Dr. William S. Lesko, 82, of Franklin Lakes, NJ and Twin Rivers Farm, Arlington, VT, passed away on March 2nd. Born in Passaic, NJ and raised in Wallington, NJ, Dr. Lesko was the son of the late Dr. Stephen and Cecil (Simpson) Lesko.
Bill or â€śDocâ€ť as he would come to be known to his family, close friends and adoring patients, graduated from East Rutherford High School in 1954 where he was a top student and all-state football and baseball player. He graduated from Fordham University in 1958 and, following his own fatherâ€™s journey with medicine, went on to Seton Hall School of Medicine.
While in medical school, he married his high school sweetheart, love of his life and partner in all, Joan (Capizzano) Lesko.
While completing his medical training in Ophthalmology, he served in the US Army Reserves. He and Joan began their family, which would ultimately include five children.
In 1968, he founded North Jersey Eye Associates (NJEA) in Clifton, NJ, where he practiced full time until immediately prior to his illness. NJEA became a bastion of the large surrounding medical community. Dr. Lesko was recognized as a renowned surgeon and teacher, with a long list of innovations to his credit. He served as President of the medical staffs at St. Maryâ€™s Hospital in Passaic, NJ and the New Jersey Academy of Ophthalmology. He remained committed to the community of Wallington, providing physicals at no cost to the Wallington School system.
Dr. Lesko was an accomplished outdoorsman and enthusiast. He was a coach to local sports teams, a fly fisherman and enjoyed travel with his family. His passion for fishing took him with a cherished group of friends to the remote salmon rivers of northern Russia. The waters of Cancun were also a favorite destination and one where he accomplished the rare Super Grand Slam of saltwater fly fishing. He used his lifetime pass to The National Park Service enthusiastically, making a point to take and educate his family through the gift of Americaâ€™s most beautiful national parks.
In his later years, Dr. Lesko became an avid beekeeper and conservationist. He was a benefactor of the Batten Kill Watershed Alliance, a member of Trout Unlimited and served as a trustee of The Windbeam Club.
Dr. Lesko was a coach at heart in every aspect of his life. Whether it was young athletes, young doctors or novice fisherman, he was there to teach. Sports and competition were a lifelong passion for him. He coached Franklin Lakes recreational football and baseball teams for over twenty years, lectured medical students on advances in Ophthalmology and mentored beekeepers as a member of the Vermont Beekeepers Association.
In addition to being the beloved husband to Joan for 59 years, he was the adored father of William Jr., Dr. Cecily (Mark Murphy), Greg (Kelly), Glenn (Christine), and Tim (Stephanie) and the revered â€śPop Popâ€ť to his grandchildren, Graham, Mathew, Emma, Charlie, Will, Alexandra, and Elise.
Dr. Lesko was also survived by his brother Steven (Karin) and many loving nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his siblings Joan, Anne, and Danny.
The family will receive family and friends on Wednesday from 1-4 and 6-9PM at the Vander Plaat â€“ Vermeulen Memorial Home, 530 High Mountain Road, Franklin Lakes, NJ. A funeral mass will be held at the Church of the Most Blessed Sacrament RC Church, 787 Franklin Lake Road, Franklin Lakes on Thursday 10:00 AM with entombment to follow at Mary Rest Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in William's memory to Felician Sisters of North America for the Haitian Mission, 871 Mercer Road, Beaver Falls, PA 15010-6856
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