Commonalities and a devious blind date lead to marriage

| January 28, 2021 | 0 Comments

TOASTING 50TH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY at Wilshire Country Club, Oct. 15, 2016.

Kathi and Mike Genewick grew up two blocks apart in Lockport, New York, a town of 25,000 in the snow belt near Buffalo. There, as Kathi states, “Everybody knows everybody.” They attended the same schools, shared friends, and he, three years her senior, dated one of her older sisters before turning his attention to Kathi. Now after 54 years of wedded bliss, five children and 12 grandchildren, the Genewicks are the living embodiment of the adage that the more a couple have in common, the better their chances of a successful marriage.

Kathi Nevins Genewick was raised with six siblings and remembers, “Our house was the place to be because there was always something going on.” Mike was often among the visiting friends and even accompanied the Nevinses to their lake cottage to water ski and swim.

After college, Mike joined the Air Force. When home on leave, he would call Kathi, who was dating his good friend at the time, and ask if she would fix him up. Kathi always complied, and they would double date. “And then one time when he came home, he asked me if I could get him a date and I said, ‘Sure, no problem,’” Kathi explains. “I wasn’t dating anybody at the time, so I fixed him up with me!” The then-19-year-old’s devious move turned the friendship in a romantic direction. “I don’t think we dated anyone else after that,” she declares.

After a year apart while Mike was stationed in Iceland, he was reassigned to a base near Syracuse, New York, a mere three-hours from Lockport. On his days off, Mike would pick up Kathi, and they would often drive to a small Air Force station nearby to shop for their families. “One afternoon we did our shopping and got back to the car. I wanted a pencil to write something down,” Kathi recalls. “I went to open the glove compartment to get out a pencil, and he reached over and slammed it shut. Mike said, ‘Well, I was going to wait ‘till later, but I guess you can go ahead and open it.’ I opened [the glove compartment] and there was a ring box in there.” Kathi laughs, “So basically he proposed in the parking lot of the Air Force station in Niagara Falls!”

MIKE AND KATHI GENEWICK wedding, Oct. 15, 1966.

Did she say “Yes?” “Of course I did!” she exclaims. “Mike was in the Air Force. That appealed to me. I thought, ‘Great! I’d love to travel and see the world.’ And he had a college education and I thought, ‘He’s got his education, so I won’t have to put him through school.’ And then, as it turned out,” Kathi notes with amusement, “for the first five or six years we were married, Mike constantly was going to school, and we never left the country!”

In 1966, two years after they started dating, the Genewicks were married in Lockport’s St. John’s Church, where they each had attended elementary school. First they lived in Syracuse, then Sacramento, California, where they had their first child. Mike was then transferred to a base in Springfield, Massachusetts, where Kathi worried through his 134 combat missions as a B-52 navigator in Vietnam. They had a second son; Mike earned an MBA; and he left the Air Force after ten years of service.

Seeking business opportunities, Kathi and Mike packed up the same blue Corvair that had once concealed an engagement ring and drove cross-country. They moved to Windsor Square, where his grandmother, aunt and uncle had settled years before. After adding one more son and two daughters to their family, they moved from North Arden Blvd. to Van Ness Avenue. Mike explains, “We ran out of bedrooms and bathrooms at the other house.”

The Genewicks quickly became part of the close-knit neighborhood. Their children went to St. Brendan School, where Kathi volunteered before becoming the school librarian. Mike worked for Watson Land Company for 23 years, after which they bought and operated the Carson Car Wash until they both retired.

After more than half a century together, would the Genewicks do it all over again? They reply in unison, “Yes!”

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Category: People

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