Vincent J. Vanston, 83, died February 27, 2016 at The Evegreens Retirement Community in Moorestown, New Jersey. He and his wife, the former Anne Griffin had been married for 54 years at the time of her death in 2012.
Born in Scranton on July 14, 1932, he was the son of the late Vincent J. and Sarah Finnerty Vanston.
He was a funeral director for over 50 years, and he taught at Scranton Preparatory School for 36 years.
He is survived by a daughter Kathleen M. Vanston, Esq., her husband Marvin Lee and two grandsons, Kevin and Jason Lee of Maryland; a son, Vincent Jay Vanston, M.D., his wife Patti Vanston, and two granddaughters Julia and Jenna Vanston of Moorestown, NJ; a sister Clare Durkin, her husband, Paul, of Clarks Summit; a multitude of nephews, nieces, great nephews and great nieces, and great great nieces and nephews.
He was also preceded in death by two sisters, Elizabeth Vanston Lynott and Margaret Vanston Shanley.
Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Saturday at 10am in Saint Ann Basilica 1250 St. Ann Street Scranton.
All attending are invited to go directly to the church.
Friends may call Friday from 4-7pm in the Vanston and James Funeral Home 1401 Ash St. Scranton, Pa. 18510.
Interment, private in St. Catherine’s Cemetery, Moscow.
In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to Friends of the Poor, 2300 Adams Ave Scranton, 18509; St. Joseph’s Center, 2010 Adams Ave. Scranton, 18509; Little Sisters of the Poor, 2500 Adams Ave., Scranton 18509; United neighborhood Services, 425 Alder St. Scranton, 18505; Scranton preparatory School, 1000 Wyoming Ave. Scranton, 18509.
Maureen Tracy Leo
I graduated from Prep in 1990. I saw Prep as a means to do extra-curricular activities and lacked any academic motivation until mid-way through college, but Mr. Vanston taught me to write. I subsequently found some academic mo jo, went to college, graduated summa cum laude, passed two bar exams, had a federal clerkship, and taught legal research and writing for 12 years. Performance in my profession has been directly linked to my capacity to write and any bit of professional success I have had is a direct result of having done the Core writing program and being a student in Mr. Vanston’s class. I am glad I had an opportunity while he was alive to thank him for what he did for me as an educator and thinker. I admired Mr. Vanston greatly and he is undoubtedly mourned by countless former students today who write better, think more clearly and find humor in unexpected places as a result of being a member of his class. Rest in peace.
Gerard P Panaro
Vince was my teacher at Prep for 3 years: elocution, Latin (Cicero) and AP English (1963-1967). Not only was he the greatest teacher I think I have ever had, and that includes college, grad and law school, but one of the most virtuous and inspirational people I have ever met, and probably the single most influential man in my life. I loved Vince dearly and I named my first-born son after him and kept in touch with him, visited him and sought his advice and counsel for the entire 50+ years I knew him, up to this past Nov, when my wife and I visited him at Evergreens. As Jesus said, No student is greater than his teacher; it is enough for the student to be like his teacher (Mt. 10.24-25). One of the most amazing things about Vince was this: a lot of people will take an interest in you because they think you can do something for them; but Vince was interested in his students for their own sake; there was nothing I could have given him for all he gave me.
Mr. Vanston was one of my favorite teachers of all time. I recall him saying “when I die the first person I am going to look up with be Emily Dickinson.” I hope he is in good company. One day I wore a red sweater and he stopped class to say, You look good in red you should be laid out it in.” I will follow his advice.
Rest in peace dear scholar.
Vanessa Young Gralton
Mr. Vanston was a superlative teacher. It was a privilege to have been one of his students. My deepest sympathy to his family.
Mr. Vanston was that unique, inspiring figure among the more intimidating instructors at Prep. The time spent under his guidance was the time to truly switch your brain on and dive in to class, which was a rare occurrence for me at that time.
25 years later, I can honestly say that the principles and ideas Mr. Vanston offered stick with me today. In particular, Mr. Vanston described to us that “life is flux”. He encouraged us during these extremely formative years to embrace change as the only constant.
He also drove home the idea concept of ‘life is contrast’. I distincly remember describing to us that we could not know what it was like to be hungry unless we’ve been full. We could not comprehend being poor unless we’ve been rich. Life is contrast.
And who could ever forget the K.I.S.S. principle? “Keep it simple, stupid!”
He truly was one of a kind and will remain as one of the brightest lights of my life. THAT man made a difference and I can tell by contrast to all of the other teachers who didn’t.
Much love to his family and friends who undoubtedly already understand what a treasure he was (and will continue to be).
Although I never had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Vanston, I know his daughter well, and hearing all the wonderful things people have said about his intelligence, practicality, and humor makes me feel like I know him through Kathy. Love to all of you in his circle of family and friends!
Often sporting that wry grin, Vince Vanston taught me as no other teacher did before or after him the power and sacredness of words.Thank you, Mr. Vanston.
Forever your student,
I am blessed to have had Vince as my uncle. Athlete, scholar, teacher and writer he was truly a Renaissance man. He was probing, challenging, asking the next question when I was figuring out the previous one. Uncle Vince, “let flights of angels take thee to thy rest…”
How fortunate you were to have two inspiring parents. They were proud of their children. Dave and I dedicated books at the LC Childrens’ Library in memory of your Mother. She was a model nurse. We only knew your Dad briefly but he shines on through his beautiful family.