Obituary of Joseph Drenchko
Joseph Drenchko, 92, of Coburg Village, Rexford, NY, passed away on February 8, 2023, at St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany after a brief illness. Born in Brooklyn, NY, he was the son of the late Nicholas Drenchko and Helen Koneval Drenchko. He was predeceased by his beloved wife of 66 years, Carole Coppernoll Drenchko.
Joe graduated from East New York High School and attended Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from Oswego State (where he met his wife Carole) and Masters of Science from Albany State and Syracuse University. He also earned a Certificate in School Supervision and Administration at Syracuse University. After graduating college, he served in the U.S. Army 11th Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, KY.
Joe previously resided in North Syracuse, NY, where he raised his family and taught both at North Syracuse High School and Cicero-North Syracuse (C-NS) High School for 36 years, teaching physics for 34 of those years. He had a unique teaching style and is fondly remembered by many of his students. His teaching tenure included time spent as the Science Department Chair, Summer School Principal, National Honor Society Advisor and acting as a class advisor. He was also a varsity baseball coach, basketball coach and basketball timekeeper. He followed the concert and marching bands when his children were members and continued to manage competition judging tabulations long after they graduated.
Joe was active in the North Syracuse Education Association (NSEA) and was one of six union officials who served a 10-day sentence at Jamesville Penitentiary following a teacher strike over contract language in 1976.
After retiring from C-NS, he remained active as an adjunct physics professor at Syracuse University for over 10 years with his long-time friend Dr. John Fitzgibbons, took on leadership roles with the local NYSUT retirees chapter and continued as a scorekeeper for the C-NS girls’ basketball team.
Throughout his life, Joe was involved in physics education at the local, state, national and international levels. He was a member of the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) and GIREP, an international organization formed to improve the teaching of physics. He was an AAPT Physics Teacher Resource Agent and co-led dozens of workshops for hundreds of physics teachers in New York and elsewhere. In 2002, Joe was honored with the AAPT Distinguished Service Award.
Joe and his wife Carole traveled extensively, chaperoning high school groups to Europe, attending physics teacher conferences all over the United States, Canada, and Europe, and taking relaxing trips to the Caribbean with friends. Joe and Carole were avid bridge players and quickly made new bridge friends when they moved to Coburg Village. Joe enjoyed classical music and watching sports, he grew up watching the Brooklyn Dodgers play at Ebbets Field and never forgave them for moving west. He also enjoyed all manner of card and table games and spent many pleasant afternoons and evenings in the card room at Coburg Village.
Joe is survived by his daughter, Darja (Bill) Nevits of Hudson, MA; son, Peter (Stephanie) Drenchko of Ballston Lake, NY; cherished grandsons, Donovan and Trevor Drenchko; nephew Andrew Heckethorn and niece Amy Heckethorn-Jones.
Services will be private at the convenience of the family. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you donate to a charity of your choice in memory of Joseph Drenchko.To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Joseph Drenchko, please visit Tribute Store