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Genevieve “Genny” Kiolbasa passed away on Monday morning, December 21, 2020, at Aspired Living in Prospect Heights. She was 96. She is survived by her three loving daughters, Geriann (Wayne) Nowicki, Frances (Burton) Hochberg, and Susan (Gerard Donohue) Goeransson; six beloved grandchildren, Scott Nowicki, Keith (Jennifer Schmidt) Nowicki, Michelle Hochberg, Elaine Hochberg, Nicholas Donohue, and Emma Donohue; one sweet great-grandchild, Kepler Nowicki; dear sisters-in-law, Joan (Chester) Gall and Adeline (Edward) Gall; and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by both of her husbands, Franz Goeransson and Martin “Marty” Kiolbasa, and all of her siblings, Walter Gall, Anna (James) Spinelli, Bernice (John) Kubicz, Mary (Vernon) Robertson, Angela Gall, Helen (Chester) Goc, Chester Gall, and Edward Gall.
Genny was born on September 28, 1924, in Chicago to John and Sophie (née Sczepaniak) Gall. She was the eighth of nine children.
Genny served in the United States Army’s Women’s Army Corps (WAC), enlisting in 1944. After achieving the rank of corporal, she left the Army and became a registered nurse, a career that she loved. She worked as a school nurse in Cicero, making the rounds at the Catholic schools, and later as a pediatric nurse at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital in Melrose Park.
Genny was married twice. Her first husband, Franz, the father of her children, died unexpectedly in 1958. She later married Martin, her loving husband of 44 years. Genny and Marty liked dancing, which is how they first met. Although Marty often laughed about Genny’s two left feet, they both did a great cha-cha in addition to the polka.
Genny was a devout Catholic who cherished her faith, family, and friends. She was an active parishioner of St. Gertrude Church in Franklin Park for several decades and later a member of St. Cyprian Church in River Grove.
Genny was very outgoing and vivacious and had a great sense of humor. Even as her health declined, she could always make people laugh. She was definitely a people person and loved parties; the more the merrier. She also enjoyed traveling and made friends wherever she went. She made frequent trips to London to visit her daughter Sue and family, her “Londoneers.”
Genny enjoyed walking at Harlem Irving Plaza most mornings, which she regularly did for over 20 years, forming lasting friendships with several of her fellow walkers. Despite being a thrifty woman, she loved gambling, either playing the slots at Rivers Casino or trying her luck on scratch cards. Playing cards was another hobby, and she liked to play Liverpool rummy and pinochle with her daughters and grandchildren. Genny loved birds and in her later years developed a fondness for owls, amassing quite an impressive collection of owl art and figurines.
Genny will be fondly remembered and deeply missed by family, friends, and neighbors. She will be loved forever by her daughters and grandchildren. Due to the pandemic, funeral services were private, with interment at Queen of Heaven Catholic Cemetery in Hillside. A celebration of Genny’s life will be announced at a later date.
Donations in her honor may be made to Misericordia (misericordia.com) or to the Alzheimer’s Association (act.alz.org).
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