Story told by John and Rita’s daughter Nancy Ogorek
My mom and dad were married for 50 years. They were married in Scranton, mom's hometown. They raised seven kids in South Buffalo. My dad had polio when he was younger, so he walked with a limp, but that didn't stop him from working as a salesman for Durez Division of Occidental Chemical. My mom never worked outside the house after the kids came, but she sure did work plenty inside the house. My dad also volunteered for Meals on Wheels from retirement up to two months before he died.
My mom had a liver transplant in 1997, and after that, both of them were involved in TRIO (Transplants Saves Lives) then UNYTS – so that they could help spread the word about organ and tissue donation. Our family is forever grateful to mom's donor and her family, for the 11 1/2 "bonus" years that we had with her. One of mom's favorite volunteer activities was the donor recognition ceremony, where she was able to present the "Tree of Life" gift to donor families.
Both my mom and my dad put God, country, and family above all. They were involved in the church and school activities, as well as Boys Scouts and the South Buffalo Community Table.
They both looked forward to donating their tissues after death- my mom was able to donate skin and corneas. My dad was able to donate bone and connective tissue. Our family will always be grateful for mom's organ donor, and we will always promote organ and tissue donation.
My family honors their memories by carrying on family traditions, sharing stories, celebrating their birthdays, and death anniversaries. We also honor mom's donor every year, with a memorial mass and we get together for our "liver breakfast" celebration - where we celebrate the anniversary of my mom's transplant (We don't eat liver at the party!)
We are happy and so proud that others were able to benefit from mom’s and dad's donations.