2004-08-04 / Obituaries

Genevieve McCarthy Burns

Genevieve M. Burns, formerly of Cold Spring and Fishkill, died peacefully on July 21, 2004 at Oak Hill Manor in Ithaca, NY.

Gen was born in New York City on Dec. 19, 1910 and was predeceased by her husband, Capt. John D. ("Jack") Burns, US Navy, whom she married in 1935. She is survived by her five sons and their wives, John M. and Faith of Topsfield, Mass. and Lake Winnipasaukee, N.H.; Robert F. and Arlene of Kingston, N.Y. and Tarpon Springs, Fla.; Stephen J. and Vicki of Rochester, N.Y.; Joseph A. and Judy of Ithaca, N.Y.; and Dennis D. and Susan of Raleigh, N.C. Survivors also include 10 grandchildren, 6 great-grandchildren and 14 nieces and nephews.

Gen graduated from St. Lawrence Academy in Manhattan and in 1933 from Hunter College, majoring in chemistry. At Hunter, Gen started lifelong friendships with classmates in the Newman Club; nine of the dozen "girls" were alive for their 70th reunion. She received a master’s degree in education from SUNY New Paltz in 1960.

Gen taught the third and sixth grade at Haldane Central School from 1958 to 1975, where she specialized in science education. She had previously been a substitute teacher for several years at public schools in Beacon, Wappingers Falls and Cold Spring. Gen and Jack were presidents of St. Patrick’s H.S. PTA (Newburgh) for several separate terms in the 1950s while their sons were students there. She had resided in Ithaca, N.Y. for the last five years.

Gen’s five "boys" were the focus of her life. Because of her husband’s service, during World War II, she alone raised four of them, all under five, when Jack volunteered shortly after Pearl Harbor, while simultaneously caring for her father in Woodside, Queens. By the Korean War, when Jack left for the Far East, the family had grown to five, with three teenagers. The family had recently moved out of federal housing on Staten Island into the Burns’ first and only home on a five acre "farm" outside of Cold Spring in the Hudson Valley, where she lived for more than thirty years.

Known for her easy temper and good nature, Gen had a special talent to find the best in individuals, all of whom she liked. Usually the feeling was reciprocated, meaning that a large extended family would gather for annual Thanksgiving feasts. She was personable, and had a warm and very gentle disposition.

A devout Catholic, Gen regularly attended services at St. Mary’s Church in Fishkill, where she moved in 1982 after her husband’s death in 1977. In Ithaca, she was a communicant of Immaculate Conception Church.

Donations in Gen’s memory may be made to St. Mary’s Church in Fishkill or to the Haldane Central School Library, Cold Spring, NY for science books.

Funeral services were held on Sunday, July 25, at Robert H. Auchmoody Funeral Homes Inc., 1028 Main St., Fishkill. A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on July 26, at St. Mary’s Church in Fishkill. Interment followed in the Fishkill Rural Cemetery.


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