Genevieve (Jennie, Jean, Jen, Genia) Dembowski died Thursday, February 23 three months short of her 99th birthday. Born in Greenwich in 1924, she was a daughter of the late Martin and Agnes Szczech Muskus.
She is survived by her son Walter (Tom Mariconda) of Shelton and her daughter Dorothy (Antonia Polcini) of Greenwich. Also three nieces, three nephews, and several great and great-great nieces and nephews.
She was predeceased by her husband Victor. Also four sisters: Anna Rupp; Victoria Zalewski; Josephine Rupp; and Julia Bruno. And three nephews: James Bruno; Blaise Bruno; and Edward Rupp.
Those are the basic facts of Genevieve’s life and death. But there is so much more to say about her.
She was the youngest of five daughters who, when they grew up, would be known collectively to many as the Muskus Girls. Her father died in 1929, just before her fifth birthday and about the time the Great Depression would begin. She and her older sisters did whatever they could to help their mother, who worked so hard and struggled so much to raise her girls during such difficult times.
Genevieve attended Greenwich public schools and graduated from Greenwich High School in 1942.
From then on until she retired, except for taking some years off to raise her two children, she worked as a secretary either full-time or part-time at several businesses in Greenwich and Stamford.
Working was a necessity. But “Good Time Jennie” as she was nicknamed by herself and others really loved to party and have fun with her friends. And most especially, she loved to dance.
At one of the then fairly frequent Polish dances in the area, she met Victor, the man she would marry on July 24, 1954. As had her sisters and their husbands before her, Genevieve and Victor lived for about two years in her mother’s house on Northfield Street in Greenwich while they saved up enough money to buy a home.
They moved into their own home with their sixteen-month-old son in October 1956. Genevieve would live in that house at 147 Knickerbocker Avenue in the Springdale section of Stamford for the next 63 years. But she always thought of herself as a Greenwich girl and a proud Fourth-Warder, referring to the largely working-class section of Greenwich where she had grown up.
In that house on the corner of Knickerbocker and Clearview Avenues, Genevieve and Victor raised two children with love: their son Walter and daughter Dorothy, who was born in December 1963. Amid all the chores and tasks they shared, they danced to records in the living room and to the radio in the kitchen. And Jennie tried so very hard to teach her two children to dance.
Genevieve and Victor were married for 39 years until his death in August 1993. Her life was never the same afterwards and she often would say how much she wanted to once again be with her husband.
But she continued to enjoy visiting or talking with family and friends while making new friends at several seniors groups. And she treasured time spent with CocoPuff, her daughter’s adorable cockapoo.
She also enjoyed bingo, cards, jigsaw puzzles and, for as long as she could, bowling. And of course dancing, even at her 90th birthday party.
She took great pride in keeping up her yard and was often told by commuters heading down Clearview to the train station that her yard looked much better than theirs.
She cared deeply about her neighborhood and the several generations of neighbors – especially the children – who lived nearby. And she cared about Springdale as a founding member of the Springdale Neighborhood Association.
A lifelong Catholic, Genevieve attended services first at St. Mary’s in Greenwich, then at Holy Name in Stamford and for decades at St. Cecelia’s.
A funeral mass will be celebrated on Monday, February 27 at 10:30 a.m. at St. Cecilia Church, 1184 Newfield Avenue, in Stamford. Burial will follow at St. Mary Cemetery on North Street in Greenwich.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, to Adopt-a-Dog in Greenwich, or to a charity of your choice.