A Look Back at Johnny Janosik's Legacy - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

A Look Back at Johnny Janosik's Legacy

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Johnny Janosik (Photo: WBOC) Johnny Janosik (Photo: WBOC)
Janosik used his wealth from his furniture empire to fund various charitable efforts (Source: WBOC) Janosik used his wealth from his furniture empire to fund various charitable efforts (Source: WBOC)
The volunteers at the Good Samaritan Aid thrift shop said they have fond memories of Johnny Janosik. (Source: WBOC) The volunteers at the Good Samaritan Aid thrift shop said they have fond memories of Johnny Janosik. (Source: WBOC)

LAUREL, Del. - As hundreds gathered for Johnny Janosik’s Celebration of Life Thursday afternoon, a big focus was on legacy. For many in the community, this legacy comes down to one thing: compassion. 

Lori Janosik Morrison was the youngest of Janosik’s three daughters, and she said she has many fond memories of her father. She said he had many roles, from entrepreneur to World War II veteran, but his main role was serving as the family’s moral compass. 

"I learned how to be compassionate,” she said. “And kind. And sympathetic. How to be motivated. If I want something, go get it. Nothing is impossible.”

Janosik’s message of handwork and charity carried on from generation to generation. Janosik’s grandson, Ross Aviel Lugaso, said that he reads his grandfather’s auto-biography once a year, in order to remind himself of what he stood for. 

"He never saw his success as something for himself,” he said. “But something he could use for people around him.” 

But many close to Janosik said that his definition of family went beyond blood, as he formed meaningful relationships with people throughout Delmarva. Beverly Hastings worked alongside Janosik for nearly 50 years. 

"I learned so much from him,” she said. "The way to run a business. It was interesting. Not every decision was monumental, but they all affected us.” 

A Legacy of Giving Back:

Throughout his life, Janosik was well-known for using his hard-earned wealth for good purposes. He helped out various charitable organizations including the Hope House and the Good Samaritan thrift shop in Laurel. 

Longtime friend and volunteer at Good Samaritan, Midge McMasters, said that Janosik meant “everything” to the town. 

“He was a mover and a shaker for this town,” she said. "Because he usually saw the need and would push and push until he found someone who was going to help him to do it.” 

Janosik came from humble beginnings in Hopewell, Virginia, an experience that motivated him to give back to those in need. On Thursday morning, Good Samaritan volunteer Kathy Wootten told WBOC she was reminded of a last-minute kettle drive Janosik once organized before the holidays. 

"He called me at 6 a.m.,” she laughed. “Which he did have a habit of doing when he had an idea. And he said, 'We can do this, we can do this.’ So... that was the week of Thanksgiving. So in between Monday and Thanksgiving, he wanted me and a few others to set up a schedule, get the drive going. And we did it.”

Wootten said this “never take no” attitude is what made Janosik such a successful philanthropist. Good Samaritan President Melinda Tingle said that she rests easier knowing that Janosik’s family will continue his legacy. 

"He's taught all of his kids and his grandkids,” she said. “That if there's a need out there, you need to step up to the plate.”

Janosik also began the Janosik Family Charitable Foundation, which provides educational opportunities to low-income students. John Evans, from the organization, said that the Sussex County icon will be sorely missed. 

“Johnny Janosik is an icon,” he said. “And he will be missed. Not only by the city of laurel, but by the state of Delaware. And may he rest in peace."

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