Rochester: Desi passed away peacefully in her sleep on December 27, 2018 following a seven-year battle with breast cancer. Born and raised in Fairville, NY, Desi resided in Rochester since 1973, with intermittent stays in Toronto for school and friends. Her death came on her 68th birthday.
A lifelong sports car enthusiast, she dearly loved and maintained her 1966 Morgan British sports car. She was a past president of the Western NY Centre of the MG Car Club and a founding member or the Western NY Morgan Owners Group.
A graduate of MCC and RIT, Desi held a Licensed Master of Social Work, which she earned at the University of Toronto. She served as a Child Protective Case Worker with Monroe County for almost 30 years and has remained active with the Social Workers Union Retirees and the Democratic Party’s 23rd Legislative District Committee. Following her retirement, she worked with Catholic Family Services of Toronto for five years as a Child Protective Team Supervisor.
In her third career she has been a faculty member with the Distance Learning Division of SUNY Empire State College since 2013, where she passed on her knowledge teaching human services to Bachelor level students. In 2018 she was appointed as the Division Chair for the Genesee Valley Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.
Along with her husband, then Monroe County Legislator Bill Benet, and Gary Mervis, she created the Joe Benet Memorial Kazoo Fest in 1984, which raises money annually to support Camp Good Days and Special Times. The Kazoo Fest honors her father-in-law who operated the Kazoo and Balloon concession for 38 years at Sibley’s Department Store.
In addition to her Morgan, Desi was passionate about politics, music, movies, cooking, travel, zoos, her beloved pets, and deep friendships. Desi’s joy of life and indomitable spirit burned with an incandescent light that inspired and warmed the hearts of all who knew her. Desi was predeceased by her father, Edmund Lada and her mother, Dorothy. She is survived by her devoted husband of nearly 46 years; her brother, Bruce Lada and wife Denise; her nephew, Michael Lada and wife Kim; her grand-nieces, Mackenzie and Taylor; numerous cousins; and her countless friends in Rochester and Toronto.
Memorial Services are being planned for later this winter in both Rochester and Toronto.
In lieu of flowers or gifts, contributions may be made in Desi’s name to the following 501(c)(3) charitable organizations: The Institute for Polarities of Democracy in Washington, DC; https://instituteforpod.org/; The International Motor Racing Research Center in Watkins Glen, NY https://www.racingarchives.org/ or Camp Good Days and Special Times to benefit The Joe Benet Memorial Kazoo Fest in Rochester, NY https://www.campgooddays.org/event/100058/73rd-annual-joe-benet-memorial-kazoo-fest
The Institute for Polarities of Democracy
Camp Good Days and Special Times to benefit The Joe Benet Memorial Kazoo Fest
The International Motor Racing Research Center
Watkins Glen NY