Obituary of Charles Genovese (1920 – 2021) – Burlington, WA

Burlington – Charles E Genovese, 101, of Skagit County since 1956, passed away peacefully on October 23, 2021 in Burlington, Washington. Charles was born on May 12, 1920 in Chicago, Illinois. Son of Charles E Genovese and Anna Rodighier Genovese. Chuck was three months premature and weighed just over three pounds and they didn’t give him much of a chance to live. Mr. Genovese was very adamant that they were doing whatever they could to save him and luckily he was successful. Chuck was joined by a brother Stuart 18 months later. He was raised and attended high school and junior college in Chicago, Illinois. Growing up in Chicago, Chuck was very active playing baseball with the American Legion in high school and was a member of the Wilson Jr. College baseball team which won the championship two years in a row. He played minor league baseball in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Chuck began working in 1940 as an apprentice for Carnegie US Steel in Chicago, Illinois. In May 1942 he married Betty Hanson. and rented a small apartment in Chicago. At that time, her daughter Diane was staying in Washburn, Wisconsin with Betty’s mother. On December 7, 1941, when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, Betty and Chuck were returning to pick up their daughter, Diane, in Washburn, Wisconsin. Soon after, Chuck entered the draft. He could see his name would come soon. Chuck decided he preferred to enlist in the Navy rather than go to the Army. In November 1942, he enlisted in the Navy in Chicago. Around this time, Betty and her daughter Diane went to northern Wisconsin to stay with her mother in the town where Betty grew up. When he enlisted, his first stop was a training camp at the Great Lakes Naval Training Station for about six weeks. He was then selected to attend the Navy Primary Fire Control Center at the Great Lakes Training Center for approximately four weeks. In the end, the top three in the class were selected to attend the Advance Fire Control School at the Destroyer Base in San Diego, California. He was going to be there for three months, so Betty and her daughter Diane left Wisconsin and took the long train ride west and found a place to stay. In the end, he rose to the rank of Petty Officer 3rd Class and reported for service aboard the USS. McCord, a Fletcher-class destroyer at the Mare Island shipyard. He was a new destroyer and he was one of the owners of “boards”. Term used when you are on board the vessel when it is put into service. Chuck took part in the shakedown cruise and further training in San Diego, California. Returned to San Francisco and received orders for Hawaii and from there to the Pacific theater of operations. He served 21 months of continuous service at sea and engaged in all naval actions in the Pacific. From participating in the landing of Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands and participating in all landings in the Pacific until the destruction of the Japanese Empire and their surrender. The McCord was the flagship of the destroyer squadron. 47. While at sea, Chuck was promoted to the rank of Petty Officer 1st Class and Fire Controller. The ship has traveled over 275,000 miles across the vast Pacific. We experienced two typhoons with winds up to 150 knots. The Navy lost four destroyers in Halsey’s task force. In July 1945, we returned to the Navy Yard in Bremerton, Washington for a ship overhaul and to prepare for the invasion of Japan in September. With the surrender of Japan in August, he was demobilized in October 1945 in San Pedro, California. Chuck Hitch hiked to Bellingham, Washington, where his wife lived. It was difficult to find a job in Bellingham to keep up with his pre-war electrical experience at US Steel in Chicago. He got a job at a small shipyard in Bellingham where they were converting a troop transport into a refrigerated fish processing vessel that would be in the central Pacific. His job was to use a pneumatic wire brush to remove old paint and rust from the bulkheads. It was a very tiring job after not getting used to physical labor in the Navy. As the job wrapped up, Chuck began looking for another job in Bellingham, Washington. He eventually approached the owner of an automotive electrical store who was rewinding generator frames on cars and rewinding small fractional horsepower electric motors used for a variety of refrigerators, pumps, washing machines, etc. The manufacturer did not make any replacement engines during the war and we were very busy repairing this type of equipment. The store owner took advantage of the GI bill that he would pay for half of his salary and the government would pay the other half. At the time, he was making $ 1.00 / hr. It was difficult to go sledding with a wife and two young daughters. While working there, Chuck met Carl Jepsen who was fired. Due to the decline in business as new manufactured engines and armatures became available in the market. Chuck’s good friend Carl Jepsen went to work for Puget Sound Power and Light. Chuck realized that there was no future in the small repair shop and he informed him that there was a chance that Puget Power was going to hire helpers for the sub team. -station in Bellingham, Washington. Chuck was hired by Puget Power & Light on September 22, 1949, as Wireman’s assistant and in 1952 was promoted Journeyman. In 1956, he obtained the post of Wireman Foreman in Burlington, Washington. His job was to build and maintain all of the substations in Skagit and Island counties. In 1979, Chuck and Betty divorced. They had been married for 39 years. On September 19, 1980, Chuck and Marilyn Ann Jensen got married. In 1982, they bought a condo on the Skagit Golf and Country Club. Chuck loved golf and appreciated his membership. In 1985, Chuck retired from Puget Sound Power and Light after more than 35 years. Marilyn has also retired so that they can spend time together. Chuck was an avid golfer and a member of the Skagit Golf & Country Club. He had pulled his age every year since his 75th birthday. As a member of the Skagit Golf and Country Club, he served on the board of directors as secretary of the board of the men’s club. Chuck was the first president of the Aldercrest Condominium Association for five years. He then held the position of treasurer for twenty years. Chuck was very interested in digital photography and played golf with many friends at the Skagit Golf and Country Club. He was also fond of woodworking, furniture making and later in his life he started making glass bead necklaces and donating them all. They kiss some 300 necks. He enjoyed working and helping others with their computer problems. I played both bridge and duplicate and enjoyed the fascinating challenge of the game. He enjoyed working with his computer and his many online friends. Chuck and Marilyn were from the golf group they named WPA (we rode) and enjoyed the company of the group. They were members of the group for 17 years. Chuck and Marilyn had a wonderful life together, they both loved the sport and at one point had tickets to the Huskies, Seahawks and attended many Mariners games. They owned a timeshare that allowed them to visit some 25 sites and they have gone to at least 15 of them over the years. Their favorite was Palm Springs, California. They loved the city and all the places to visit in the area. Marilyn and Chuck golfed at the club and she gave a hole in one, something Chuck never accomplished after a lifetime of playing. He has never experienced this one, Marilyn would ask: “Have you ever had a ‘hole in a’? Chuck is survived by his wonderful daughters Charlene Smith, his son-in-law Karl Smith of Salem, Oregon and his daughter Diane Thomas of Newark, Delaware. Son-in-law Arthur and daughter-in-law, Vickie Jensen. Son-in-law, Randy and daughter-in-law Cathy Jensen. Granddaughters, Lisa Smith and Laura Smith. Granddaughter, Kristie Hainer and grandson Greg Hainer Step-granddaughter Angela Kelly, Step-grandsons Jason Jensen, Christopher Jensen He was predeceased by his wife Marilyn Ann Genovese, his parents, his brother Stuart Genovese and his son Gregory John Genovese. None Charles will be buried at Hawthorne Memorial Park in Mount Vernon, WA. Please visit to share your thoughts and memories and sign the register online. Arrangements are the responsibility of Hawthorne Funeral Home, Mount Vernon, WA.

Published by Skagit Valley Herald from October 31 to November 1, 2021.

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