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Obituaries: Geraldine O’Toole

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Geraldine O’Toole, whose life was marked by her devotion to her family and her faith, passed into eternal rest and rejoined her beloved husband Bill on August 24, 2011 at home in Verona enfolded in the love of her 6 children and 16 grandchildren. Geri, as she was best known, will always be remembered for her deep love for her husband, her unwavering support for her family, and her kindness to everyone she knew and didn’t know.

A funeral mass will be offered in Our Lady of the Lake Church, Verona, on Saturday, August 27 at 10 a.m. Visiting in the Prout Funeral Home, 370 Bloomfield Avenue, Verona on Friday from 4 to 7 p.m.

Geri, the daughter of Richard and Julia (McGee) Beards, was born at home in Jersey City, the sixth of eight children. After graduating from St. Aloysius Academy in Jersey City, Geri worked to earn enough money for her education, while also attending night classes at John Jay College in the law, a profession that, like nursing, had always interested her.

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Nursing soon won out and Geri earned her RN degree at Holy Name Hospital Nursing School in Teaneck. After graduation, she worked in several hospitals in Jersey City, where her special joy was pediatric nursing. Geri experienced that same joy working with the elderly, to whom she was unfailingly kind, patient and attentive, in several nursing homes, most recently Green Hill in West Orange.

In 1951, a patient at Holy Name for whom she was caring arranged a meeting between Geri and his brother, Bill, a young teacher at St. Peter’s Prep in Jersey City. Soon after, Bill was drafted and served a year in combat in Korea. Their love for each other, recorded in daily letters, sustained them through that difficult time and others to come. Soon after Bill’s return, they began their life together on June 20, 1953, when they were married by Bill’s older brother — and Geri’s former patient — Rev. Edward O’Toole.

In Jersey City, Bill and Geri welcomed the arrivals of what he always jokingly referred to as ‘our first division”: children Ed, Jim, and Barbara. In February 1958, Geri and Bill moved to the home on Linden Avenue that would become a place of love, laughter and friendship for the next 48 years. Geri became a loyal, active member of Our Lady of the Lake Parish, where she was a daily communicant, and the family was soon joined by their “second division”: Will and the “twinnies”, Meg and Mary Beth. To her great delight, Meg and Mary Beth followed her into the profession she loved so much.

Geri’s generosity and concern for others were legendary. Whether it was her many contributions to a myriad of Catholic charities, a lavish lunch of sandwiches, iced tea, snacks and dessert for the entire Anderson’s Getty crew, where her sons all worked at one time or another, or her unfaltering loyalty to her younger sister Kay, Geri was always ready to do whatever she could do for anyone who needed her help. She will live forever in many hearts.

Predeceased by her late son-in-law, James Guilbert, of Morganville. She is survived by her son, Edward, and his wife, Dorothy, of Centerville, MA; son James and his wife Maryanne of Verona; daughter Barbara and her husband Michael Kivlon of Butler; son William and his wife Barbara Delmore of River Edge; daughter Meg and her husband Dr. William Oser of Verona; and daughter Mary Beth Guilbert of Morganville; her grandchildren, Kate, Michael, and Harry O’Toole, of Boston, MA; Jimmy, Liam and Maureen O’Toole of Verona; Brendan, Patrick and Jeannie Kivlon of Butler; Edward, William, Lizzy and Molly Oser of Verona; Matthew O’Toole of River Edge; Megan and Jimbo Guilbert of Morganville; her sister, Catherine Beards, of Totowa; and many nieces and nephews.

Donations in Geri’s memory may be made to the Our Lady of the Lake Endowment Fund.

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