Geraldine Bernacchi

Obituary of Geraldine C Bernacchi

The family of Geraldine Fogarty Bernacchi wishes to announce that she returned to her heavenly home on November 29, 2021. Geraldine was living at Fellowship Senior Living in Basking Ridge, NJ at the time of her passing. Geraldine was born in Chicago, IL on September 11, 1914 to John J. Fogarty and Mary Katherine (Casey.) She graduated from St. Attracta School in Cicero, IL. At the age of 14 she began working for Illinois Bell Telephone Company as a switchboard operator. Throughout her life, she was hired for every job she ever sought. Her last position was as the receptionist on the executive floor of Baker & McKenzie Law Firm in Chicago, which she held until the age of 80. Geraldine was "Angel Face" to her beloved husband Julian N. Bernacchi who predeceased her on February 8, 1976. She continued her life for the next 29 years in the Chicago area. At the age of 90, she moved to Basking Ridge, NJ, and had many wonderful years filled with friends, family, and a caring staff at Fellowship Senior Living. The family was often asked what Geraldine's secret was to such a long life. While her genes cannot be overlooked, she also had a zest for looking at "what's next" in life. She did not look back unless asked about something by the younger generations. Life between her husband's passing and her move to New Jersey included many cruises and international travels, card playing, daily Masses, and time spent with old and new friends. Her grandchildren will remember how she didn't let bad weather, age, or a bad back keep her from boarding a plane to celebrate their various achievements and be present for holidays. Her daughters still marvel at how, no matter what time you got up, she was sitting at the kitchen table totally dressed and ready to go. And when something struck her funny- bone, her laugh was infectious. Geraldine was Irish through and through. She showed more joy on St. Patrick's Day than on any other holiday of the year. Knowing this, the Fellowship music staff graciously included When Irish Eyes are Smiling during singalongs throughout the year. Geraldine is survived by her loving daughters: Mary Catherine (Peg) McMahon and her husband Daniel of Dayton, MD; Gerrie Pretzel and her wife Vicki Haiduk of Richardson, TX; and Martha Olivier and her husband David of New York, NY. She was grandmother to Daniel J. McMahon, Timothy McMahon, Julianne McMahon Farmer, Christopher McMahon, Gregory McMahon, Christian Olivier, Erin Olivier Bacon, William Pretzel, and Carolyn Pretzel. Surviving also are 18 great-grandchildren and 7 great-great-grandchildren. In addition to her parents and husband, Geraldine was predeceased by her sisters Maureen Brannis Blasco of Fontana, CA, and Joan Brown of LaGrange, IL. Geraldine's family would like to thank the many wonderful people at Fellowship Senior Living who cared for her in all capacities during her 17 years of living there. Private arrangements are being handled for the family by Gallaway and Crane Funeral Home, Basking Ridge, NJ (908) 766-0250. There will be a celebration of Geraldine's life in LaGrange, IL at a later date. Those who wish to remember Geraldine in a special way may make gifts in her memory to the charity of your choice.
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