Victor Derefinko

Obituary of Victor V. Derefinko

Please share a memory of Victor to include in a keepsake book for family and friends.

Victor Vincent Derefinko, better known to all who knew and loved him as Vic, passed away peacefully after a life well lived at his home in Brockport, NY surrounded by family and friends on December 1, 2023.


Vic was born in Buffalo, NY on November 9, 1939, to Joseph Derefinko and Olga Kiebala Derefinko. He spent his childhood in Medina, NY where he was part of a lively group of 9 cousins affectionately known as “Rings End.” He graduated from Medina High School in 1956.

His pursuit of higher education led him first to Erie County Technical Institute (now Erie Community College), then to Rochester Institute of Technology for a degree in Electrical Engineering and finally to the University of Virginia where he obtained a Master’s Degree, also in Electrical Engineering. He found time along the way to honor his commitment to the US Army. He started his career at IBM in Endicott, NY and then moved to Kodak/Johnson & Johnson in Rochester, NY where he was employed as an engineer for over 30 years. In addition to his work as an engineer, he began teaching, first at the Rochester Institute of Technology and then at the University of Rochester where as an adjunct professor he taught generations of young people the joys of engineering over almost 40 years. Keeping abreast of the developing technology allowed him to fulfill a lifetime passion for learning. He was an inspiration to his students and in 1995 the undergraduates honored him with a special award they created for his excellence and caring manner of teaching. He was named Teacher of the Year for the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Rochester in 1995. In 2006 he was honored by IEEE for “outstanding leadership, creativity, hard work and inspiration in the field of engineering for almost half a century”. He was so inspired by his students, the engineers of the future, that he did not retire from teaching until he was just short of 80 and even then, he did so reluctantly.

Vic was truly a jack of all trades and a master of many. He was an avid baker, famous for his pies and placek. He was a driving force behind the yearly Kiebala Family Reunion, leading the group in the nightly singalongs. With his daughters Donna and Karen, he shared a lifetime love of horses and he and Jeanne were devoted to the many dogs that shared their home over the years. He built his own barn and after his daughters grew up and left home, he opened his barn to a collection of boarders. The daily care of these animals brought him much pleasure. Vic was never happier than when he was hard at work on his land, bailing hay, treating youngsters to hay rides, feeding his flocks of birds, fixing fences or planting his quarter-acre garden with hundreds of leeks and the best tasting produce in the area. With tools in hand, Vic was always ready to help anyone with projects and could fix anything.

Vic was predeceased by his first wife Mary Ann Nowak Derefinko, his brother Eugene Derefinko, his son-in-law Mark McGohon and his parents. He is survived by his wife of 34 years Jeanne Pierce Derefinko, daughters Donna Derefinko, Karen Derefinko (Matthew Isaacs), Lida (Tim) Ward and son Alex (Amy) Ryan. He also leaves behind beloved grandchildren Shea McGohon, Henrieta Isaacs, Charlotte, Caroline and Margaret Ward, Kat and Quincey Ryan, sisters Sonia Derefinko (Fred) Handt and Jenny Derefinko Abbott, brothers-in–law Paul (Pamela) Nowak, Joseph Pierce, sisters-in-laws Lida Pierce (Wayne) Small and Willa Pierce (Sandy) Falck, niece Nancy Handt (Robert) Whalen and nephew Eric (Jennifer) Handt as well as many loving cousins and their families and special longtime friends and neighbors Nelson and Helene Kibler and Bill and Pat Leonard.

In lieu of flowers please consider making a donation to the Michael J. Fox Foundation by visiting or by sending a check to Michael J. Fox Foundation, PO Box 4777, New York, NY 10163-4777.

A memorial service in Vic’s honor will be held at a later date.

To plant a beautiful memorial tree in memory of Victor Derefinko, please visit our Tree Store
A Memorial Tree was planted for Victor
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Fowler Funeral Home, Inc.
Online Memory & Photo Sharing Event
Online Event
About this Event
Victor Derefinko

In Loving Memory

Victor Derefinko

1939 - 2023

Look inside to read what others have shared
Family and friends are coming together online to create a special keepsake. Every memory left on the online obituary will be automatically included in this book.
Services for Victor Derefinko
There are no events scheduled. You can still show your support by planting a tree in memory of Victor Derefinko.
Plant a tree in memory of Victor
Share Your Memory of