Teresa Ruzena Stransky, known to everyone as Terri, was called home to her Lord on May 3, 2023, due to complications from advanced pancreatic cancer at 67 years old.
Terri was born on January 27, 1956 to Billie and Laddie Stransky on Vashon Island, near Seattle, Washington. Upon finding out she was deaf and being told sign language was not a good thing, the family relocated to Wichita, Kansas when Terri was 3 years old so she could attend an oral program for deaf children there. After language and learning struggles and challenges, the family found Kansas School for the Deaf (KSD) in Olathe, and enrolled Terri there when she was 11 years old. Terri learned sign language and her deaf identity, and blossomed greatly there.
Upon graduation from KSD in 1975, she enrolled at National Technical Institute of the Deaf (NTID), where she was a very active and beloved member of SVP ’75. Terri was also an incredibly proud mother of her two children, Melinda and Josef. In the fall of 1988, after living in Wichita and Long Island, Terri decided she wanted to go back to school and earn her BFA in Fine Arts, as she was a very accomplished artist. She then moved to Rochester, New York where she enrolled at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), and graduated in the spring of 1993. Among other talents, she was also an extremely talented seamstress, having made countless pieces of clothes, quilts and others. After a while, she started working at Rochester School for the Deaf as a teacher aide, librarian aide and finally as an overnight residential mentor, before retiring in 2018. Terri was also a breast cancer survivor, having recently celebrated 10 years being cancer-free in January, before finding out she had pancreatic cancer in February.
Terri was known for her great love for the theater stage, and was involved in multiple stage performances with NTID Performing Arts, Lights On! community theater, and others. She also dearly loved Camp Mark Seven, having worked as Camp Registrar for many years and spending many happy summers in Old Forge, New York, working in the back to help keep the camp running. After she finished as Camp Registrar, Terri continued to return to Camp Mark Seven almost every year for their opening/closing weekends, always feeling the pull of the Adirondacks. Terri was also involved with Deaf Women of Rochester, Rochester Recreation Club of the Deaf, and Rochester Deaf BBQ, and in later years, worked as a Support Service Provider with Center on Disability Rights, working with DeafBlind people, and was Vice-President of Deaf Elders Around Rochester (DEAR). Terri was an avid traveler, having taken her children on countless road trips and trips to Hawai’i to visit her parents and sister there as well as going on cruises with her friends. Her last trip was to Germany, Czech Republic and Poland last fall, where she got to explore some of her Stransky ancestry in Czech Republic.
Terri was preceded in death by her father, Laddie Stransky; and mother & stepfather, Billie & Vernon Dicke. She leaves behind her children, Melinda (Ian) Jones of Indianapolis, Indiana, and Josef (Svenna) Harrison of San Diego, California; three beautiful grandchildren, Madelaine and Coraline Jones, and Finnley Pedersen-Harrison; her brother, Pat (Kathy) Stransky of Omaha, Nebraska and sister, Teddi Stransky of Kona, Hawai’i; a nephew, Dave Stransky of Boston, Massachusetts; as well as multiple cousins, relatives and beloved friends all over the United States.
As per Terri’s wishes, there will be no funeral or memorial service. If you would like to remember her, donations can be made in memory of Terri to Camp Mark Seven. Please make your check payable to “Mark Seven Deaf Foundation” and put in the memo line, “In Mem of Terri Stransky” and mail to Kelly Lange, M7DF, PO Box 840313, St. Augustine, FL 32080. You may also donate online at campmark7.org/donate1 and put down in the instructions box “in memory of Terri Stransky”.
Terri will be greatly missed for her kind spirit, sense of humor, her dedication to community organizations, the stage, and Camp Mark Seven, and love for her children and grandchildren.