Eugenia Anne Allec O'hanlon
May 15, 1924 - June 20, 2021
Good morning, Genie's family appreciates all of you being with us today. We specifically want to thank her caretakers who were with her during the latter years of her life in her home and at Beechwood Cottage.
Witty, intelligent, competitive, humble, confident, generous and at times a bit stubborn, Eugenia "Genie" O'Hanlon was a true original when it came to living her life. That being said, it is only fitting that we should begin with Genie's own words which were found in her home last week.
"My mother, Cecilia Bellec, and my father, Eugene Allec, were married at St. Mary's Church, Fullerton, Ca. on June 21, 1921. There were eight children in our family and we were all baptized, made our First Communion and were confirmed at St. Mary's.
Tom and I were married at St. Mary's on January 24, 1945. We were both baptized, made our First Communions and Confirmations at St. Mary's. We also graduated from St. Mary's School at the same time. Tom attended St. Mary's all eight grades, but my family only started there when I was in the 6th grade. Transportation from Placentia to Fullerton was a big problem in those days.
Five of our seven children attended St. Mary's School. Four attended all eight grades, but when St. Joseph's School opened, the fifth transferred to their third grade, and the two younger ones also went there.
My youngest brother was in the 8th grade at St. Mary's when our oldest child was in 1st Grade. I think we once figured out, that either an O'Hanlon or an Allec was in attendance at St. Mary's every year until our daughter, Laura, graduated from there in 1963.
St. Joseph's parish was a mission church of St. Mary's until the church celebrated its first mass in 1953."
St. Joseph's parish and school would play a huge role for Genie and Tom and their family all throughout their lives.
Genie took pride in being a native Orange County resident. She never moved more than 6 miles from her birthplace in Anaheim, Ca. She lived most of her life before she was married in a home her father built on Crowther Avenue. She attended Bradford Elementary and St. Mary's in Fullerton. She went to Valencia and Marywood High School. Although she kept her living radius very local, she made up for it by having an adventurous spirit in learning and trying out new talents.
At 18, she attended Fullerton Junior College, but paused her studies to embark on a new adventure. The story goes that Genie was asked to give a ride to her friend who was applying for a job at the Santa Ana Airbase, (which is now the site of the Orange County Fairgrounds). It was WWII and Genie decided to also apply for the same job. Well, Genie got the job...her friend did not!
In searching through papers this past week, some family members found an official picture of her work badge and a review from the Major MC who was her boss. He stated, "Miss Allec performs her multiple duties in a superior manner. She is quick, intelligent and keenly interested in doing her job well. She is fully capable of supervising the duties of any of the other civilian employees... she is thoroughly dependable and efficient person." These qualities carried over throughout Genie's life. She did typing, filing, and other administrative work, which included observing the training of aviation cadets and flying personnel in the altitude chambers.
In 2020, when Genie was 96, she was interviewed by the director of the Veteran's Museum located on the fairgrounds site and the oral history of her time working at the airbase is now there for posterity.
After Genie and Tom married, they eventually moved to a house on Main Street in Placentia which Genie's father had built and raised his 7 children.
In 1956, Genie and Tom bought an acre of land on Madison Avenue in Placentia for $3,000. A steal of a deal in our modern times. It was there they built the home she lived in until her 90's. She helped Tom and other family members with the construction and labor. The house took (a quick) 12 years of blood, sweat and tears to build, but when it was finished, it was all paid for...no debt. Very few people can say that today!
Genie was an excellent seamstress and taught ALL her children to sew, including the boys. She made all her children's clothes, including their Catholic school uniforms. She made matching outfits for all her children for Easter and Christmas, and their special dresses and shirts and pants for their Frist Communion and Confirmation. She even made one of her daughter's wedding dress and veil. She spent hours meticulously sewing yards and yards of intricate lace and pearls (not real of course), to help make her daughter's day special.
Genie fancied herself a hairstylist, as well, cutting all the children's hair and giving the girls, what they have described to be" those horrible, stinky Toni perms." The perms were responsible for many unforgettable photos of Genie's daughters.
She made hundreds of Christmas ornaments, delicately and patiently sewing each sequin into place. She crocheted, did needlepoint, embroidered and knitted blankets for the birth of every grandchild. Psalm 139, "you knit me in my mother's womb..." took on new meaning watching Genie tirelessly knit and purl the yarn into a beautiful piece of art. She continued this talent in her later years, knitting hundreds of blankets and hats to give to the babies at the St. Vincent de Paul Center and birth center. Simply put, if Genie was sitting, she was knitting.
Many of Genie's family members, which includes her 2 brothers, 7 children, 18 grandchildren and 20 great grandchildren, as well as extended family, have recalled Genie's love of camping at San Clemente, Sequoia, Yosemite and across the U.S.A. Over the years, she slowly upgraded her camping experience going from a tent, to a tent trailer and finally to a modest RV. Her ability to drive any vehicle with ease, was observed when she would drive her Suburban with the trailer attached. She would effortlessly navigate traffic without batting an eyelash.
Genie loved Hometown Buffet and Marie Callender's, dining with family and friends and even strangers soon to be friends. She loved attending the St. Joe's Senior Forum and Lenten fish fry, though she usually talked more than she ate.
She adored being outside with her clippers and hoe trimming her many roses, geraniums, orange trees, tending to her vegetable garden and watching the birds at her bird feeder. One climbing rose in her yard, called Cecile Brunner was from her family home on Crowther Avenue and still blooms today in her yard.
Many have recalled the countless holidays spent at Genie and Tom's home over the years. ALL relatives who happened to be in town, no matter how many, were invited. Somehow there was always enough food for all.
Some of the grandchildren and cousins have told of their love of playing in her big backyard. There were ducks, goats, chickens, rabbits, and a turtle to feed...the smell that came from these animals was also noted by the grandchildren.
Those same grandchildren and great grandchildren have also recalled her competitive nature. If you sat down to play a game of Take 5 with her, be prepared to lose over and over again. The glee in her eyes when she had beaten you or knew she was about to beat you, was at times a bit unsettling. Yet, she was always polite when you would somehow outsmart her at her own game.
She made personal holiday cards for each child, grandchild and great grandchild on her computer with a $5 bill tucked inside each one. She personalized all of the cards with a special message inside, as well as on the back that said, "Made especially for insert name by Mom, Genie or Grandma. She was tech savvy using email and AOL instant messenger to chat with her brothers, sisters, children and grandchildren across the country and abroad. Genie used her computer skills all the way into her 90's.
Genie enjoyed going to Disneyland. When Genie and Tom both retired, she and Tom had season passes and would go for a few hours to try out the new "attractions" or just stroll down Main Street.
Genie substituted at the Placentia post office and on Tom's vacation would deliver the mail on his rural mail route in Carbon Canyon. She would take one of the children with her and at lunch treated them to a candy bar and Coke.
One of Genie's brothers recalled her generous spirit, when she bought him a Craftsman socket set to fix his bike when he was 13 years old.
This same generosity could be observed when she would feed the men traveling the nearby railroad who came to her door for food. It was just the right thing to do.
She taught all her children to be thrifty, punctual and grateful. Genie's gratitude was always evident when after a visit with her, she would always smile and give a little wave and say, "Thank you for coming." You knew she truly was happy to have been able to visit with you for a while.
The memories are innumerable and yet one of the most recent ones that will remain etched in our hearts, was when we were all lucky enough to celebrate Genie's 97th birthday on May 15th this year. Genie's 2 brothers, 7 children and several grandchildren and great grandchildren were in attendance. It was the first time since her 90th birthday that some had traveled long distances to celebrate with her. Genie's health had been compromised a few months earlier, and we were all surprised when she recovered briefly to take in the glory of reaching another year of life.
Genie lived a simple, frugal life. She never put herself first. Like the woman in Proverbs 31, Genie's time and hands were used constantly to serve others.
In Genie's eyes, the most important things were her Catholic faith and family. She never missed mass on Sundays, wherever she was. She was virtual before virtual was a thing, watching daily mass on TV, saying the Divine Mercy chaplet and praying the Rosary.
Many of Genie's children's memories are of her with her rosary, clutching it even to the last hour of her life. It was her constant companion, her source of comfort and if she fell asleep while praying at night, she would say, "The angels would finish it for her." So today please join Genie and the angels in praying:
Hail Mary, full of grace,
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou amongst women
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Tom, and survived by her seven children, who had 18 grandchildren and 20 great grandchildren, who will miss her!
There are no events scheduled.