Joan Chayka Riford, beloved wife, loving sister, and aunt, died on July 17, 2021, at Maui Memorial Medical Center in Maui, Hawaii. The cause of death was heart failure. Joan was born April 1, 1942, in Auburn, New York, daughter of the late Bernard Chayka and Mary Maggi Chayka. She grew up in Auburn and attended Auburn public schools, graduating first from Auburn East High School and then Cayuga County Community College. She was very active in government and politics, having been Chair of the Cayuga County Republican Committee (the first woman to hold that position) in the 1980s, and delegate to the National Republican Convention in 1984. Joan was known for her exceptional work ethic and dedication. From 1964 until 1969 she was employed at Beacon Milling Company in Cayuga, New York, and in 1971 began her long tenure with the New York State Legislature, where she served as administrative assistant and office manager for Assemblyman and then Senator Steve Riford, as well as for his successor, Senator Jim Seward. She enjoyed traveling extensively in Europe and the continental United States. In 1998 she retired and moved to the island of Maui, where she and Senator Riford were married in 1999.
She is survived by her husband of 22 years, Senator L.S. Riford, Jr., by six sisters, Ann Streeter, Elaine Lovell (Gib), Pearl Hunter, Cindy Baney (Dennis), Betty Palmieri (Michael)and Peggy Verdi (David), two brothers, Bernard Chayka (Susan) and Philip Chayka (Doris), and three generations of nieces and nephews.
She was predeceased by her brother, Joseph Chayka, brothers-in-law, John Hunter and Richard Streeter and nephew Keith Streeter.
A calling hour for family and friends will be held inside of St. Mary's Church, 15 Clark St , Saturday September 11 from 10:00 am until 10:45 am with her memorial mass to immediately follow at 11:00 am in the church. Burial will be private in St. Joseph's Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Habitat for Humanity, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, or to a charity of choice.
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