Lois Emily Howe Stanek Kodz, 87, passed away Sunday afternoon at Glenbridge Health and Rehabilitation in Boone, NC. Lois was born on March 1, 1933, in Noroton Heights, Connecticut, the youngest of 7 siblings. She was preceded in death by her parents, Herbert and Amanda Russell Howe. In addition to her parents, Lois was preceded in death by her older siblings, Mildred, Dorothy, Russell, Raymond, and James Howe, and Jesse Howe Heim. She was a member at various Episcopal churches in Connecticut and North Carolina, but she always considered her home church to be St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Darien, CT.
Lois married Chester Walter Stanek in 1964 and enjoyed their brief life together until his passing in 1966. She remarried in 1992 to Joseph Kodz who preceded her in death in 2006. Over the course of her life, Lois worked in the accounting field for various industries. She loved to travel and enjoyed meeting new people, especially children, and never met a stranger. She was an avid walker her whole life, always enjoying an after dinner walk. Her many jaunts included trips down to Pear Tree Point Beach, around the Point and back to her childhood home on Maple Street, neighborhood walks, and even some adventurous wanderings in her later years. Lois also loved music, both playing piano and singing. She enjoyed a variety of music styles but Polka music was her favorite. The church choirs she joined benefited from her alto voice and she cherished the many friendships that were formed. After living in Connecticut her entire life, she moved to Wilmington, NC, in 1989. Not long after her move, Wilmington experienced a rare Christmas snow storm with 20 inches of snow. Lois was the hero of the neighborhood that year as she was the only one who owned a snow shovel. She enjoyed living in Wilmington, loving the beach life and Southern history of her adopted home, well into her retirement. When she wasn't at the pool, walking the neighborhood, or shopping, she was employed part-time in the New Hanover County school system. Because of early onset dementia, she moved closer to her daughter in the Asheville area. After Lisa's family relocated to the High Country of WNC, Lois, suffering from advanced dementia, was transferred to the Glenbridge facility to be closer to her immediate family. As her cognitive abilities slipped away, when asked where she was, she always responded with "15 Maple Street, Darien, Connecticut."
She is survived by her daughter, Lisa Stanek Austin, son-in-law Rev. Wes Austin, grandchildren, Jonah, Andrew, and Emma Austin, along with a multitude of extended family in Connecticut. She was especially close to her beloved nieces, Judith Martin, Linda Obuchowski, and Virginia Howe who affectionately called her "Aunt Lo".
The family owes a deep gratitude to the staff at Glenbridge Health & Rehabilitation, especially Michelle and Kassidy during Lois's recent illness. The family also wishes to thank Caldwell Hospice, her nurse Gretchen Miller, her Social Worker, Cierra Wilcox, and other staff and volunteers for their loving care and support of Lois.
A Celebration of Life service officiated by The Reverend Cynthia Banks will be held at St. Luke's Episcopal Church, Boone, NC. A private burial at St. John's Cemetery in Darien, CT, will be held at a later date. The family requests donations be made to Caldwell Hospice & Palliative Care, Lenoir, NC, in Lois's memo.
Online condolences may be shared at www.austinandbarnesfuneralhome.com. Austin & Barnes Funeral Home is serving the Kodz family.