Jeffrey Alan Hancock

Jeffrey Alan Hancock - Rochester Cremation

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

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, or Livingston County (NY) Humane Society at

31 Condolences

  1. Laura Schwartz on November 17, 2023 at 2:46 pm

    While I wasn’t fortunate enough to meet Jeff “in real life” we shared many a conversation regarding adoption via Facebook. I was so glad to be able to help in a search he set off for another adoptee, finding her mother before she passed from her terminal illness. His voice was a guide to many in the adoptee rights community. He did so much in all too little time. His passing leaves a gaping hole in all our hearts — he will be forever missed. I live in Pennsylvania but will do my utmost to make it to his memorial. Jeff, please say hello to Rachel when you see her!

  2. Colleen Labman on November 17, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    Love and peace to the Hancock family.
    All our love, The Labmans.

  3. karla m muscara on November 17, 2023 at 3:24 pm

    sending love and prayers! Jeff helped me when I was searching for my son. his knowledge helped me to eventually be reunited with my son. I am forever grateful! rest easy my friend!

  4. Stephanie Richey on November 17, 2023 at 3:33 pm

    Mr. Hancock, you will be truly missed. You have made an impression and an impact on so many of your previous students. You made it a point to make each one us feel unique and special even after we graduated and moved on into our adult lives. I am eternally grateful for the mentorship and friendship we shared. Love and prayers to your family.

  5. Deb Korver on November 17, 2023 at 3:44 pm

    Jeff helped me though my adoption search and taught me a lot about healing my trauma. He was a wonderful person that I never had the opportunity to meet, but he left an impression nonetheless. My heart goes out to his family.

  6. Trish Stewart on November 17, 2023 at 3:49 pm

    We met your family at a Christmas at George Eastman House many years ago. Jeff became instrumental in encouraging me to find my birth family. I have a beautiful relationship with my sister and 3 nieces because of Jeff’s encouragement. In my friendship with Jeff he was always a loving and supportive person. I like to believe I was the same to him. May his memory be a blessing.

  7. Dionne Parker, Mom on November 17, 2023 at 3:50 pm

    This is a beautiful tribute to Jeff and of your love, Mary Anne,
    Austin, and David. It shines a light also on his many talents and skills, and ways of using them for others; thank you for honoring him in this way and sharing him this way with all of us. Love you, Mom

  8. Marg Watson on November 17, 2023 at 3:53 pm

    Such a loving and giving man. He was my first contact to the land of Late Discovery Adopteedom after my discovery at age 40. Being in Australia there were no support groups or literature at that time in 1990 on the LDA impact. Jeff’s contribution changed that for me. Rest well Jeff. Thoughts, love and support to his family.

  9. Sandra Williston on November 17, 2023 at 3:58 pm

    Dearest Mary Anne, Austin and David, extended family and friends,

    My heartfelt condolences. What a beautiful touching tribute you have penned. Jeff touched countless lives in such a positive manner. My connection to Jeff is through advocacy for the rights of adopted persons. The right to know “chapter one”, to take back ownership of ones’ identity. As you know through Jeff’s work in this area, advocates of this issue connected worldwide (I am in Canada) and heartily worked and rejoiced together as a “family” as each archaic law was stomped out following relentless battles. Jeff’s major contributions in this work are etched in stone for all time. I see that the other areas of his life were full too. It is easy to see why his art students loved him and why he was rightly recognized with the Cindy B. Fleischer Volunteer of the Year award for his efforts on behalf of the Adoption Resource Network in Rochester. A great man left his mark on many lives and that connection will forever be stored in many hearts as treasured memories. May your plethora of wonderful memories gently hold your hands Mary Ann, Austin and David, as you journey forward surrounded by his spirit. Rest well Jeff. You earned your place and will never be forgotten.

  10. Elizabeth Olmstead McBride on November 17, 2023 at 4:08 pm

    I met Jeff years ago on AOL through our shared interest in adoptee’s rights. We discovered a classmate of mine from high school was one of Jeff’s favorite teachers at Gowanda. We were always going to meet up on one of my trips back to WNY but never did. Jeff was such a mover and shaker in the fight for adoptees to have their original birth certificates. He will be missed. Say hi to Dale Hartlieb in the hereafter Jeff,

  11. Bonnie McArtney on November 17, 2023 at 4:32 pm

    Jeff was a soul of great wisdom, empathy, optimism and acceptance. He welcomed and supported anyone who sought his advice and friendship. He made a huge impact on each and every person he touched. He took the time to hear and understand each and every one he knew. He was truly extraordinary and will be missed by all who knew him.
    Love and peace to your family.

  12. Rebecca Sharman on November 17, 2023 at 4:49 pm

    Jeff was a loving soul. He reached out to others in love and kindness. He will be greatly missed.

  13. Holly Watson on November 17, 2023 at 5:18 pm

    While I wasn’t fortunate enough to meet Jeff “in real life” we shared the same toughts surrounding adoption. I was so honored to be a part of The Adoptee Survival Guide with Jeff and several other Adoptees. His voice was a guide to many in the adoptee rights community. — He will be forever missed. I live in Pennsylvania but will do everything I can to make it to his memorial.

  14. Roberta Rosenberg on November 17, 2023 at 5:22 pm

    May his memory be for a blessing for all those who loved him.

  15. Wendy Robin on November 17, 2023 at 6:23 pm

    I never met you but I knew you! I was crazy about you and I’m really going to miss you along with so many of the other people whose lives you made better and happier just by being you! I had hoped that I would be able to meet you on one of my trips upstate to visit my daughter. We will meet someday the great beyond! Until then I will think of you fondly and I will cherish your memory! Please say hello to Rachel for me and tell her that I miss her! Love you both!

  16. Nicole Johnson born Rachel Butler on November 17, 2023 at 6:39 pm

    Oh Jeff. You were so important to our community of adopted people. You helped me find a search angel to find my biological family. Without you, I’d probably still be searching for them. Without you I wouldn’t have my siblings and nephews and grandparents. Your impact will ripple over generations. Your legacy in this space will live on through those impacted by your efforts. You may no longer be with us in the physical realm but your presence will be felt for generations to come. Thank you for your work, thank you for your care.

    To the family, please know he was so loved and admired through the online adoption community. He will be dearly missed but we will continue his work.

  17. Deborah Boyles on November 17, 2023 at 8:26 pm

    My condolences to Jeff’s family he will be missed but remembered fondly and with respect for his work in opening up the secrecy of adoption.

  18. Kath Creel on November 17, 2023 at 9:03 pm

    Jeff shared my birthdate and more importantly shared the same hospital and adoption agency. At first I thought he might be my twin! Jeff was instrumental in getting me infront of the right people to find my way to my birth parents. Thank you Thank you kind soul. Eternally grateful. Rest in peace. Much gratitude and love.

  19. Pam Dolatowski on November 17, 2023 at 11:37 pm

    My sincerest and deepest condolences to your family. I have known Jeff going on 20 years through the adoption advocacy sites, and we shared countless stories over the years, our sorrows and joy over finding our birth families. He was an amazing advocate for us all, and always spoke so highly of his wife and children. He was one of a kind and we were all so blessed to have known him. Rest in external peace, my friend.

  20. Anne khan on November 17, 2023 at 11:48 pm

    So very sorry to hear about Jeff’s passing.. he was wonderful listener and good friend.. he listened to my adoption story as first mom and I listened to his adoption story as late discovery adoptee . I like Jeff because he was honest and gentle man,

  21. Peggy on November 18, 2023 at 9:00 am

    I was so sad to hear about Jeff. Like so many, I never had a chance to meet Jeff in person, but he was a great friend from the adoption community. I have a fond memory of Jeff helping me figure out how to construct my daughters Halloween costume (which turmed out great of course). He was always so helpful and kind. He will be missed tremdously.

  22. Sandy Foster on November 18, 2023 at 9:10 am

    my sincere condolences to Mary Ann and the boys. God bless you.

  23. Deborah Scott on November 18, 2023 at 1:17 pm

    Love and Condolences to you and your family, Mary Anne. I remember hearing stories about your family when we worked together, though I never had the pleasure to know Jeff.

  24. Nicole Dollmann on November 18, 2023 at 5:08 pm

    My deepest sympathy for you and your family 🙏.

  25. Marlene Svoboda on November 19, 2023 at 11:36 am

    We continue to pray for you, Mary Anne, and for Austin and David as you walk through this difficult time.
    We love you all.❤️
    Auntie M and U Tom

  26. Philippa Hope-Hornsey on November 19, 2023 at 1:14 pm

    I never met Jeff in real life but he made an impact on my life and know he will be missed by so many people. My thoughts are with his family.

  27. Austin on November 19, 2023 at 7:23 pm

    Love you, dad. Always.

  28. Murray Roy Legro on November 20, 2023 at 6:05 am

    Jeff was a legend in his own lifetime amongst we late discovery adoptees. he was known and loved worldwide and especially here in Australia. His honesty bravery through adversity is the stuff real people are made of. He along with Mary Anne raised two wonderful children. I will miss you mate even though I live across the big pond in Australia. Deepest condolences to Mary Anne, Austin and Paul.

  29. Mary Sisco on November 24, 2023 at 6:50 pm

    Jeff was such a light in this world. We had online talks about Rod Serling and Twilight Zone, along with many adoptee rights topics. What a great person. A gift to all who knew him. My heart goes out to Jeff’s family. Sending love and comfort.

  30. Barb and Shane on November 30, 2023 at 6:26 pm

    Mary Anne, Austin and David – Sending our heartfelt sympathy to you all. Prayers for strength and peace during this difficult time.

  31. Gregory Johnson on May 18, 2024 at 10:29 am

    Dear Mary Anne, Austin and David,
    I’m sending you these late condolences and sympathy. When I realized I cannot make it to Jeff’s memorial service this afternoon in Rochester because of a previous commitment, I checked again the notice in the Penny Saver and saw the address to this website.

    It’s beautiful to read about Jeff’s life and it describes so wonderfully his contagious sense of humor and love of life.

    He and Bettina were such close friends, especially playing Mahjong every week for years, all the way up until I lost her in 2017. I’m sure they’re together playing a heavenly version of Mahjong where I imagine the Dragon tiles are REAL DRAGONS! I love remembering how Bettina met Jeff so many Falls ago because she noticed this guy raking leaves in our front yard. She opened the door and asked him why he was doing that and Jeff answered “Are you Angie Fusco?”. No, I’m Bettina Johnson. Wrong house! But a great new friend! This says everything about Jeff’s wonderful generosity.

    Wishing you Mary Anne, Austin and David strength and comfort moving through life without Jeff’s physical presence but his spirit lives within you. Rest In Peace dear friend Jeff.
    Love, Greg

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