We mourn the loss of our friends, neighbors and relatives who have passed. Our memories of life at the Lake are entertwined with our memories of those who shared their lives with us here.
Jean Hunko, born 8 June 1925 in Brooklyn, New York, died peacefully in her home with her daughter Veronica by her side on Thursday, 2 April 2020. She was preceded in death by her husband Stanley, and daughter Christine. She is survived by her three loving children: Veronica and her husband Lou of Brooklyn, New York; Virginia (Gigi) and her husband Don of East Brunswick, New Jersey; Greg and his wife Raquel of Las Vegas, Nevada; seven grandchildren – Marisha, Martusha, Brian, Janine, Katieann, Evan, and Lindsay, as well as nine great-grandchildren – Makayla, Colton, Elsie, Asher, Molly, Shane, Jaiden, Sara, and Collin.
Jean and Stanley were Yankee Lake homeowners since 1964, having purchased the home from the Jackson family. A familiar site on North Shore Road at the head of the rocky walkway to Maclay Landing. The red-and-white house was surrounded by a red wooden fence which, at the time, was somewhat a point of controversy being the only house on North Shore Road with a fence. Mr. Jackson apparently believed in the old adage, “Good fences make good neighbors.”
Jean worked as a secretary for a Wall Street firm before retiring to spend more time with her two youngest children, Gigi and Greg. Jean would spend entire summers at Yankee Lake with all her children. Gigi and Greg were eagerly inducted into the North Shore Road Gang of kids, not to be confused with the Smith Road Gang with whom annual basketball and football rivalries were decided on the clubhouse court and field.
Stanley spent weekdays in the city working. He would make the 2 hour journey from Brooklyn to Yankee Lake on Friday nights to spend the weekend with Jean and the kids… well, Saturday, anyway. Everyone knew Sunday afternoon was reserved for the trotters at Monticello Raceway!
In time, all four children grew up and had families of their own. The Lake house, too, grew old and, with time, transformed into a deteriorating winter birthing center for what appeared to be every mouse within two hundred yards. Without an ounce of hesitation, the evil sister Gigi decided to purchase and demolish the beloved house of a million childhood memories and replace it with a more modern version (jk). Many of the original belongings were kept and placed in the new home, continuously reminding everyone of Stanley and Jean. Along with Gigi’s children and grandchildren, new Yankee Lake memories are being created. It’s the circle of life.
Jean and Stanley, empty nesters then, sold their house in Brooklyn and moved to Toms River, New Jersey in 1985. Stanley was more enthusiastic about the move than Jean. Jean was more of a Brooklyn Gal, but, loving and loyal wife that she was, supported Stanley and moved out of the city. She certainly didn’t complain about being forty minutes outside Atlantic City and it is suspected she contributed quite generously to Donald Trump’s real estate investments there. As Dad would say when in the casino: “Do you like that carpet? – Your mother bought it!”
When Stanley passed 28 July 2011, Jean returned to Brooklyn and moved into the top floor apartment of Veronica’s house where she spent her final years. After a short hospitalization, Jean was admitted to the Calvary Hospice Care unit of Lutheran Hospital on 17 March. Veronica and Gigi would visit and care for her daily until the coronavirus pandemic forced the Hospital to disallow visitors of any kind. At that point, Veronica decided to take Mom home. Veronica brought her home on Wednesday, 1 April, and Jean passed the following afternoon, 2 April, in her home in the city she loved. Perhaps that’s what she was waiting for.
Burial was at Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York.