eventually, life circumstances changed and Jan needed to find a second job to help support her family. She began working for AAA Western & Central NY on International Dr. in the Member Service Center. This job proved to be a delightful surprise to her. She was able to apply her knack for teaching to train many new hires, and cultivated many cherished friendships over her 20 years there. She eventually left her job with ACSD to work there full-time and retired from AAA in 2015. Jan and Andy left their Mill St. home of 39 years in 2018 and moved to Fox Creek Estates in East Amherst, which is where the couple resided for the remainder of their days. Jan leaves behind her three children, three grandchildren (Andrew S. Lasda, Erin E. and Lindsay M. Zeller), two younger sisters (Barbara Christoff, Ellen Clancy), her cherished “sister-from-another-mister” sister-in-law Sheila Togias, many inlaws, nephews and nieces, and a wealth of beloved friends.