Audrey Dodge Gensel
My name is Audrey Dodge Gensel. I have three grown children – Carol, Johnny and Jimmy; though they don’t always act grown up. I also have 12 grandchildren and 18 great grandchildren. My husband, John, died 22 years ago.
I was born in Haddonfield, New Jersey, on August 7, 1923, to my parents Ethel and Arthur; and had four brothers and sisters. After graduating from high school, I met John and we were married within a year. He was a Lutheran pastor in Washington D.C. serving a church and I was in the choir. He liked the way I sang and I liked the way he preached and much more. During World War II, I was part of the workforce and John was a Navy chaplain overseas. Gosh, I was lonely for him.
Following the war, John and I moved to Mansfield, Ohio, where John served a church and our children were born. John served churches in Ohio and Puerto Rico and we settled in New York City in 1955. I finished my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in teaching and became a New York City elementary public school teacher for 32 years. In the morning, when getting ready for work, I often listened to Billie Holiday sing, “I’m a Fool to Want You,” “On the Sunny Side of the Street,” and other great hits. John served as a parish pastor and later as the Minister to the Jazz Community of New York City.
In 1990, we retired to our home in Muncy, Pennsylvania, where we enjoyed landscaping, planting perennials, going antiquing, playing “hearts,” being together and having visits by our children, grandchildren and friends. After John died in 1998, Carol came to live with me for several years. Jimmy and Diana, and Johnny and Mavis, would come with their children and visit. It was beautiful! Much laughter and good times.
My favorite color is purple. I enjoyed making bracelets for family and friends; hostas take my heart; and there is no better shopping than at Macy’s. My favorite dish to cook is picadillo, and I love eating Maine lobster. Also, I learned to enjoy a beer when out to eat with my children.
In 2014, my children, not me, decided I could not live alone anymore. At first, I took turns living in New York and Maine and finally settled in Maine. It was beautiful sharing my life with my children. In 2018 I moved to assisted living in Skowhegan and then to the Pierce House in Farmington. What a wonderful place to spend the rest of one’s life. The people there are beautiful and they took good care of me. They put up with my antics and I could tease them like I teased my children. My family and friends regularly visited me and occasionally we went out. My doctor was Dr. Stephen Goss and I always looked forward to my appointment with him.
Well, six weeks ago, I started to fail and entered hospice at the Pierce House with Androscoggin Home Care and Hospice. They were great and I was comfortable. In my final days, my children came to be with me. It was a precious time. We have so much love. I died peacefully on Tuesday morning, March 17, and I have entered that realm Jesus raved about while he was with us.
But, enough about me; what about you? At 96 years old, the two lessons I leave with you are: hug and love your family and friends as much as possible; and take the gifts God has given you, improve on them and share them. I will always be praying for you.
Arrangements are under the care of Dan & Scott’s Cremation & Funeral Service; 488 Farmington Falls Rd, Farmington, ME 04938