Gary J. Lisman

Gary J. Lisman - Brighton, NY - Rochester Cremation

Brighton, NY: Gary Joel Lisman was born in Chicago, Illinois as the first-born son of Hy and Leila Lisman. He passed away on March 15th, 2022, after a lengthy illness at age 69. He is predeceased by his father Hyman J. Lisman and is survived by his mother Leila J. Lisman and siblings Michael, Annie, and Deborah.

Gary went to elementary, junior high and high school in the Brighton School district. He then went to the University of Rochester where he received a bachelor’s degree in sociology. He went on to achieve his Master’s in Business Administration from the U of R as well. Gary was an avid squash player while at the U of R. He competed at a high level and won at county level competitions. Subsequently Gary received a double masters in remedial reading and math. He taught at Monroe Community College and worked with numerous young people to help improve their reading and math comprehension.

Gary received some notoriety in his younger years when he traveled from Rochester to Florida by bicycle to raise funds for charity. Gary also attended Woodstock; although he found it too muddy and left early. He traveled to Europe after college and was able to work as a stagehand at the Isle of Wight Festival. Gary made many friends over the years in meet up hiking groups, cooking groups and poetry reading groups. He was an avid home chef, a published poet and loved hiking in Highland Park as well as many of Rochester’s other beautiful parks. In recent years, Gary was a caretaker for mom where he frequently applied his home chef skills to all of our family’s enjoyment.

Lisman Family will be holding a Zoom Memorial Service for Gary on July 24th at 4 pm Eastern Time; 1 pm Pacific Time. The links are listed below for Zoom or calling in if you don’t have access to a computer.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 893 4068 1597

Passcode: 319434

45 Condolences

  1. Donna Gillespie on June 29, 2022 at 9:47 am

    I was a friend of Gary’s and we did have some great foodie parties. He was a great friend; unfortunately we lost touch with each other over the years. My sincere condolences to the family. I hope to be on t he Zoom meeting. Donna

    • Deborah on July 24, 2022 at 6:31 pm

      Thank you Donna! We appreciate it.

  2. Linda Marquardt on June 29, 2022 at 10:19 am

    I met Gary about 20 years ago when I moved back to my hometown of Rochester. Along with other new friends, we spent many good times together bicycling and hiking and cooking at parties. I was also fortunate to attend Seders at his home hosted by Gary and his mother.. He was a gentle soul, a fabulous chef and had a great subtle sense of humor. Due to Covid and other life events we hadn’t seen each other in a few years for which I am sorry. I was so sad to hear of his passing. My sincere condolences to his family. May he Rest In Peace.

    • Deborah on July 24, 2022 at 6:30 pm

      Thank you Linda, and for sharing your memories and sentiments. Really appreciate it.

  3. Michael Hellman on June 30, 2022 at 6:58 am

    Sorry for your loss.

    • Deborah Lisman on July 24, 2022 at 6:11 pm

      Thank you, Michael, that was sweet of you. We had a memorial service and it was a wonderful celebration of his life. Take care. Deborah

  4. Sandy Leaper on June 30, 2022 at 8:03 am

    I am so very sorry for this loss. Debbie and I were friends, she grew up on Orchard Dr and I on Sunset Drive. Debbie I am so sorry for you and your family🥰🥰🥰

    • Deborah on July 24, 2022 at 6:14 pm

      Dear Sandy,
      Thanks so much. Very sweet of you to write. Hope you are well.

  5. Marti Balta on June 30, 2022 at 8:51 am

    My heart is heavy with sadness at hearing this news. Gary truly was such a kind and giving soul. Years ago now he was of huge help to me, connecting me to his brother Michael as was necessary at that time.. Leila, as well, holds a special place in my heart and memories. I am sorry for her pain at this time of life. “May his memory be eternal”.

    • Deborah on July 24, 2022 at 6:32 pm

      Thank you Marti. Blessings to you.

    • Michael Lisman on July 25, 2022 at 2:32 pm


      I hope you are doing well. It is good to hear from you.

      Take good care

      • Marti Balta on February 26, 2023 at 5:49 pm

        Michael –

        I have had the deep joy of running into Leila. I now see her often. Could we connect?

  6. Larry and Debbie Reynolds on June 30, 2022 at 9:27 am

    In 1973 Gary was our first-year dorm resident advisor in Tiernan Hall at the University of Rochester. Gary was a major part of the glue that held together the diverse group of young men on his floor, many of whom remain friends to this day. He was an excellent roll model. After college his charitable spirit was an inspiration to us. He will long be remembered and missed. Our sincere condolences for your loss.

    • Deborah on July 24, 2022 at 6:16 pm

      Thank you for sharing your memory and connection with Gary. Blessings to you.

  7. Zeke Little on July 1, 2022 at 7:58 am

    When you play squash at a high level it requires you to be a gentlemen as well as being very competitive. Gary accomplished this naturally. He will be missed by all The Genesee Valley Club Members who thought he was a member because he subbed there so often !

    • Deborah on July 24, 2022 at 6:18 pm

      Thank you Zeke,
      We appreciate your note and the memory and humor!

  8. MaryBeth Gorman on July 1, 2022 at 2:28 pm

    I spent a lot of good times with Gary over the past 40 decades. Even though there were times when we would lose touch for a while we always seemed to meet up again. We went biking and hiking around Rochester’s parks. We ran into each other at gatherings and sometimes went to the same dinner parties. A few times I was lucky enough to be invited by Gary and his Mom to seder at their home. We went for coffee and tea and talked. Gary was fun to talk with. He was aware of the current events in our community and alway had a solid perspective of the things that were going on. And if you listened closely you would hear and laugh at his subtle humor. Gary was a fun person. And he was always a nice guy.

    • Deborah on July 24, 2022 at 6:21 pm

      Thank you so much for all you did for Gary and for connecting with us during those last difficult months.
      You were a good friend to Gary, and we really appreciate you.
      Take good care.

  9. Mark Miller on July 1, 2022 at 6:13 pm

    I was good friends with Gary and his family from 4th grade to 9th grade in Rochester, after which we moved away. Have fond memories of many days and evenings playing softball, Carom, Kick the Can, and trading stamps from our stamp collections. We lost touch for many years. I eventually sent him a Friend request on Facebook, which he accepted, but then I could never get a response from him when I sent him a birthday greeting or private message, so I’m still a bit confused about that. But I was always impressed by his athletic prowess, energy, and sense of humor, and regret not having kept in closer touch with him over the years. Glad to read here that he led such an impressive and accomplished life and was so beloved and appreciated by many. My best to Leila, Michael, Annie, and Deborah.

    • Mark Miller on July 24, 2022 at 3:23 pm

      Adding to my message above, I’d love to see any photos or memories of Gary and his family beyond what’s here. I can provide a nice photo of Gary at my house when he was 16. Also one of his brother Michael. Feel free to email me at

    • Deborah on July 24, 2022 at 6:27 pm

      Thank you Mark. It was a nice surprise to hear from you. Gary always reminisced about you fondly.
      We will connect with you soon. All the best to you.

  10. Peggy Popp on July 2, 2022 at 11:47 pm

    I rarely read the obituaries. Imagine my shock and sorrow when I read that Gary had passed away. I can’t even put into words what Gary meant to me. Gary has always held a special place in my heart and he always will. I know that I will see Gary again in my dreams. I’ll never forget the time we spent together and letting him go was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life. Our paths were taking us in different directions. The sorrow I felt then, I’m feeling again now. I’m so sorry for your loss, Leila, Michael and Debbie. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this sorrowful time.

    • Deborah on July 24, 2022 at 6:35 pm

      Dear Peggy,
      So nice to hear from you. You were a special person in Gary’s life. The years go by so quickly. Blessings to you.

  11. Janice Clements on July 20, 2022 at 11:09 pm

    Gary was a fun guy. He asked me to go hiking with him at Ellison Park. I assumed a nice quiet flat walk. Gary took me up these steep winding paths that I didn’t know existed. I was panting and trying to catch my breath. I remember Gary still talking and hiking. Not a care in the world. I’ll always remember his mischievous smile and his unique giggle that complimented the smile. I also had the honor of attending Seder with Gary and his mom. It was wonderful to be in attendance and included in a beautiful tradition. Gary was a good person. He was always relaxed at parties and could carry on a conversation and make people feel a part of whatever event was happening. I am truly sorry to hear of his passing. I pray for healing and peace in your hearts. My condolences.

    • Deborah on July 24, 2022 at 6:37 pm

      Thank you Janice. So appreciate you sharing of your connection and fond memories.

  12. DAVE ARMON on July 23, 2022 at 5:44 pm

    Annie, Deborah and Michael,

    We have fond memories of Gary. Reva tells me Gary invited her over for dinner twice in recent years, and his food was terrific. Love the Woodstock story in the obit. Sending good vibes to the Lismans.

    David Armon

    • DAVE ARMON on July 23, 2022 at 7:06 pm

      Mistakingly left Leila’s name off my earlier condolence note. So sorry.

      Leila, Annie, Deborah and Michael,

      We have fond memories of Gary. Reva tells me Gary invited her over for dinner with Leila twice in recent years, and his food was terrific. Love the Woodstock story in the obit. Sending good vibes to the Lismans. So sorry you’ve lost Gary.

      David Armon

    • Deborah on July 24, 2022 at 6:40 pm

      Thank you David, so nice to hear from you. Hope all is well with your and all the Armons. When we were kids it was almost like we were related. Sending love to you and to your mom and sisters.

  13. Mark Miller on July 24, 2022 at 3:21 pm

    Adding to my message above, I’d love to see any photos or memories of Gary and his family beyond what’s here. I can provide a nice photo of Gary at my house when he was 16. Also one of his brother Michael. Feel free to email me at

  14. Margot J Cohen on July 24, 2022 at 5:07 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss. Gary’s siblings put together a beautiful remembrance program with their own remarks and those of Gary’s friends. His laughter, kindness and good cooking will be lasting legacies. You honored him with love and respect. Thank you.

    • Deborah on July 24, 2022 at 6:42 pm

      Thank you so much Margot, so glad you were there. Blessings.

  15. Peggy Popp on July 24, 2022 at 10:14 pm

    One time, long ago, 1980 maybe, Gary and I met Debby Caplan at Jeremiah’s when she got done with her evening nursing shift at Highland Hospital. Of course, we were eating our favorite catatonic wings. Sweat was pouring off of Gary as usual and he kept eating those wings, swiping the sweat away, as if it was his job. We look across the table at Debby and she had fallen asleep with her head slumped over, almost in her wings. We laughed so hard and didn’t wake her up til we were done with our wings. That laugh of his was music to my ears!!!

    • Mary Sweeney on July 25, 2022 at 8:25 pm

      Peggy, I was really moved by your comments last night. Many of us were shocked to hear the news of Gary’s passing. I’m sending you virtual hugs and comfort.

      • Peggy Popp on July 26, 2022 at 12:19 am

        Thank you, Mary! That’s so sweet of you to say!! I’ll take all the virtual hugs and comfort I can get! It’s so nice to know that Gary had friends like you who cared about him. It’s just so surreal to me that Gary is gone. Life can be so wonderful but also so cruel. I wish I’d kept a diary so I could remember all the special times we had together. There were many.

  16. Peggy Popp on July 24, 2022 at 10:31 pm

    Gary didn’t own a TV so we spent many evenings at my apartment. I’d wake up in the middle of the night, and find Gary in the living room watching reruns of Matlock or The Rockford Files. I got such a kick out of that. Because he was such an intellectual!!! He could answer any question I had about history or current events. He explained so many things to me. For example, He explained that taking prayer out of Public Schools was important because it was offensive to students that were Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, etc. to be expected to say a Christian prayer. I’d attended Catholic school K-12. Gary opened my eyes to many things in life. Gary would talk excitedly about his passion of Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP). I was excited for him but I didn’t have any idea what he was talking about!! But I loved his passion for it!

  17. Michael Lisman on July 25, 2022 at 4:11 pm

    To All,

    We appreciate so much your heartfelt condolensces, stories and sentiments. For those interested you can view the slideshow via this link below.

    Much love

    • Mary Sweeney on July 25, 2022 at 8:19 pm

      Michael, what’s the name for the slide show? When I click on the link, it’s asking for a name.


    • Mary Sweeney on July 25, 2022 at 8:23 pm

      Michael, my techie husband Steve just looked at the link to the slideshow that you posted, and he said that it’s not really uploaded.

      • Mark Miller on July 26, 2022 at 12:14 am

        I believe Michael is working on trying to make the slide show accessible to us. I let him know earlier today that when I clicked on the link, I got a pop-up form asking me to sign in with my email and password, or sign up as a new user. What we need is a direct link to the slide show. Hopefully forthcoming!

        • Peggy Popp on July 26, 2022 at 12:24 am

          I’m sure I have some pictures of Gary that I can share with the group, Mark. Can u suggest a way that I can get them to the group?

          • Mark Miller on July 26, 2022 at 1:34 am

            That would be fantastic, Peggy. One easy way might be to ask those interested to send you their email address and you could just do one group email.
            Perhaps others more savvy about computers can suggest a different/better way.

  18. Mary Sweeney on July 25, 2022 at 5:53 pm

    Thank you to all the family for hosting the zoom memorial last night. The prayers, the slide show, and sharing of memories were all so healing. Gary was such an unforgettable guy. His humor, his kindness, his intellect, his poetry, his curiosity, and of course his culinary skills will always be remembered with a smile. May his memory be a blessing.

    Our deepest sympathy,
    Mary Sweeney and Steve Wootton

  19. Michael Lisman on July 26, 2022 at 10:19 pm

    To Anyone interested in the slideshow. I am contacting the administrators of SlideShowGo to find out how to post it so anyone can access it. I will post here as soon as I get a response from them and can follow through on any guidance they may have. I will follow-up on this website soon to give an update.

    Thanks for your patience

    • Peggy Popp on July 27, 2022 at 7:53 pm

      Thanks, Michael! I would love to have a copy of the slideshow. I have some pics of Gary from the early 80’s. If anyone In the group would like a copy, I could txt them. Just shoot me a txt.


  20. Perry Jacobs on July 30, 2022 at 7:59 am

    Dear Lisman Family-
    Gary was a Brighton High School Class of 1970 friend. Today is our 50th reunion (postponed 2 years due to Covid), as a result, I only yesterday found out Gary had passed. The last time I saw him was at a reunion and he did confide in me that he was in the midst of some serious medical condition.

    Our junior and senior years we used to take the bus to the JY down by the Greyhound bus station in downtown Rochester. Mostly we played racquetball (and basketball when we couldn’t get a court). That racquet sport experience led us both to playing squash in college so we’d see each other once a year and stayed in touch via email.

    I’m deeply sorry for your loss but happy to read all the remembrances of his unique life. Rest In Peace my friend.

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