On Tuesday, December 15th, 2020, Dr. Alice Boljonis, beloved mother, grandmother,great-grandmother, mother-in-law, and friend, passed away at home at the age of 91.
Alice was born on June 20th, 1929, in Pittston, Pennsylvania to Constance (Shuckstes) Kizis and Alexander Kizis. She graduated from Pittston High School and went on to earn her Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from Marywood College in Scranton, Pennsylvania in 1950, the same year she married her husband, George Boljonis. Over the next several decades, Alice lived in South Bend, Indiana, then Syracuse, New York, where she worked several jobs, made lifelong friendships, and started her family. After having 8 children, she returned to school and earned her Masters and Ph.D. in Reading Education at Syracuse University in 1981. Alice served as a Professor of Reading at SUNY College at Oswego from 1976-2011--during which time she also served as Director of the Oswego Migrant Education Program and later spent nearly a decade concentrating her efforts on student teacher placement and advisement. Alice retired several times, only to be lured back into the academic environment until her final retirement at the age of 82. She then traveled, read, and practiced tai chi.
Alice had two loves: family and education. Her home held countless holidays, birthdays, and celebrations, where you could always hear someone laughing, smell something cooking, and feel incredibly loved and welcome. She had a chef's touch in the kitchen, and impressed guests with her paella, stuffin' muffins, and the infamous bow noodles and meatballs. Alice was also quite stubborn--her family will tell you that she never truly "lost" a poker hand. Outside of the home, Alice carried with her a vivacity of spirit in her worldly travels, where she was frequently accompanied by loved ones. Above all, she had a special way of making each and every member of her family and all of her friends feel supported and valued. Her dedication to family could only be matched by her devotion to the field of education. Not only did she have countless accolades in academia, but she also loved to read for pleasure. Her house was always filled with stacks of library books and her calendar with book club meetings. She never lost her desire to re-examine the world through new perspectives nor her passion to see the world become a better place. She made it her life's mission to support continuous learning in others through children's literacy work and by doing so touched so many lives in the process.
Alice was predeceased by her husband George Boljonis, and daughter Margaret (Boljonis) Woods. She is survived by her children: William Woods (widow of Margaret Woods), Mary Grublauskas, Katherine (Kyle) Dolbear, Steven (Miki Duisterhof) Boljonis, Lisa (Jim) Boljonis, Thomas Boljonis, Joanna (John) Blaisdell, David (Rachele) Boljonis, and her grandchildren Jessica (Peter) Cooper, Alan Grublauskas, Allysha Messenger, Monica Blaisdell, Chloe Blaisdell, Merlyn Boljonis, Arabella Boljonis, and Georgia Boljonis, and her great-grandson Bernard Guinto.
Friends, colleagues, and family: please gather with us for an open house at the Everson Museum of Art, 401 Harrison Street, Syracuse, on Saturday August 7th between the hours of 5pm and 9pm to celebrate a life full of love, laughter, wit, and kindness and to share your favorite memories as well.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Interfaith Works. http://interfaithworkscny.org/