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Genevieve A. Szynski, age 96, passed away peacefully, on Saturday November 18, 2023. During the days preceding her passing, she was surrounded by her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and others who were drawn to her Light of Christ.
Genevieve was born on January 2, 1927, in Pittsburgh, to the late Michael & Mary (Sroczynski) Pankiewicz. On August 7, 1957, Genevieve married the love of her life, Deacon Eugene (Gene) J. Szynski, Sr., who preceded her in death on February 23, 2005.
Genevieve’s Catholic education began at St. Hedwig Grade School, and she attended South Bend Central High School.
Genevieve loved dancing when she was a young woman and often told stories of spending Friday nights in dance halls with her friends. It is where she met her husband, Eugene. Through the years their dancing together turned into serving others. While she raised her five children, Genevieve, also called ‘Jean’ by her husband, joined him in many other roles. Together, they led prayer group meetings at Holy Family Catholic Church, St. Joseph Care Center, Portage Manor, and West Park. They visited those unable to leave their home for prayer and communion. Genevieve was a Eucharistic Minister at Memorial Hospital and Holy Family, where she was also a member of the Altar and Rosary Society and the Legion of Mary.
Genevieve’s dedication to living a life as a believer in Jesus Christ was her greatest achievement. She changed the course of her family. Her steadfast prayer life laid the foundation and became the springboard for the entire family coming to know and walk with Jesus Christ. She had a multigenerational impact on the family. Genevieve was a prayer warrior, starting her day with her list of prayer requests and names of those who she felt called to offer prayer.
As a grandmother, Genevieve attended sporting events, musical performances, and school productions. She was present at births, first communions, confirmations, graduations, and weddings. Nothing seemed to give her more joy than to bring her family together each year for the Szynski Christmases at her home and the Szynski Family Reunions held at the South Bend Cubs ballpark each summer. As a resident of the Ivy at Berlin and an avid fan of the South Bend baseball team, Genevieve could be found cheering them on at nearly every home game.
When she was 86, Genevieve had the idea to create a Psalm 91 prayer card. She commissioned her daughter, Bridget, to design the card and could often be found offering the cards to anyone she felt needed encouragement. Her cards have been shared around the country. She even sent them to Pope Francis.
At the age of 91, Genevieve was presented with the Les Fox Hoosier Lifetime Award in recognition of her life-long devotion to serving her community. The award honors those who give selflessly to care for others. Among her many contributions, Genevieve had a special place in her heart for veterans. Her husband also served in the US Navy, so each year, she provided a trunkful of warm clothing to the Veterans Center.
Genevieve continued to exercise and take daily walks around her home until her last days. She will be remembered as a Euchre champion. No one who spent time with her got by without playing cards or some kind of game. She was competitive and loved playing to win! She had a genuine laugh and was sharp-witted, reminding her children to exercise their minds, and do crossword puzzles as she did each day.
If you ever called Genevieve, you were greeted with, “You got the joy? Praise God!”
Her zest for life was inspiring. It is impossible to reflect on Genevieve’s 96 years of life in a few paragraphs. It would require writing a book to do it justice.
Genevieve was a Proverbs 31 woman: “Her children rise up and call her blessed…Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all."
While her family will miss her dearly, they know she is resting in the arms of her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. She has the joy!
In addition to her husband, Genevieve was preceded in death by her sisters, Josephine Niedbalski, Helen Nichols, and Albina Fryatt.
Left to cherish their memory of Genevieve are her children, Eugene J. Szynski, Jr., Bridget Szynski of South Bend, Dr. Michael (Kate) Szynski of Pinehurst, N. Carolina, Chris Szynski of Miami, Fl., and Gregg (Rosa) Szynski of Fishers, IN; 15 grandchildren; 8 great-grandchildren.
Friends and family will be received at St. Joseph Funeral Home, 824 S Mayflower Dr, South Bend, IN 46619 from 2PM–8PM, Tuesday, November 21, 2023, with a rosary being prayed at 7:00PM. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:00AM., with visitation 9AM-10AM on Wednesday, November 22, 2023, at Holy Family Church at 56405 Mayflower Rd, South Bend, IN 46619. Burial will follow at St. Joseph Cemetery, South Bend.
Donations or mass intentions in honor of Genevieve A. Szynski may be made out to Holy Family Church, 56405 Mayflower Rd, South Bend, IN 46619, or Heart of the Nation Catholic Mass online, https://www.heartofthenation.org/donate/donate-online. In addition, donations can be made to Robert Miller Veterans Center, Center for the Homeless, and Hope Ministries all located in downtown South Bend.
Online condolences can be made at sjfh.net.