Stephanie Genova of Massapequa Park, the director of the Massapequa Preschool since its inception seven years ago in Marjorie R. Post Community Park, died Monday night. She was 52.
Genova died at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital of uterine cancer.
"We ran a preschool in the Syosset area for many years and it was always our vision in Oyster Bay to expand our preschool program to other parts of the town," said Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto. "Stephanie developed a curriculum and really made Massapequa Preschool so much more than just a nursery school and a baby-sitting operation."
When Genova wasn't developing the curriculum at the preschool, she was a devout volunteer for the National Football Foundation. She spent 21 years helping her husband, Leonard, raise millions of scholarship dollars for the top football athletes on Long Island.
"Stephanie was a staple in the National Football Foundation," said Peter Blieberg, the director of athletics in the Sachem school district. "When you couldn't reach Lenny, you could always count on Stephanie."
Leonard Genova, deputy town supervisor and town attorney in Oyster Bay, said it was love at first sight when his sister set him up with her sorority sister at New York University on Halloween in 1981.
"I chased after her and it took me about four years to win her over, but I was relentless," he recalled. "I thought she was beautiful, I thought she was smart, and I knew she would be a wonderful mother to our children."
Stephanie Genova graduated from NYU in 1984. The couple married in 1988 and they raised two sons, Jerome and Steven, in Massapequa Park.
"She loved Christmas ornaments," Leonard Genova said. "In fact, she collected so many from all over the world that we had to put up two Christmas trees. And we'd say we were putting up the tree together -- but most of the time it was me watching her do it."
Venditto said Stephanie Genova's work for Commissioner Maureen Fitzgerald in the department of community and youth services leaves its own legacy.
"Every child under her direction took a little piece of her with them," Venditto said. "She was one of the brightest people I've ever met."
Besides her husband and sons, she is survived by a brother, Gary Cecere of New Jersey; a sister, Theresa Cuccurullo of Brooklyn; a sister-in-law, Antonina Grazioli of Melville; and her husband's parents, Jerome and Sarah Genova of Dix Hills.
Visiting will be at the Massapequa Funeral Home, South Chapel, 4980 Merrick Rd. in Massapequa Park Wednesday from 7 to 9 p.m. and Thursday from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Friday at St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church, 4704 Merrick Rd. in Massapequa.
Interment will follow at St. Charles Cemetery in Farmingdale.