Mary Ann Genetti, 61, of Belleville, formerly of Oak Park, died on Aug. 9, 2011 surrounded by her family. Born on March 31, 1950 in Little Rock, Ark., she graduated from Althoff Catholic High School in 1968, the first female student at Althoff to become class president. She attended the University of Kansas and during the summer months worked as a social worker in East St. Louis, Ill. She also toured the United States one summer with the USO.

After graduating, she moved to New York City to pursue a career as an actress. While in New York, she also taught at several city high schools. She sought to advance her students academically and emotionally as many of them experienced a life of unfavorable circumstances. While visiting home during the holidays, she always organized family plays with the younger children to present to the adults.

Ms. Genetti later moved to Oak Park, which became a very special place in her life as she developed many close friendships. She taught English as a Second Language at Triton College to newly arrived people from other countries, again demonstrating excellence in teaching, often instructing 25 students from 20 different countries at once. While at Triton, she was recognized as Outstanding Teacher of the Year.

After being afflicted with a debilitating illness, it was necessary for her to move back to the Belleville area. While her physical capabilities decreased, she maintained a strong, positive attitude about life. Her mind was sharp, and she always remembered dates, events, birthdays, movies, and authors. She never complained when it seemed she often had reason to complain, and she made the most of what she had in life. A generous and caring person, she was an inspiration to family and friends who knew her throughout her life.

Mary Ann Genetti is survived by her daughter, Olivia Genetti Donovan; her father, Jack J. Genetti; her siblings, John (Karin) Genetti, Theresa (Don) Walterbach, Catherine Genetti, and Joan (Nick) Gehrs; her nieces and nephews, Michael (Renee), Elizabeth, Christina, Melissa, Joseph, Philip, Mary Margaret, Andrew, Clare, and Kate; and one great-nephew, Luke. She was preceded in death by her mother, LaVerne M. (nee Gonder) Genetti.

The Genetti family would like to especially thank the staff at Cedar Ridge Healthcare Center in Lebanon, who provided outstanding care and friendship to Mary Ann. They also thank the Heartland Hospice team who helped ease the burden of her final days.

Memorials may be made to Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Grade School in Belleville, the Catholic Urban Program, or the Poor Clare Monastery. Condolences may be expressed to the family online at

Visitation was held on Aug. 13 at Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Belleville, followed by a memorial Mass with Rev. Jack McEvilly and Rev. Donald Blaes concelebrating.

According to her wishes, her body was donated to the St. Louis University School of Medicine.

Arrangements were handled by George Renner & Sons Funeral Home, Belleville.

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