Jeff Hancock, 58, of North Avenue in Avon, NY, died on November 10, 2023, after a period of declining health. He was surrounded by peace and love in his final days with us. Jeff’s heart was “as big as all outdoors,” and his life was devoted to friendship, teaching, service, and advocacy. He had a booming voice, an infectious laugh, and a wickedly funny sense of humor.
Jeff was born in Buffalo in 1965 to mother Kathleen (Kay) Foster of Allegany (deceased). He was raised in Gowanda, NY, by parents Herman and Arletta Hancock (both deceased).
Jeff is survived by his wife, Mary Anne Parker-Hancock, and sons Austin Hancock and David Hancock, all of the Avon, NY, area; his Hancock siblings Dennis (Janice) Hancock of Shadyside, OH and Cindy (Ralph) Hill of Derby, NY, including niece and nephews Terry, Steven, Wade, and Beth; and relatives from the Hancock family originally from the Gowanda, NY, area. He is also survived by sisters Yvonne Sweet of Cuba, NY, and Sherry Foster of Olean, NY; nieces and nephews Morgan and Fallon; Ashley, Michaela, Christopher, Ryan, Zachary, Peyton, and Preston; and many cousins from the Foster and Havers families of the Olean and Rochester areas. Jeff was beloved by his family and loved all of them. Jeff especially adored his two sons, Austin and David; he had a quiet confidence in their abilities and enjoyed with pride their growing interests and talents. He loved sharing with them his passion for WWII aircraft, music, and hockey.
Jeff had a degree in art education with focus areas in art history, ceramics, and oils, and a degree in industrial modelmaking. He believed in the value of giving his elementary and middle school art students solid grounding in design theory and art history. He was a much-loved and award-winning teacher over his 25-year career at St. Helen School in Gates, St. Lawrence School in Greece, All Saints Junior High in Gates, and St. Agnes in Avon and was dedicated to meeting NYS art education standards in Catholic schools. His Art Club students from All Saints still stayed connected with “Mister Hancock” years later. He was known fondly as “Mister Jeff” at MCC’s tutoring center. He also tutored Genesee Community College students at the Groveland Correctional Facility. For many years he designed and built sets for Avon Central School’s theater productions.
Jeff was an ardent advocate for the rights of adopted persons to know “chapter one” of their lives from their sealed-away original birth certificates, and he made many good friends among biological and adoptive families involved in this cause. He spoke at numerous conferences on this topic and lobbied state legislators in many states, particularly Texas, Rhode Island, and New York. Jeff’s work in this area, along with the combined efforts of many others, resulted in the passage of the Adoptee Rights Bill in New York State. He was awarded the Cindy B. Fleischer Volunteer of the Year award for his efforts on behalf of the Adoption Resource Network in Rochester.
Jeff’s wife and sons extend gratitude to the medical team of UR Medicine’s Noyes ICU unit in Dansville for their expert and compassionate care during his treatment there. Many thanks to family and friends near and far who have sent memories and messages of love and caring – we love and appreciate you all.
Jeff was an organ donor. His family encourages everyone to learn about organ, eye, and tissue donation at www.organdonor.gov.
The family plans to hold a music- and art-based celebration of life party to remember Jeff in the spring of 2024.
Anyone wishing to donate in Jeff’s memory may support the work of Teresa House in Geneseo, NY (a comfort care ministry to residents who are nearing the end of a terminal illness) at teresahouse.org, or Livingston County (NY) Humane Society at humanesocietylivco-ny.org.