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Mary “Nikki” Giancola, 98, passed away peacefully on April 24, 2023, after a life well lived. She is predeceased by her husband, James and 5 of her 6 siblings, Doty Obeslo, Frances (Gene) Bruni, Esther (Edward) Mann, Irene (Edward) Udinski, and Philip (Nancy) Mc Morran, son-in-law Jerry (Betsy) Phillips, and daughter-in-law Barbara “Bunny” Giancola. She is survived by sister, Olive Dorr and sister-in-law Nancy (Philip) McMorran, her 4 children, Elizabeth “Betsy” (Philip) Phillips, William “Bill” Giancola, Victoria “Vikki” Wagner, Mary (Mark) Letson, grandchildren JoAnna (Aaron) Roddis, Dillon Letson, Zachary Letson, and Zane Wagner, as well as step grandchildren, Scott (Mary) Stamper, and Erika (Paul) Kryk and great grandchildren Zoe and Olympia Roddis and step great grandchildren, Ella, Quinn and Roen Stamper, and numerous nieces and nephews A “friend of Bill’s” for 47 years, she leaves behind many adoring friends as her “extended family”.

Born Mary Stuart McMorran in Lincoln, NH, on 4/3/1925, “Nikki” as she was later known, was the middle child of 7 born to Mary Stuart (Towers) and Henry McMorran. She was unofficially “adopted” as a toddler by a kindly, neighbor couple, William and Elizabeth “Jane” Barnhart who raised her as their own, and provided her with love and a strong foundation for life. During the Depression, The Barnharts sent her to boarding school at Northfield in Massachusetts where friends dubbed her “Nikki.” She returned to New Hampshire and finished her senior year at Claremont High School, where she was part of the ski team.

Nikki attended Syracuse University for a year as an English major. She later attended Rochester Business Institute where she met and fell in love with future husband, James (Jim) Giancola, who served as a pilot in World War II. After the war, the two married in 1947, and had their first child, Elizabeth (“Betsy”), a year later. Three additional children, William (Bill), Victoria (Vikki) and Mary Stuart would complete their family.

Her husband, Jim, with Nikki by his side, and partner Don Burruto owned the legendary Rochester restaurant, Eddie’s Chop House. Known as “the place to go”, Eddies was a Rochester favorite employing hundreds of people and delighting diners for over 30 years.

Nikki and Jim were avid golfers and members of both Brooklea and Locust Hill Country Clubs. Nikki worked in the pro shop at Locust Hill and assisted with the LPGA for many years. Other interests included bowling, crossword puzzles, knitting and being the best friend and grandmother, anyone could ask for. Following multiple falls, and later a stroke, Nikki moved to the Friendly Home, where she spent her last 4 years.

Nikki struggled with alcoholism for much of her early life, but achieved sobriety in AA in 1976, continuing as an active member for 47 years, until her death at age 98. During that time, she sponsored many people and they, many more. A bit of an AA legend, she was a respected & oft requested speaker, even speaking at AA conventions. She worked first in a program for drunk drivers and later became a Senior Alcohol Counselor at Park Ridge Chemical Dependency, and then at the Park Ridge Women’s Residence, where she assisted many in their struggle with alcohol and substance abuse. Her guiding principles were of acceptance and gratitude. She had a welcoming, loving manner that impacted the lives of all who knew her.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Rochester Chapter of AA, or a substance abuse treatment provider of your choice.

Calling hours will be Wednesday 4/26, 4-7PM, at Miller Funeral Home, 3325 Winton Rd S. Funeral Services will be held at 10AM, Thursday, 4/27 at Perinton Presbyterian Church, 6511 Pittsford Palmyra Rd, Fairport. Reception to follow. All are welcome.

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