Last Saturday morning, the Mount Vernon/Alexandria area lost a "special person, special friend, and special Mount Vernon citizen." That was how Mount Vernon District Supervisor Gerald Hyland reacted to the death of Louis Vincent Genuario, Sr.
"He gave back to his community. He left his prints all over Northern Virginia. And, his voice was always heard in a very respectful, collaborative way. He was a true gentleman and I will miss him very much," Hyland said.
Genuario died in Inova Mount Vernon Hospital from complications of a hemorrhage incurred three and half weeks previously. The day before entering the hospital, Genuario had successfully located property for the Arch Diocese of Arlington to construct a new rectory, according to his son, Louis Genuario, Jr.
As the head of Genuario Companies, Inc., he had presided at the groundbreaking on December 9, of the organization's new headquarters office building, 8400 Radford Avenue. At that ceremony, which was attended by officials representing both local and state government as well as area business leaders, Genuario stated, "This project was actually conceived in 1989... However, the timing to make it happen is now right."
Lee District Supervisor Dana Kauffman praised Genuario at the time for "taking a family business and making it work" in the community. This sentiment was echoed by State Delegate Kristen J. Amundson (D-44) who pointed out, "The Genuarios are part of the Mount Vernon family. They live here, they go to church here, their children go to our schools, and they are business people here."
Genuario was involved in the revitalization efforts of the Route 1 corridor. Hyland noted at early December ceremony, "You [Genuario] have really helped us transform Richmond Highway. We are so happy you have held in."
Born in Norwalk, Conn., on January 1, 1926, the son of Arthur and Gemma Genuario, he was a graduate of Norwalk High School and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where he received his degree in 1950. Last October, his high school added his name to their Wall of Honor for his achievements over the years, his son reported.
Following high school, where he lettered in soccer, baseball and basketball, Genuario joined the U.S. Army Air Corp and spent two years in the China-Burma-India Theater during World War II. Upon graduation from West Point, he was sent to Korea.
There he earned a Silver Star while in action. He was seriously wounded during the defense of Pusan and the breakout across the Naktong River. After a two year hospital recovery period Genuario transferred to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
AFTER SERVING in the U.S., Germany, and France with the Corps of Engineers and studying at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he earned his Master's Degree in Civil Engineering at Harvard University. He retired from military service in 1966, with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
As an engineer with the District of Columbia, Department of Highways, from 1966 to 1970, Genuario was involved with a host of projects. He oversaw the construction of the Mall tunnel and the reflecting pool at the Capitol.
Genuario Companies came into being in 1970, when he founded his first home building/development enterprise. They now include Genuario Construction Company, Inc., Wakefield Homes LC, and Genuario Properties, Inc. They specialize in everything from upscale housing to historic renovation/preservation.
As a charter member of Good Shepherd Catholic Church, Genuario served on the parish council for more than a decade. He also taught religious education.
His long list of civic involvements included serving as an officer of the Williamsburg Manor North Civic Association; president, Hollin Meadows PTA; Fairfax County Affordable Dwelling Unit Advisory Board; Fairfax County Disability Advisory Board; City of Alexandria Committee on Affordable Housing; and the Board of the Southeast Fairfax Development Corporation.
In addition to serving as Vice President for Good Shepherd Housing and Family Services, Genuario was on the board of Route 1 Corridor Housing. He was instrumental in establishing the first shelter for the homeless in Fairfax County.
Genuario was a past president of both the Mount Vernon Country Club and Alexandria Building Association. He served on the board of the Army Retirement Residence Foundation and as a consultant to Time Life books for a decade. He was the Class Historian for his 1950 graduating class at West Point.
IN 1998, Genuario was named Builder of The Year by the Northern Virginia Building Industry Association. He had served as a vice president for NVBIA and was a Life Director.
Genuario is survived by his wife, Rose G. Genuario; his children, Donna Hart (Donn), Christina Aiello, Marina Nagler, Arthur Genuario (Susan), Debra Whitt (Spencer), Louis V. Genuario, Jr. (Laura); his mother, Gemma Genuario, and sister Maria Sikes, both of Westport, Ct; 14 grandchildren and six great grandchildren. He was predeceased by his father Arthur and brother Vincent.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at Good Shepherd Catholic Church, 8710 Mount Vernon Highway, Alexandria, Friday, Jan. 16, at noon. Interment will be in Arlington National Cemetery with Full Military Honors on Feb. 5 at 3 p.m.
Memorial contributions may be made to Good Shepherd Housing and Family Services, Inc., P.O. Box 15096, Alexandria, VA, 22309.