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Joanne L. Stillwell, beloved Buffalo teacher, mentor

Sept. 8, 1928 – April 26, 2015

Joanne L. Stillwell of Williamsville, a retired Buffalo school teacher, died Sunday in Harris Hill Nursing Facility after a short illness. She was 86.

Born in Buffalo, the former Joanne Levey graduated from Holy Angels Academy and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Buffalo State College.

A teacher with 31 years of service in the Buffalo Public Schools, Mrs. Stillwell taught sixth grade at School 45 on the West Side of Buffalo. She was an integral part of the West Side community, where families opened their homes to her as a friend. Her wedding train at St. Benedict’s Church was carried by her sixth-grade pupils.

She remained committed to the children and School 45, even though she was offered teaching positions from other schools. During her tenure, she mentored many student teachers from Buffalo State.

Many of Mrs. Stillwell’s students later became doctors and other professionals in Buffalo.

At the 100th anniversary celebration for School 45, held at the Adams Mark Hotel, nearly 70 former students greeted and paid tribute to her as their teacher.

Mrs. Stillwell was a member of the Buffalo Retired Teachers Association, where she served as treasurer and secretary who organized and coordinated various trips for the retired teachers.

She was known by other retired teachers as an institution, a public servant and as a person generous with her time and energy.

An avid gardener, she also enjoyed reading and the theater, especially attending the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.

Her husband of 49 years, George E. Stillwell, died in April 2004.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Thursday at St. Aloysius Gonzaga Church, 157 Cleveland Drive, Cheektowaga.

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