Gemma C. Orzech
Gemma (Vannortwick) Orzech, 53, of Morrisonville, passed away peacefully Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019, at her home with her loving family by her side. She was born in Plattsburgh, N.Y., on March 17, 1966, the daughter of William E. and Margaret M. (Leclair) Vannortwick.
She attended Our Lady of Victory Secretarial School and received an Associate's Degree and worked as a secretary for a lawyer in Plattsburgh, also Social Services and six years at Plattsburgh State University. She also attended Clinton Community College and received an Associate's Degree in General Education. She then transferred to Plattsburgh State University and received a Master's Degree in Education. She taught English at Plattsburgh State University. She worked at several local school districts, but spent twenty years teaching middle school at AuSable Valley Central School. She loved children and enjoyed being a teacher, which she was passionate about. Gemma also loved volunteering at nursing homes.
Gemma was an avid runner, running in many full and half marathons. She also received a medal for running one thousand miles in one year. She loved reading, knitting, hiking, camping and traveling. She also loved spending her time with her wonderful friends. She had a kind soul and loved everyone in her life that spent time with her. She was a fiercely loyal friend and co-worker. She will be remembered most for her beautiful smile and compassion for others.
She is survived by her loving husband of 31 years, Mark Edward Orzech. She also leaves two beautiful children; Ashley Amelia and Thomas Mark Orzech, her brothers; William, Phil and Timothy Vannortwick, her sisters; Mary Colwell, Joan Vannortwick, Christina Provost, and Angela Forget and many aunts, uncles cousins, nieces, nephews, great-grand nieces, nephews, loving friends, and her therapy dog Onni.
She was predeceased by her sister, Alice Thuesen, and brother Don Juan Vannortwick.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Hope Lodge Burlington, Hospice of the North Country, or the FitzPatrick Cancer Center.
Calling hours will be on Monday, Oct. 28, 2019, from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. at St. Alexander's Church, 1 Church St., Morrisonville. A memorial service will follow at 11:30 a.m. in the church.
Arrangements are entrusted to Brown Funeral Home, 29 Broad Street, Plattsburgh, NY 12901, (518) 561-3980. Online condolences may be offered at
Published on October 21, 2019


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Oct 29, 2019
You were an amazing woman and one of my favorite teachers in Ausable ❤️You will be missed truly
Cheryl DavidCody
Oct 26, 2019
Gemma had a smile that made the dark hallways of the school brighter, the classrooms warmer and the day much better when you saw her! Our band days is what I remember most and I feel truly blessed to have known her. God bless you Gemma. I’m sure you are making Gods’ life brighter too!💕🙏🏻💕🙏🏻💕
Alicia payro
Oct 23, 2019
What a wonderful teacher she was and friend. I always enjoyed her class and talking about books we read. I will miss her very much. My thoughts and prayers go out to her family.
Rob Worrell
Oct 22, 2019
Mrs. Orzech was my teacher in high school for my junior and senior years. She was truly an amazing person as well as a teacher. I can't express enough thanks to her for all that she had done for me in school. If it wasn't for her giving me that second chance in my senior year I wouldn't of graduated that year. It's because of her that I did, giving me that second chance. That truly means so much to me and immediately showed me how big of a heart she has and how much she cared for her students as well as everyone in her life. My condolences are with her family. Mrs.Orzech will surely be missed by me and a lot of people who's lives she touched. Rest easy you're work is done, You truly are an ...angel Thank you so much once again.Read more
Becky (Kolb) Broderick
Oct 22, 2019
Oh my God!!!! May she Rest In Peace!
She was the teacher that saw my full potential and put me in advanced placement....
She was the teacher that taught me that anxiety is a part of life and being embarrassed is only your body telling you that you take pride in yourself...
She was the teacher who helped me embrace dyslexia and use it to my advantage....
She was the teacher who inspired me in ways she probably never knew!
She is a gem who is gone too soon
Laurie Claflin
Oct 22, 2019
I loved Gemma. She is an amazing woman and u always enjoyed seeing and talking with her. She will be missed.
David Elson
Oct 22, 2019
Mark, I haven't seen you since I retired
16 years ago and moved to Arizona. I never
met your wife, but she must have been a wonderful person and your best friend.
My wife and I are so sorry for your loss.

Your friend
David Elson
Brenda Nephew Breyette
Oct 22, 2019
I am so saddened to hear of Gemma’s passing. Rest easy Gemma. Thinking of all the family during this difficult time. God Bless you all.
Starr Springer
Oct 22, 2019
My condolences to the Orzech family, I know she loved you more than anything else in this world. She spoke of you all the time.

Mrs. Orzech was the most amazing person and teacher. She cared for her students more than any other teacher has.
I remember the very first day she started at AuSable Valley, she was a little shy but smiled a ton. That shyness went away very quickly. I can remember long talks and spending my lunch with her both my junior and senior years. I was blessed to have her as my English teacher for years ( even though she is reading this and correcting all of my grammar 😁)
Mrs. Orzech thank you for everything, you will be GREATLY MISSED
Janice Ackey
Oct 22, 2019
Gemma May you rest easy now my friend.. I’m gonna miss you and that laugh and smile you had.. your gonna be missed by so many . My thoughts and prayers go out to the whole family . Love You Gemma until we meet again my friend
Donna Ruggeri
Oct 21, 2019
I am so sorry for your loss. I remember Gemma’s great passion & energy! I remember her talking about you - her family; there was no one in the world more adorable or sweet - deserving of great, great love ❤️
I will be praying for you all as you work through your grief!