NAUGATUCK — Genevieve J. Krzykoski, 94, of 321 City Hill St., Naugatuck, passed away peacefully on Oct. 15, 2012. She died as she had hoped to, in her own home that she had built with her husband in 1948.
Born Genevieve Josephine Wiekierak on Dec. 20, 1917 in New York Mills, N.Y., to Polish immigrants, she lived in Naugatuck for 69 years following her marriage to her WWII war time sweetheart, Walter. Both Genevieve and Walter were part of the original recycling generation, having lived their childhood years “scarred by the depression,” and their early adult years “conserving essential materials” in support of WWII. Genevieve and Walter shared a love of books, recognizing that WWII adage, “books are weapons in the war of ideas.” (Since they both enjoyed a healthy debate, volumes of books were read.)
Genevieve was a very giving and hard working person with many passions. She loved teaching. As “Mrs. Kay,” she taught kindergarten at St. Hedwig’s School in the 1960s, was a member of the teaching team for Naugatuck ’s (and the nation’s) inaugural Head Start program, and was a substitute teacher for the Naugatuck public school system for many years. Genevieve continued teaching until her last breath — reminding her daughter to appreciate every sunrise and that when the dying process is shared with a loved one, it becomes an extraordinary gift.
Genevieve loved volunteering, giving over 12,500 hours to St. Mary’s Hospital and Walk-In Center. When she could no longer physically be at St. Mary’s, she continued her volunteering by knitting hundreds of hats for newborns, even though her arthritis presented difficult challenges. She considered it a labor of love and knew well that it is in the giving that we truly receive.
Genevieve loved gardening, from extensive vegetable gardens to the carefully tended flower plots, she was inspired by nature. She believed that “he who plants a garden plants happiness.”
Genevieve loved basketball. She felt proud and privileged to have been one of the very first women to play high school basketball in the U.S. She adored the UConn womens basketball team and Geno Auriemma. Watching, with exuberance, the USA womens team win the Olympic gold medal this past summer was a true joy and enabled her to completely put aside the pains of her age.
Genevieve loved the arts, from the classics to the crafts. She enjoyed creating unique centerpieces and wreaths from dried things she’d find in meadows and the woods. From kindergarten marching bands to Strauss Waltzes; from crochet to clay works to creative cooking; from baking thousands of Christmas cookies (only sharing the imperfect ones with her husband) to sewing dozens of outfits; from dancing polkas to singing in church choirs, Genevieve loved it all. Her voice will be missed.
Genevieve understood well that life is not without its trials, but she also recognized that there are always silver linings even during the darkest of hours. “Nie ma nic tak ?le, ?e nie mog? sta? si? co? dobrego,” she’d say in Polish, her first language (and the one she preferred during her final days). “There is nothing so bad that it cannot be turned into something good.” With that philosophy of life, she always wore a smile and encouraged others to do the same. She understood well that a smile can make you forever young. Although the light of her beautiful smile shines only in our memory, those fortunate enough to have experienced its warmth will remember it always.
She is survived by her sister and brother–in-law, Mildred and Robert Szarek of New York Mills, N.Y.; and her daughter and son-in–law, Anita Krzykoski and David Johnson of Farmington.
She was predeceased by her husband of 66 years, Walter; her daughter, Susan; and her brother, Walter Wiekierak.
Genevieve’s family would like to thank the kind folks that helped so much during her waning months; her compassionate caregivers, Betsy Wingate, Althea Fisher, and Rhiannon Juan; her dearest friend (and angel, Joanne Dubay; her wonderful neighbors Doug and Donna Gaudiosi; and the caring staff at VITAS Hospice.
In respecting Genevieve’s wishes, there will be no services. The Naugatuck Valley Memorial/Fitzgerald Zembruski Funeral Home, 240 North Main St., Naugatuck has been entrusted with her arrangements.
In remembrance of her late daughter, Susan, memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society.
To send an online condolence, visit www.naugatuckvalleymemorial.com.