Genevieve (Kaminski) Komorowski who coordinated the personnel office of the Niagara Falls School District for nearly 35 years, passed away on Friday, November 23, 2012, following a brief illness. She had turned 92 the day before she entered the hospital.
Genevieve, a familiar face for years at the Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center gift shop where she volunteered every Friday morning, was the third of four daughters of Michal and Mary (Sokolowski) Kaminski of Royal Avenue. She attended local schools and graduated from Niagara Falls High School. Her first job was in the business office of the S.S. Kressge Department Store before the onslaught of urban renewal. Although she never obtained a formal college degree, she received certification from the Empire State program for her professional experience with the school board. Despite not having finished college, she valued higher education as an essential accomplishment in life and stressed that value to her children and grandchildren.
She started her board career as the secretary to Principal Geraldine Mann at 17th St. School. Through hard work and high scores on exams, she transferred to the district administrative office in staff personnel and became confidential secretary to Dr. Vincent Loretto. Serving under at least a half-dozen superintendents, she helped steer the department through numerous program and policy changes and several controversial years. Still, she managed to keep herself above the petty politics all those years and remained loyal to her employer. She was a firm believer in maintaining professionalism. Genevieve was well-known as a friend and reliable personnel source to teachers and administrators alike. Even after her retirement in 1995, she continued to get calls at home from her former office and many employees for advice on procedures, benefits, contract items and records. They knew to call her because she was the impeachable source for answers and accuracy. In 1988, she was selected as the first non-instructional employee in the history of the school district. The plaque still hangs in her home.
Genevieve married Thaddeus Ted Komorowski in 1941. They moved to Cayuga Island in 1952 and lived together until he passed in 1989. During his last years, he became disabled. She continued to provide care for him at home while working full-time, running the household and raising her two boys. Along with her years in the gift shop, she continued to stay active as a member and officer of various organizations and groups such as the St. Theresa's Travel Group, the Niagara Womens Club, the local Republican Party, the Retirees Breakfast Club, a Cub Scout den mother and the Niagara Falls Professional Secretaries Group as well as belonging to the parish of St. John de LaSalle. Never one to sit still, she participated in several athletic groups such as the Rapids Retired Mixed Bowling League, women's lawn bowling at Hyde Park, a women's golf league and loved to hit the links with her son, Thad. Even this year she still attended exercise classes with the seniors group at the adult education center. Through these groups or with her family, she loved to attend theatrical performances, concerts and civic functions. Her curiosity in intellectual pursuits included going to all the latest films and reading novels by Danielle Steel and John Grisham as well as many contemporary biographies. Until her death she regularly read two newspapers a day and completed the daily crossword puzzle. No stranger to the casino, she visited often with her roommate and grand-daughter, Genna, and always found the time and energy to shop at the Prime Outlet, Boulevard Mall, and Galleria or wherever the action was. Despite her age she managed to drive safely until her death. In recent years, her grand-daughter Genna returned from California to live with her on Griffon Ave. and share many Thelma and Louise adventures in the area whether at the casino, a mall, or in Canada.
She frequently confided that living with her granddaughter was one of the best decisions she ever made and gave her life a renewed sense of fulfillment. All her grandchildren were a great source of pride for her and she frequently bragged about their accomplishments to everyone she met. She was a devoted grandmother who always was there to assist with rides, meals, money and love for her grandchildren, no matter what age or location. Regardless of the task, she always smiled and said it makes me feel needed. Her love also extended to animals, including her cats, Luis and Honeybun, and all the birds, squirrels and rabbits that congregated near her side door to eat the peanuts she tossed to them everyday. This year she traveled to two monumental events: the graduation of her grandson, Thad, from Ithaca College; and the wedding of her granddaughter, Michelle, in Erie, PA. Her heartfelt compassion was never exclusive to her family and friends but was extended to numerous charities and organizations through monetary contributions despite her limited income. She was especially partial to the Native American Children of the Southwest.
She is survived by her sons, Michael Komo of Erie, PA, and Thad (Vickie) Komorowski of Niagara Falls, NY; her grandchildren, Michelle (Matt) Bluman of Walkersville, MD, Michael R. Komo of Washington, DC, Thaddeus Komorowski III and Genna Komorowski, both of Niagara Falls, NY and Valerie Komo of Erie. Her dear sister, Rose Kelley of Roseville, MN; and numerous nephews and nieces. Besides her parents; and husband, she was predeceased this year by her sister, Jean Zarr of Albuquerque, NM, formerly of Niagara Falls; and several years ago by Helene Litsios of New York City.
Friends may call on Thursday, November 29th from 4-8 PM at ZAJAC FUNERAL HOME, INC., 319-24th St., cor. Welch Ave., Niagara Falls, NY. A Memorial Mass will take place at 9:00 AM on Friday, November 30th at St. John de LaSalle Church 8477 Buffalo Ave. PLEASE ASSEMBLE AT CHURCH. Entombment in Gate of Heaven Cemetery Lewiston, NY, will follow. Donations in her memory may be made to the Southwest Indian Children's Fund or a charity of ones choice.
Visit zajacfuneralhomeinc.com for online condolences.