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Death notices from the Journal week of Nov. 2

Elizabeth Cooke

Elizabeth J. “Betty” Cooke (nee Pempsell), 89, formerly of Springville, died Oct. 27 at Fox Run Health Center in Orchard Park.

She was born May 11, 1924 in Buffalo, to Edward and Lelia (nee Sayre) Pempsell.

She was a 1949 graduate of Buffalo State Teachers College and completed her master’ss degree at Cornell University in 1982. She taught in the Buffalo School System for a year and was the founding director of the Preschool Learning Center in Springville, where she served as director from 1960-80.

She was active in the Coalition on West Valley Nuclear Waste and served as docent at Beaver Meadow Nature Center. She read the New York Times, National Geographic and Smithsonian, walked in the woods, rode her bicycle, cross-country skied and had flower, vegetable and a woods garden.

She was a member of St. Aloysius Church in Springville and a communicant and extraordinary minister at the church.

She was the wife of the late Joseph Cooke; mother of Todd (Joy Conley) Cooke of Silver Springs, Md.; David (Ying) Cooke of Ft. Myers, Fla.; Suzy Marie Cooke of Houston, Texas; Beth (George) Weber of the Village of Lakewood, Fla. and Joel Cooke of Rockland, Maine; sister of K. Jeanne Zimmerman of Buffalo; grandmother of six grandchildren.

A gathering will be held Nov. 2 at 2 p.m. at the Springville Center for the Arts, 37 North Buffalo St., Springville. A memorial mass will be held, at a later date. Burial will be in Maplewood Cemetery, Springville. Online condolences may be made at

Thomas Pivonka

Thomas Pivonka

Thomas J. Pivonka, 74, of Springville, died Oct. 24, in Hospice Buffalo Inc., Cheektowaga.

He was born on Feb. 18, 1939 in New York City, to the late George and Beatrice (nee Hayes) Pivonka.

He attended St. Aloysius Church in Springville, hunted and fished. He worked in sales at Wal-Mart.

He was the husband of Beverly (nee Bellavia) Pivonka; father of John Pivonka of Texas, Dawn (Todd) Cook of Texas, TJ Brosky of Texas, Eleanor Brosky of Florida and Lisa (Eric Howard) Pivonka of Springville; grandfather of Justin, Ethan and Nicholas.

A memorial service will be held on Long Island, at a later date. Arrangements were made by the Smith-Weismantel Funeral Home, located at 271 East Main St. in Springville.

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