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Joan Stephanak, 75, Former Norwalk Teacher

NORWALK, Conn. – Joan Leonard Stephanak, a Norwalk native and recent Westport resident, lost a four-and-a-half year battle with ovarian cancer on July 31. She was 75.

The youngest of three daughters born to John H. and Lillian Curren Leonard, Stephanak graduated from St. Mary's School and Sacred Heart Academy in Stamford. She received a bachelor's degree in sociology from Manhattanville College in 1958.

She married Dr. William F. Stephanak, then a surgical resident at Bellevue Hospital, on July 12, 1958. Stephanak later returned to St. Mary's School to teach fourth grade.

Stephanak's family described her as an excellent conversationalist and someone you hoped to be put next to at a dinner party. She enjoyed many tennis matches and rounds of golf at the Shorehaven Golf Club, where she was a member for 43 years.

She and her husband were a mixed doubles combination. In 2002, she won Shorehaven's Sudman Cup, awarded to women playing to their full handicaps. Stephanak served on the women's board at Norwalk Hospital for many years. As a board member, she devoted time to the Treasure House, the hospital's thrift shop.

Stephanak is survived by two daughters, Susan Stephanak (Stuart) Bell, of Southport and Joan Stephanak (Thomas) Shanley, of Fairfield; a son, Brian J. (Rosamond Koether) Stephanak, of Westport; two sisters, Roberta Leonard (Robert) Jones and Nancy Leonard O'Connor; seven grandchildren and several nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by a son, William F. Stephanak Jr., in 1980.

A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Monday at St. Thomas the Apostle Church. Burial will follow at St. John Cemetery in Norwalk. Friends may call from 3 to 7 p.m. Sunday at Magner Funeral Home in Norwalk.

Memorials donations may be made to Whittingham Cancer Center, Norwalk Hospital, 24 Stevens St., Norwalk, CT 06854, or William F. Stephanak Jr. Memorial Scholarship Fund, Fairfield Prep., 1037 North Benson Road, Fairfield, CT 06824.

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