Janice Y. GengenbachNovember 16, 1939 ~ March 8, 2020 (age 80)
Heaven Just Got Another Caregiver
Janice Yvonne Gengenbach, age 80, of Woodbury, CT, passed away March 8, 2020, at Bethel Health Care, in Bethel, Connecticut, following a long illness believed to be Dementia with Lewy bodies. Janice was born on the Fort Sill Army Base, north of Lawton, OK, to Gardener “Mac” Sterling McAlister and Johnie Hennessee McAlister on November 16, 1939. She leaves behind her four children and their families: Kurt Gengenbach and his wife Pamela of Woodbury, CT; Kathy Gengenbach of Altoona, PA; Kris Sinise and her husband David of Stratford, CT; and Karl Gengenbach and his wife Julia of Jacksonville, FL. Her eleven grandchildren were her world. In order of birth they are: Melissa Hibbard, Kaitlyn Hibbard, David Gengenbach, Christopher Sinise, James David “JD” Gengenbach, Shane Sinise, Kara Sinise, Fiona Gengenbach, Viktoriya Gengenbach, Nikolai Gengenbach, and Mikaela Gengenbach. She also leaves behind her nieces and nephew: Gladys Sunderlin, Gretchen Moisen, and Charles Hellwig.
Janice is preceded in death by her husband George David Gengenbach (Dave). Janice was introduced to Dave who was serving in the U.S. Army at Fort Sill. Dave, who always went after what he wanted, knew he had to act fast and proposed to Janice in a supermarket before his term in the Army was over and before he returned home to California. One only must look at her engagement picture to understand why he fell in love. She was 19 and he had to promise that she would be able to finish her associate degree when they moved to California. She finished her degree and became a mother at just 21 years of age. Three more children arrived, and Janice became a full-time mother and homemaker. She was an exceptional, loving mother, seamstress, and kept a spotless home. When Dave suffered through his first of what would be many heart surgeries beginning at the young age of 46, Janice began her role as a patient caregiver and advocate until Dave’s death in 2000.
She is also predeceased by her sister Allie Hellwig, who sadly passed away in December 2019. Allie was the recipient of two liver transplants, and when the transplant call came, Janice drove her car with her two dogs in tow, from Connecticut to Colorado. She spent nearly a year in Colorado to serve as her sister’s caregiver and patient advocate.
Janice loved spending time in the mountains of California and Colorado and was an avid gardener. Although she suffered from dementia, she never lost her sense of humor, her intelligence, and never forgot her family members and friends. Small traces of her selfish side were only evident when she was eating popcorn and cheesecake.
There will be a private burial on Wednesday, March 11, 2020, at 2:00 PM at West Cemetery, Bristol, CT. Donations in her name may be made to: The Lewy Body Dementia Association –at https://www.lbda.org/donate and please sign up to be an organ donor, you can register at https://www.organdonor.gov/register.html.