On December 18, 1917, Genevieve Marie Spudyk was born in Ranshaw, Pennsylvania to Charles and Valeria Spudyk, the fourth and last child in a family that included oldest brother Charlie, older sister Stella, and older brother Henry. Genevieve was known to most friends and relatives as Jeannie. Like many other Polish Catholic families, the church and church school, were at the center of their lives.
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Jeannie started high school as the Great Depression began, to last until she was married and World War II replaced the Depression. Like many others who lived through those times, she learned to save and make-do, as we found out when she finally had to give up the house she had lived in for sixty three years. Every corner of the attic and cellar (not to mention the garage) was filled with things saved. Some carried memories, others might be needed someday.
In high school, Jeannie's personality began to bloom. She was very outgoing and popular, loved gymnastics and dancing, and was the lead in her high school musical, something she still remembered proudly years later. A daredevil at heart, she loved trying exciting new adventures like flying in an open cockpit plane, or going down into illegal “coal holes” on a rope and a bucket. After high school, she met her husband to be, Edward Frankowski who was from Baltimore. Following a short courtship Ed spirited Jeannie away to be married. At first they lived with his family until they could move to a home of their own in Dundalk, Maryland. Their first child, daughter Barbara, was born as the War started. During the war, Edward worked at the Bethlehem Steel Plant in Dundalk, a critical job in the war effort. Jeannie worked as a riveter at the Martin aircraft factory, a true “Rosie the Riveter.”
She was small enough to squeeze into the tight spaces in the nose and wings of the planes to put the rivets in place. Daughter Barbara was cared for by her grandmother in Pennsylvania, a separation that Jeannie could only stand forso long and eventually had to quit to be reunited with her baby.
When the war ended, a second child, Edward, was born. Soon, the family moved to a larger house in Overlea on Taylor Avenue. The new neighborhood was almost countryside in those days, with a farm across the street and a horse grazing in the field. Here Jeannie raised her family. She was a wonderful mother, loving, kind, and generous with her time. She was a regular volunteer at many bake sales, carnivals, bingos, and winter bazaars raising money for the new St. Michael's school. Later, she worked part time in a children's clothing store in Gardenville and sold the shelves bare. She was especially proud of her work as a “Pinkie” at Franklin Square Hospital. She would greet people waiting for loved ones who were undergoing surgery. She gave out so much coffee, the hospital had to buy a giant sized pot.
Just as things seemed to be settling down, husband Edward was diagnosed with Cancer. Jeannie worked tirelessly taking care of Ed as the disease progressed. In early spring of 1964, God released Ed from his suffering. Jeannie's love and caring heart taught us the true meaning of marriage and what love really is between a husband and wife. Jeannie and Ed were married for a wonderful twenty-five years.
Resolved to be independent, Jeannie learned to type using the manual typewriter her daughter had used in high school. There she sat at her kitchen table going through the exercises with great determination. After passing the Civil Service entrance exam, she became a Verification Clerk at the Social Security Administration. Jeannie held this position until her retirement eighteen years later. During this time, she led a free and gay single life, going to dances, enjoying the excitement of playing slot machines on bus trips with her golden age club, playing bingo, and winning bowling trophies.
One day she received a call from a wonderful man from the past. He had been her husband's best friend and Best Man at their wedding, Howard Edelmann. They had not spoken for years. He had lost his wife to Cancer as well. He had been alone for six years and told Jeannie he had been thinking about her. They started seeing each other and, after a little time went by, they decided that they should be together permanently. And so in October 1982, Jeannie began her second marriage of twenty five years. They led an active life, with grandchildren from both first marriages, making trips to casinos with slot machines, traveling, and going to Howard's camp on the Eastern Shore near Chincoteague, to fish, go crabbing, and relax (not very much of that, Jeannie just could not sit still for very long.)
But, it was during this period that she started a long struggle with her eyesight, as Macular Degeneration and Glaucoma began to dim her vision over a long span of years. At first, it only slowed her down a little, with Howard's help she continued to do most things, but eventually she was restricted more and more until the last blow. Howard began to show signs of encroaching Alzheimer's disease. With her eyes preventing her from doing many routine things, and his failing memory making their mobility more and more risky, they had to give up their independence, leaving the house they loved on Taylor Avenue, for a Senior's Apartment in Rockville, Maryland closer to her daughter Barbara.
Unfortunately, as often happens with a major change in lifestyle, Howard's condition worsened, beyond what Jeannie could deal with alone, and he needed full time care. Howard quietly passed away with Jeannie by his side in February2008. After a period of living by herself with help from her daughter, she decided to move to St. Raphael's Assisted Living, still playing bingo, having memorized her cards, doing Chair Yoga, Zumba, listening to audio books, and leading the ladies in saying the Rosary. Jeannie still enjoyed attending family gatherings, and was always ready for visits to parks,and lunch with Barbara. As she lost the last of her vision and consequently her independence, Jeannie was discouraged and became careless about eating and drinking. This led to an infection and dangerously low sodium levels. She was extremely ill and had to be hospitalized in September 2017 followed by admittance to a Nursing Home. She rallied in November and began planning her 100th birthday party to be celebrated in December 2017. Ultimately, the years caught up with Jeannie. She was very tired and often mentioned she was ready to be with Jesus. On April 8, 2019, with Barbara holding her mother in her arms, Jeannie passed away peacefully and quietly, after one hundred and one years of adventure, enjoying life, and bringing joy and love to family and friends.
Death Notice: On April 8, 2019, Genevieve Marie Frankowski Edelmann (nee Spudyk) passed away; beloved wife of the late Edward Frankowski and Howard Edelmann; devoted mother of Barbara Kaps and her husband Richard, the late Edward Frankowski and his wife Theresa, Howard Edelmann and his wife Tanny, and the late Bernard Edelmann and his wife Kathleen; also survived by numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Visiting at the Lassahn Funeral Home, Inc., 7401 Belair Road (Overlea) on Monday, April 15, 2019, from 2-4 and 7-9 pm. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Michael the Archangel Church on Tuesday, April 16, 2019, at 11:30 am. Interment Parkwood Cemetery. Donations may be made to the Wilmer Eye Institute, (on memo line- Macular Degeneration/Glaucoma), Johns Hopkins Hospital, 600 N. Wolfe Street, Wilmer 112, Baltimore. MD 21287.