Teacher and Winery Manager Joanne Goerler Dies at 57

Joanne Goerler, a kindergarten teacher, manager of Jamesport Vineyards and a beloved member of the North Fork community, died on June 24 following a three-year battle with cancer. She was 57.

Joanna Frances Zuhoski was born on May 13, 1965 to Joseph and Sabina Zuhoski. The Cutchogue resident earned her teaching degree at Plattsburgh College and her masters at Dowling College, going on to teach at John Marshall Elementary School in East Hampton for 30 years. She married her husband Ron Goerler Jr. on July 20, 1991, and together they raised four children. They also ran the vineyard together.

“In every photo and memory I have of my wife, she always had a smile on her face” her husband said, describing her as a happy person who liked to be around her family.

Some knew her through her work at Jamesport Vineyards, through her profound impact as a beloved educator, or simply by her being a part of the extensive Zuhoski family, her family wrote in her obituary.

“Truly, it never mattered how someone met Joanne,” the obituary stated. “Each and every individual that crossed paths with her would be able to understand who she was immediately through her infectious and constant smile, her warmth and her ability to make anyone feel loved and appreciated, cared for and heard.”

She was a great example of how women are starting to gain some footing in the wine industry, Dan’s Papers reported last year.

“There are studies that show that women actually are better suited when discerning flavors in wines, something that can certainly be an asset in a female winemaker,” she was quoted as saying. “I’d love to see more women represented in that capacity!”

She is survived by her parents, siblings Joey, Jerry, Cheryl, Judy and Michelle as well as her husband and their children, Alex, Anna, Sarah and Olivia.

Her funeral mass was held June 29 at Our Lady of Good Counsel R.C. Church in Mattituck.

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the Icla da Silva Foundation, which “saves lives of patients with diseases whose only cure is a bone marrow or cord blood transplant by providing emotional, logistical, and financial support to remove barriers to treatment.” Donations: P.O. Box 797186, Dallas, TX 75379; text ICLA to 41444; or visit icla.org).

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