Franklin Countys First News

Audrey Dodge Gensel (1923-2020)

Audrey Dodge Gensel

FARMINGTON - My name is Audrey Dodge Gensel. I have three grown children - Carol, Johnny and Jimmy; though they don’t always act grown up. I also have 12 grandchildren and 18 great grandchildren.

My husband, John, died 22 years ago. I was born in Haddonfield, New Jersey, on August 7, 1923, to my parents Ethel and Arthur; and had four brothers and sisters. After graduating from high school, I met John and we were married within a year. He was a Lutheran pastor in Washington D.C. serving a church and I was in the choir. He liked the way I sang and I liked the way he preached and much more. During World War II, I was part of the WWII Workforce and John was a Navy chaplain overseas. Gosh, I was lonely for him.

Following the war, John and I moved to Mansfield, Ohio, where John served a church and our children were born. John served churches in Ohio and Puerto Rico and we settled in New York City in 1955. I finished my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in teaching and became a New York City elementary public school teacher for 32 years. In the morning, when getting ready for work, I often listened to Billie Holiday sing, “I’m a Fool to Want You,” “On the Sunny Side of the Street,” and other great hits. John served as a parish pastor and later as the Minister to the Jazz Community of New York City.

In 1990, we retired to our home in Muncy, Pennsylvania, where we enjoyed landscaping, planting perennials, going antiquing, playing “hearts,” being together and having visits by our children, grandchildren and friends. After John died in 1998, Carol came to live with me for several years. Jimmy and Diana, and Johnny and Mavis, would come with their children and visit. It was beautiful! Much laughter and good times.

My favorite color is purple. I enjoyed making bracelets for family and friends; hostas take my heart; and there is no better shopping than at Macy’s. My favorite dish to cook is picadillo, and I love eating Maine lobster. Also, I learned to enjoy a beer when out to eat with my children.

In 2014, my children, not me, decided I could not live alone anymore. At first, I took turns living in New York and Maine and finally settled in Maine. It was beautiful sharing my life with my children. In 2018 I moved to assisted living in Skowhegan and then to the Pierce House in Farmington. What a wonderful place to spend the rest of one’s life. The people there are beautiful and they took good care of me. They put up with my antics and I could tease them like I teased my children. My family and friends regularly visited me and occasionally we went out. My doctor was Dr. Stephen Goss and I always looked forward to my appointment with him.

Well, six weeks ago, I started to fail and entered hospice at the Pierce House with Androscoggin Home Care and Hospice. They were great and I was comfortable. In my final days, my children came to be with me. It was a precious time. We have so much love. I died peacefully on Tuesday morning, March 17, and I have entered that realm Jesus raved about while he was with us.

But, enough about me; what about you? At 96 years old, the two lessons I leave with you are: hug and love your family and friends as much as possible; and take the gifts God has given you, improve on them and share them.

I will always be praying for you. Love, Audrey.

Arrangements are under the care of Dan & Scott’s Cremation & Funeral Service; 488 Farmington Falls Rd, Farmington, ME 04938

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12 Responses »

  1. What a lovely obituary. I can tell by what was written that she was an amazing woman. To the entire Gensel family, so sorry for your loss :)

  2. Johnny and Mavis and kids,

    We are so sorry for your Mom's passing, but what a beautiful obituary ! I remember when you took John and Jason to NYC to help with one of your Dad's Jazz ministries. It sounds like they had a beautiful and precious life together. And her two life lessons are to be treasured forever.

    God Bless and keep you all.
    Carol and Lance

  3. That obituary, written in the first person, is SO unique. I had read one similar years ago, and set it aside because it left such an impression, as did Audrey's. What amazing life she lived. And to everyone she left behind, revel in the fact you were lucky to have such wonderful parents.
    Thoughts going out to you all.

  4. I did not know Mrs.Gensel, but I know several of her family members and my heart goes out to you all. I think this is the most touching obituary I’ve ever read- and I just had to comment. It brought tears to my eyes. What a blessing to live such a long life and leave this world peacefully. My condolences.

  5. To the Gensel Family - Your Mom obviously was a special lady and clearly enjoyed the better part of mankind. Her prayers of warm acceptance are much appreciated and I know she has passed that caring on to her children (grown but not always acting that way! ;0).

    What a wonderful imprint she has left with all of us.

  6. I can so see Audrey saying all this! She was so proud of her children she beamed when she spoke of them and her grandkids! She spoke of a life well lived with a big smile in her eyes!! She made me smile and it was a pleasure playing rummy with you after all you taught me! 😊Thank you Audrey

  7. John and Mavis and all the rest of the family, my deepest sympathy. She sounds like a very special last. God has another angel. God bless you.

  8. What an amazing obituary! Thank you Mavis, for giving me the chance to meet, and spend time with Audrey.
    She was a wonderful person ,I'll always remember that ear to ear smile! " Rest in Peace, Audrey".

  9. John and family...what a treat to read this. Glad I was able to share a moment with your mom. Smiling.

  10. Dear Johnny and Mavis - We're so, so sorry to hear of your mother's passing. I have never read an obituary that made me chuckle...she must have been quite the treasure.
    Jane & Rick

  11. Hey my man, sorry to hear about your mom . She was exactly 2 days older than mine. Sounds like she gave you quite the sense of humor you possess

  12. What a wonderful tribute to your mother! Our sincere condolences to you, Johnny, Mavis, and Family. Your mother was a rare treasure!