Genevieve Carmela McCord
March 6, 1936-June 22, 2021
In Waterbury, Connecticut, on March 6th, 1936 this world was blessed with the birth of Genevieve Carmela Sbordone, daughter of Carmela and Paul Sbordone, both of Italian decent. She was born a Roman Catholic and received her first Holy Communion on September 30th, 1946. She would remain a devout Catholic for the rest of her life. Just a few years after World War II, Genevieve and her mother, Carmela, visited their relatives in Italy. The suffering and destruction wrought by the war on the Italian people left a deep impression on Genevieve as a young girl. This experience drove her to develop a deep sense of empathy for the suffering of others, a trait that would dominate her life and bless everyone who knew her.
When Genevieve and her family moved to Orlando, Florida, they soon opened an Italian restaurant on West Central Avenue in the late 1940s. During her early teenage years, she learned the art of authentic Italian cooking from her mother and the skills of doing business from her father. Over the years, her father acquired land, including rental property. Genevieve learned the knowledge and skills of property upkeep and maintenance. She also developed the abilities to cope and deal with many different kinds of people since her father would require her to obtain late rental fees and even deliver eviction notices. However, Genevieve’s empathy for people in need drove her to convince her father to work with them until they could get back on their feet. Through such humanitarian experiences, Genevieve became an excellent problem solver, developing a high degree of common sense, which she applied compassionately in a variety of situations throughout her life. She adopted the philosophy that helping people was far more important than making money.
As Genevieve entered her high school years, her father increased her work load in the restaurant and rental properties to a point that would not be allowed today. As a consequence, she was unable to pursue her interests such as music, dance, and art. She was often too tired to enjoy her classes and study. Despite these obstacles, she graduated from Edgewater High School in 1955, making both her parents very proud.
On November 14th, 1953, she met her future husband, Randolph John McCord, who had recently enlisted in the Air Force. They were married on May 23, 1955 just after Genevieve graduated high school and they had their first child, Scott, on September 15, 1956. Soon after, Randy received orders to be transferred to an Air Force base in Anchorage, Alaska. For three years, Genevieve divided her time between raising her son, and working part-time on the base in civil service in order to make ends meet. After the Alaskan tour of duty, the family was transferred to Alabama for a year, where Genevieve continued to dedicate her time to her family. Randy then received new orders to go overseas to Thailand because of the Vietnam War. Genevieve moved back to Orlando with her son to live with her mother, who had since divorced. Genevieve still maintained a strong relationship with her father who lived only a few miles from her mother. During this time, she took a part time job to help support her mother. When Randy returned from Thailand, the family moved to Tyndall Air Force Base, near Panama City, Florida. There, their second and final child, Maryann, was born on March 4, 1965. The following year, Randy was ordered again to Thailand. Genevieve and her two children moved back to Orlando to be with her mother, father and one of her brothers, Mario Sbordone.
When Randy returned, the family was ordered to Plattsburg Air Force Base in New York for one year. Although Genevieve enjoyed visiting Canada, she never really liked the cold weather and missed her parents and extended family. In 1967, Randy was again sent to Thailand and consequently, Genevieve and her children moved back to Orlando, to live with her mother and her brother’s son Steven. Mario’s job required extensive travel so Genevieve offered to take care and help raise her ten year-old nephew, Steven.
This period of time seemed to be one of the happiest in her life. She became the center of her immediate and extended family as she led them on many trips, tours and activities throughout Florida traveling to many cities such as Tarpon Springs, Miami, Jacksonville, Tampa, Tallahassee, and of course, the resorts and beaches of Florida. We fished, swam, played sports, visited the sites of Florida, danced, and played in the sun. Genevieve’s unique and keen sense of humor enhanced the joy and fun of our family activities. She loved to be teased and be part of a practical joke and the family loved to tease her but always with deep respect. She often used this talent to ease the pain and stress of our life’s trials and tribulations, making our journey through this existence more positive. We lived life to the fullest and basked in the love that flowed from Genevieve. When Randy came back from Thailand, the family was transferred to Homestead Air Force Base near Miami, where we continued to enjoy and celebrate life. Genevieve took in her mother and nephew, which she continued to raise.
Then, in 1971 the military sent us to Ben Eielson AFB, near Fairbanks, Alaska. This tour of duty would last for three years. Genevieve dreaded the extreme cold and darkness but being committed and loyal to her husband, summoned the courage and fortitude to endure the winters and isolation from her extended family. Genevieve stayed active, immersing herself in taking care of her family and getting involved in her children’s school activities. She found some time to pursue and develop her skills in art such as painting, crochet, and pottery. Genevieve also loved to read, consuming many books and kept up with her favorite journals such as National Geographic and Time magazine. She enjoyed cook books of all types, books about travel, archeology, zoology, and books on maintaining and improving health. During the summers, she led us to enjoy the Alaskan outdoors in activities such as fishing and traveling. The positive attitude she maintained during such challenging circumstances was indomitable and remained so for her entire life.
Her husband’s final year-long tour of duty was at Malmstrom AFB in Great Falls, Montana. Genevieve again took in her nephew, Steven. She planted a garden, continued to raise her family, visited Glacier National Park with her family, and worked part time as a teacher’s assistant at a nearby elementary school. The children loved her and she was sought out for her valuable guidance and support by not only the students but also the young teachers that she cared for. After Montana, Randy retired from the military and the entire family moved back to Orlando, this time to stay.
It was 1975, and Genevieve was so happy and excited to come back home again and be with both her immediate and extended families. That Christmas was one of the very best we ever had as a family. Randy found a job with the nearby Navy base and within a few years Genevieve and Randy bought their first house. Genevieve was very energetic and active during this period of her life. She enthusiastically took care of the new house, using the skills and knowledge she learned from her parents when she was a young girl. She organized and hosted many get-togethers with family and friends. She dedicated all of her time to support and be involved in each family member’s life, whether it was education, work, domestic, financial, health, or personal affairs. She was, in no uncertain terms, the matriarch of the family. She even took care of her mother-in-law, who had recently moved Orlando from New Mexico to be close to her son.
Then, on September 11, 1982, disaster struck Genevieve and the family when her mother, Carmela, passed away unexpectedly from a stroke. Genevieve was devastated by this loss, which caused her energetic lust for life to diminish. She would mourn and miss her mother for the rest of her life. Even so, she continued to immerse herself in the affairs of her family and experienced the joy of participating in her children’s lives. She traveled with them on their business trips, concerts, fishing trips, attended their school events and graduation ceremonies, weddings, sports events, shopping, vacations, movies, church, and participated in everything they enjoyed. She was there at the dentist and doctor appointments and supported and helped them throughout their adult lives. For example, when her son, Scott, fell ill and was hospitalized in Bloomington, Indiana, Genevieve flew up immediately to take care of him. She was the keystone for her children, making them feel safe and secure.
During the 1980s and early 1990s, Genevieve started a mobile home business with her brother, Mario and her father, Paul. She was filled with purpose and drive, and enjoyed applying her problem solving skills and property knowledge to the business. But most of all, she felt gratified helping disadvantaged people obtain a home. Genevieve was addressing the issues she witnessed in post-war Italy when she was a girl. She was, in effect, alleviating suffering.
Ever mindful of her mother, Genevieve yearned to see her Italian relatives again. In the first part of 1991, she organized a trip to Italy and other parts of Europe. She would bring her bothers, Mario and Nunzio, her father, Paul, and her husband, Randy. The tour would last for six-weeks and was a gift from her to her family. Genevieve would organize additional trips during this part of her life to various states such as California, Nevada, New York, Indiana, and Arizona. She loved to travel, learn and share new experiences, but always in the company of her family.
On August 30, 1991, her daughter, Maryann gave birth to her granddaughter, Rosemary. Genevieve was overjoyed with welcoming a new member of the family. She immediately bonded with her granddaughter and assisted in caring for and raising Rosemary.
Genevieve’s father, Paul was now in his 90s and needed care. With her brothers now living out of the state, she took it upon herself to take care of her father. This was a strain on her as she watched him decline both physically and mentally. She applied for and was granted full guardianship for her father, taking care of him, his house, his bills and all his legal business until on February 28, 2001, just one month shy of his 100th birthday, her father, Paul Sbordone passed away. Just like her mother, Genevieve would greatly miss her father for the rest of her life.
In 2000, Genevieve moved out of her house and into an apartment for three years due to increasing stress and strife with her husband, which was adversely affecting her health. In 2003, Randy found and bought his wife her own house in Maitland, just a few miles from her first home.
Genevieve was so happy and content with her very own home. Soon after, her daughter bought her a puppy Chihuahua, Misty, to complete Genevieve’s joy. Since 1967, the family had two previous Chihuahuas, Prancy and Taffy, who were greatly loved by Genevieve, not as pets but as family. Genevieve loved all animals and felt that they should never be held captive and correctly predicted that circus animals would one day be banned. Genevieve spent many good years in her home and continued to live a full life and be active, just as she did in her younger years. However, health issues that plague her for much of her life were catching up with her.
In the 1980s, just after the loss of her mother, Genevieve was diagnosed with a lung tumor. She had an operation that removed one third of her right lung, which was then followed up with radiation therapy. In successive years, she was diagnosed with cancer of the lymph node and then breast cancer, all of which she beat with surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. However, the radiation treatments took a toll on her long term health. In 2012, her cardiologist told her she needed to have a malfunctioning heart valve replaced, which required a special type of experimental surgery performed only in Miami at the time. Even though the operation was successful, she needed a pacemaker and was left in a weakened state. Then, within just a couple of years after the surgery, she was diagnosed with progressive congestive heart failure and COPD. The support and love of her family kept her going, but more tragedies were to come.
On September 15, 2016, Genevieve’s best little friend and companion, Misty, passed away from the exact same heart malady that she had. Her passing left Genevieve devastated and hurt. She never recovered from this loss. Then, just a little over a year later on January 30, 2018, her husband, Randy, passed away in the hospital while recovering from hip surgery.
With bravery, courage, faith, and the full support of her family, Genevieve fought for her own health for the benefit of those who loved her. Despite her positive outlook on life, her suffering increased until on June 22, 2021, God, in His infinite wisdom, granted His daughter Genevieve eternal peace and brought her into His Grace.
This, however, is not the end of Genevieve’s story. Because she dedicated her entire life to giving to others and because her life’s pathway crossed so many souls on this earth, Genevieve’s love, compassion, and wisdom has survived her. The best of what she was and what she practiced has spread from soul to soul through those who were blessed with knowing her. In this way, Genevieve will continue to alleviate pain and suffering and help those in need by the inspiration and power of her life.
Genevieve herself suffered much in this life, but remained positive, faithful, and kind to all. She never lost faith in God and was always grateful for what was a full life and for what she did have that brought her joy.
Genevieve projected a potent light of love and energy that people and even animals could sense. They were all drawn to her. There were many instances when people that didn’t even know her in stores, restaurants, and other social gatherings would come up to her and ask for a hug.
This love that was Genevieve, a true gift from God, would radiate throughout our society, helping to make this world a better place for us all.
If you would like to honor and celebrate Genevieve Carmela McCord’s life and legacy, please consider donating to her favorite charities such as St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, Boys Town, Veterans Charities and your local animal shelter.