Helen Maria (Surabian) Genatossio passed away peacefully surrounded by her family on Wednesday, February 2, 2022 one day after her 87th birthday.
Helen was born in Worcester on February 1st, 1935 the daughter of Hapet and Ruth (Mamigonian) Surabian. Helen graduated from David Hale Fanning Trade School, proudly as her senior class president. After graduation, Helen accepted a position at Stamen’s Custom Draperies in Worcester where her love for sewing and interior decorating flourished. In 1955, Helen married the love of her life Louis T. Genatossio and together they began a beautiful life dedicated to family and faith. Their marriage and family began in a three decker on Shrewsbury Street in a close-knit Italian neighborhood. They later bought their dream home in Shrewsbury where family was everything. After her husband’s passing in 2013, Helen continued to live in the family home until recently.
In 1978, Helen and Lou founded Sneakerama, a family business in Worcester. In the the early days of the business, Helen would arrive at the store first and manage it by herself until Lou arrived in the late afternoon after work at Genatossio Brothers Oil and their son Stephen arrived after college classes. They worked hard, side by side until their retirement in the mid-90’s. In addition to all of this, Helen was also an Avon Lady, taught sewing through the Nightlife Program, and worked at Cherry & Webb stores.
Above all things, Helen loved and cherished her family. She showed her love for her grandchildren in so many ways, never missing school events, concerts, recitals and sports. She fully enjoyed and took pride in her home. She loved to host gatherings for family and friends, making everyone feel welcome and loved. No one ever left hungry! Helen was a long time member of St. Mary’s Church, the Shrewsbury Womens Club and the Red Hat Society. In her early teens, Helen and her best friends started a club they called the “Busy Bees”. Remarkably, they continued this club and their friendships for their entire lives. Helen loved spending time on Cape Cod, especially with her husband, children and her sister Anna. She loved trips to California to visit with her brother Harold and his family. She was proud of her Armenian heritage, especially in the kitchen and enjoyed passing on her delicious recipes to her family. Helen and Lou had a shared love of travel, especially to Italy. They enjoyed telling stories about the memories they made along their travels.
Helen is survived by her four children, Louis F. Genatossio and his wife Barbara of Shrewsbury, Stephen M. Genatossio and his wife Lisa of Holden, Maria R. DiVerdi and her husband Robert of Shrewsbury, and Caroline A. Current and her husband John of Shrewsbury; 8 grandchildren, Vanessa Whalen and her husband John, Robert DiVerdi Jr. and his wife Grace, Nina Genatossio and her fiancée Joseph Scafidi, Rocco DiVerdi and his wife Kasandra, Joseph DiVerdi, Jackson Genatossio, and Chloe and Lylah Current, and three great-grandchildren, Estelle and Lorenzo DiVerdi and Lucille Whalen. She also leaves a brother, Harold Surabian and his wife Sonia of Westlake Village California, two sister-in-laws, Antoinette Genatossio and Cora Genatossio, and many nieces and nephews. In addition to her parents, her husband Louis and her grandson Louis-Rocco DiVerdi, she was predeceased by her brother Hapet Surabian and her sister Anna Belculfine.
Friends and family are invited to attend calling hours on Sunday, February 6 from 3 to 7 pm in the Mercadante Funeral Home & Chapel, 370 Plantation Street. Her funeral will be celebrated Monday, February 7th from the funeral home with a procession to St. Mary’s Church, 640 Main Street, Shrewsbury where her celebration of Christian burial mass will be held at 11:00 am. Burial will follow in Mount View Cemetery. For those that are unable to attend the service, it will be livestreamed by visiting www.mercadantefuneral.com and click on “Live Services.” Flowers may be sent or memorial remembrances may be made to the Alzheimer’s Foundation,225 N. Michigan Avenue, Floor 17, Chicago, IL 60601, www.alz.org.