Mary Jane Genovese spent her life devoted to reading and sharing her love of books with children at the East Meadow Public Library. She died Oct. 8 at the age of 71.
Genovese, worked as a children's librarian for 23 years at the East Meadow library, her son Anthony Genovese, 34, said.
"She loved her co-workers and story time with children several times a week," he said. "She loved to read. She had a passion for reading ever since she was a child and it drove her interest into libraries."
Genovese was born in Queens and moved to Uniondale as a child. She went to Sacred Heart Academy in Hempstead and attended Albertus Magnus College in New Haven, Connecticut. She graduated from St. John's University and went on to obtain her master's degree in library science from St. John's in 1970, according to her family.
She was married to Joseph Genovese for more than 40 years. He was a math and science professor at St. John's, and died in 2012.
Anthony Genovese, of East Meadow, said his mother had her children reading at a young age with her oldest son, Joseph Genovese Jr., reading The New York Times when he was 3.
Joseph Genovese Jr., 41, began working with his mother at the library when he was 19. There he met his wife, who is also a librarian.
"She set me on the career path where I am now," Joseph Genovese, of Levittown, said. "She placed such a value on reading and story time to connect with kids in the room. Obviously she had a love of books and a love for her job."
Anthony Genovese said his mother encouraged him in grade school to read more than 300 books during a school-year contest. One of his fondest memories was reading The Hobbit together with his mom during one week before starting high school.
He said his mother was also devoted to charity and donated clothes to local organizations.
Mary Genovese was diagnosed in January with bile duct cancer of the liver. She died of cardiac arrest at the Townhouse Rehabilitation and Nursing Facility in Uniondale after a 10-month battle with cancer, according to her family.
Her wake was held at the Charles J. O'Shea Funeral Home in East Meadow with burial at a family plot at the Calvary Cemetery in Queens.
She is also survived by her brother, Bill Ptacek of Bayport, and two sisters, Fran Costello of Stony Brook and Marian Llewellyn of Southampton.