Mass of Christian Burial
Monday, October 5, 2020
11:00 AM EDT
St. Monica Catholic Church
4408 S. Westnedge Ave
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
Burial will follow at Mt. Olivet Cemetery.
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
A woman of substance and faith, Georganna Tenover counted her blessings as she faithfully served her family and church with utmost dedication. A more devoted wife, mother, grandmother, sister, and friend would be hard to find as Georganna lovingly gave of her time and talents without complaint. Being by her family’s side meant the most to her and in her family she found her greatest joy.
A decade of industrial expansion, the Roaring Twenties was an era of prosperity and good fortune. The spirit of America was evident as the Lincoln Memorial was honorably dedicated at a time when prohibition was law of the land. Life for George and Louise (Bissonnette) Carron was filled with blessings on August 27, 1922, when they welcomed the birth of their little girl, Mary Georganna.
The eldest of five children, Georganna (she never used her first name) was born and raised in the shoreline city of Muskegon, Michigan where she grew up with her siblings, George, Ellen, Eloise, and Lumina. A family devout to their Catholic faith, they were parishioners of St. Jean’s Catholic Church where Georganna received the Sacraments. She loved to sing and during her youth she served as a cantor during Sunday Mass. She also had a talent for playing the violin. Georganna went on to graduate from St. Jean’s Catholic High School where she was the valedictorian of her graduating class.
As a young girl, Georganna enjoyed the friendships of many. She especially enjoyed the sandy beaches of Lake Michigan and spent many summer days taking in the sun there. Following high school, Georganna furthered her education by attending the University of Detroit for two years. During this time, she was a constant on the honor roll; however, due to World War II, she was forced to leave the remainder of her education behind before completing her degree. It was then she began working for General Motors where she eventually became an executive secretary.
An outgoing and personable young woman, Georganna was also a woman of intellect. Always astute when it came to her studies, she was a lifelong learner. She became fluent in French and also spoke Spanish. Georganna could even easily calculate math problems on a whim! One executive with whom she worked even commented that her impeccable grammar was so concise that she frequently returned his business letters not just accurately typed but in much better shape grammatically. These wonderful attributes remained with Georganna throughout her life.
Georganna came to know love in the heart of Fred Tenover. A native of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, she met Fred in Detroit where he was a city club manager. The two began dating and were eventually joined in marriage on June 29, 1946. As newlyweds, they lived in Grand Rapids for a time before making Kalamazoo their home in 1953 where they raised their two children, Coby and Fred.
Georganna made a wonderful home for Fred and their children. She was a great cook and never ceased in being there for her family. Although always kind and giving, Georganna knew how to remain firm when discipline was necessary. As a mother she was supportive of her children, especially during their elementary and high school years. She even served as a den mother for her son’s Cub Scout troop. The holidays and other occasions were always filled with special times in their home where numerous memories were made and enjoyed.
As a couple, Georganna and Fred enjoyed traveling and spent time in Amsterdam in 1960 when they visited Fred’s brothers and sisters. They also enjoyed bowling and playing bridge together. With her free time, Georganna could be found cooking, playing duplicate bridge with friends, or knitting sweaters and gloves, usually for a cause. Most importantly, she loved spending time with her family and her wide circle of friends with whom she loved to prepare meals. When it came to music, Georganna liked listening to opera and classical music. As a young girl she would listen to the New York Metropolitan Opera on the radio on Saturday evenings. With her love of cats, Georganna had a succession of cats over the years, all named “Tippy”.
In the mid 1960s, Georganna rejoined the workforce, again as an executive assistant. She worked at the clothing store, Redwood and Ross, and later held the same position at the Kalamazoo Pant Company, which later came to be known as Kazoo, Inc.
Georganna was ever devoted to her husband, particularly during the rough times that came later in his life when he entered the nursing home. She was there every day spending time with and caring for him. She even brought home-cooked meals for him to enjoy. Amidst her working career, raising her family, her many involvements, and caring for her beloved Fred, Georganna was deeply involved in serving her home parish at St. Monica’s for over 65 years. There she helped establish a cafeteria for St. Monica’s school, worked on many parish activities, and organized the ministers who took Holy Communion to the homebound for over 20 years.
Following her retirement, she attended scripture study classes run by the Society of Mary, the Marianists at Msgr Hackett High School. This led to joining a small Christian community through St. Monica Church where she continued to study the bible and was introduced to the writings of C.S. Lewis and Thomas Merton. As a pre-Vatican II Catholic, reading scripture in a group was an entirely new experience for Georganna. Her enthusiasm as she discussed with others what she was reading was very evident as it meant so much to her. Her thirst for learning never waned and this was certainly a new venture into her personal faith.
Deeply religious and devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Georganna devoted her time and talents at church. After retiring, she spent each Saturday after reciting the Rosary and attending morning Mass by remaining at church to clean all the holy water fonts, replace them with fresh holy water, and straightened all the missalettes. Every Sunday after Mass she visited the homebound, especially those in nursing homes, delivering the Eucharist. Even in a driving blizzard she was committed to those in the nursing homes not only to administer the Eucharist, but to provide a friendly smile and some company. She was honored to be there for others in this way.
Her favorite activity by far was spending time with her grandchildren. Through her unwavering example she was truly a positive influence on each of them. She made it a point to be a part of their childhoods as much as possible. Reliable and steadfast, she made sure her grandchildren were looked after, entertained, and cared for. She was always there with warm hugs and kisses where memories filled the days. Family dinners and of course her favorite green mints were always a mainstay as was her famous 123 Jell-O for desert. On learning of her passing one granddaughter remarked “Heaven has a new angel today!”
A woman of deep religious conviction and faith, Georganna Tenover was committed to serving others. A shining example of melding faith, service, and charity of which anyone could aspire, she was a loving example of all it means to give of oneself. Never one to complain, she remained hopeful in all things. Her generosity, especially to the poor, was a constant. Georganna had a happy yet quiet calm about her. Even when admitted into the hospital after a bad fall at home, one of the hospital’s notes described her simply as “a very sweet 87-year old lady.” With ways all her own, Georganna added much to the lives around her and then some. Never to be forgotten, her beautiful wit and fun smile live on in the many lives she so lovingly touched.
Georganna Tenover, age 98, died peacefully on September 26, 2020. Georganna was preceded in death by her husband, Fred; and her four siblings: George Carron, Ellen Jannenga, Eloise Manning, and Lumina Forward. Surviving are her children: Coby (Tenover) Chalmers (Portage, MI) and Fred C. Tenover (Mountain View, CA); grandchildren: Susan Chalmers Mearns, Kathryn Chalmers, and Ana Tenover; great-grandchild, Arthur Mearns; multiple nieces and nephews. Georganna was an active parishioner of St. Monica Church for over 65 years where the Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Monday, October 5, 2020, 11:00 AM, 4408 S. Westnedge Ave., Kalamazoo, with burial at Mount Olivet Cemetery. Please visit Georganna’s personal webpage at www.BetzlerLifeStory.com where you may read her Life Story, archive a favorite memory or photo, and sign her online guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to Catholic Charities, Diocese of Kalamazoo. Arrangements by Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo 269-375-2900.