Sean Kirst: Grizzled college students say orphan turned teacher, 86, defines Thanksgiving | Local News

“He never told them,” said Kristin Lemay, one of Janan’s four daughters and a co-conspirator in setting up the surprise. Instead, he always focused on his students. He recalled how the very idea of ​​his work consisted of providing a work-study rhythm, alternating on-the-job experience and classroom teaching, in the hope of reviving the meaning of a youth mission.

It worked, as story after story has pointed out.

Among Mooney’s work-study stoppages, for example, was maintenance and food service at schools in Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda. Once inside, Mooney never left. By the time he retired, he was the chief warden and president of his union. He attributes this success directly to Janan, whose presence seemed to offer warmth and advice.

“You spoke to him and it was always like he knew,” Mooney said.

Patty Hudson, 62, who eventually took on the role of district retail manager, said her childhood struggles triggered a lack of confidence in her own worth. Janan exuded compassion, she said, the feeling that he was completely focused on her, even during chance encounters in the lobby.

“He took kids who had serious family issues,” she said, “and just made you feel like you were a real human being.”

Also at the party were Nora and Robert Pinter from Batavia, who met at OSP, dated in high school – Janan, Nora said, called Robert “the lover” – and returned years later to to marry. The two forged careers which they attribute to Janan and her fellow teachers, and Nora summed up her impact in one thought:

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