Leslie Faass (Wolcott) Stewart, 73, of Sylvan Beach, NY died at home with her family at her side on March 23, 2020, after a long illness. Born in Oneida, NY on October 22, 1946, she was a daughter of Willard and Eileen (Burke) Wolcott.
Leslie graduated from Camden High School in 1964 and later received an associate degree in Special Education from the State University of New York at Cobleskill. She married Edward R. Stewart, Jr. of Sylvan Beach on December 26, 1966.
For more than a half-century, Leslie’s winning personality was a strong, steady heartbeat in the community she loved. To those she knew, her passing comes like the falling of a bright star from the sky above Oneida Lake.
Together with her husband and his family, Leslie operated the landmark “Eddie’s Restaurant”, now in its 86th year, and developed two more longtime local businesses: “Sunset Cottages” vacation rentals, established in 1979, and a lakefront eatery, “Harpoon Eddie’s”, opened in 1984.
Leslie understood that business, like life, is about relationships. Over several generations at “Eddies” she forged warm, lasting friendships with successive generations of customers and employees who became like family. As a member of the Sylvan Verona Beach Resort Association and other business and citizens’ groups, she worked for decades to improve and enhance her beloved Sylvan Beach. In 2011 she was honored with the Joseph R. Carucci Award given by the Genesis Group of the Mohawk Valley to a business leader who exemplifies commitment to community. In 2012 Leslie and the Stewart family were awarded the Christopher P. Destito Tourism Leadership Award by the Oneida County Convention & Visitors Bureau for their leadership in community development.
An extrovert and a cheerleader by nature, Leslie’s genuine love of people made her an extraordinary goodwill ambassador for Sylvan Beach. Her warmth, sense of humor, and generosity of spirit touched literally thousands of lives. On her morning “power walks” around the village, she seemed to sprinkle fairy dust wherever she paused to say hello. Whether she was in the Beach or wintering in Florida with her family, if someone was sick or in trouble Leslie quickly found a way to help, without calling attention to herself.
A cancer diagnosis in 2012 only enlarged Leslie’s love for life and honed her gratitude for its gifts. During the ensuing struggle to stay healthy, she showed remarkable grace and strength, pouring ever more love and energy into the family she treasured. Along the way she won the admiration and affection of the doctors, nurses and other medical workers who provided her care.
Leslie’s Roman Catholic faith was at the center of her life. She was a congregant at St. Mary’s of the Lake Church in Verona Beach and St. Matthew Catholic Church in Hallandale, FL and served as a eucharistic minister. When she could no longer attend mass, she shared the sacraments at home with her friends in Christ, and looked forward to everlasting life in Heaven.
Surviving besides her loving husband of 53 years, Eddie, are her mother, Eileen (Burke) Wolcott of New Hartford; a son, Edward Stewart III and his fiancée Wendy Bacheyie, of Sylvan Beach, his children, Edward Stewart IV of Sylvan Beach and Emily Stewart of Florida, and Wendy’s children Daunte and Nevaeh Bacheyie; a daughter, Alison and Anthony Cuchiarale of Rochester; and their children, Ava and Ania Cuchiarale of Rochester; two sisters, Bobbi and Andrew Wolff of Cleveland, and Shelly and Glenn Ceglia of Herkimer; four brothers, Timothy Wolcott of Sylvan Beach, James Wolcott, of Camden, Willard Wolcott, Jr. of Florence, and Michael Wolcott of Arizona; three sisters-in-law, Joanne Panipinto Wolcott of Colorado, Patricia (Pam) McMahon Wolcott and Barbara (Stewart) Corona, both of Sylvan Beach; a former daughter-in-law, Lana Jo Yates, Munnsville; and many beloved nieces, nephews and friends who were like family to Les. She was predeceased by her father, Willard Wolcott, Sr., her parents-in-law, Edward and Florence (Fifi) Stewart, and her brother-in-law, Robert Corona.
Leslie and her family thank the many healthcare professionals whose skills and deep humanity helped her to thrive, even under the weight of illness, beginning with her loving nephew Dr. Robert Corona, her longtime oncologist Veronica Schimp, MD, and her oncology nurse Lisa Wake.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be no calling hours or church services. A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions in Leslie’s memory may be made to Hospice & Palliative Care (Oneida, Herkimer and eastern Madison Counties), New Hartford, NY, St. Mary’s of the Lake Church, Sylvan Beach Volunteer Fire Dept., or Friends of Forest Park, Camden, NY.
You may view obituary and send a message of condolence online at www.larobardierefuneralhome.com