Obituary of Genevieve Bytner Hill
Genevieve Josephine Hill (nee Bytner) died on December 5, 2021, in Sands Point, New York. She was 98 years old. She is survived by her daughter Katherine Hill-Miller (married to the Rev. Frederic Alling Miller); her grandson Christopher J.G. Miller (married to Amanda Zifchak); and her great-granddaughter Veronica Margaret Zifchak Miller. She is also survived by her sister-in-law Annabelle Ashford Hill of Glen Carbon, IL; by her cousins Helen Betnar and Phyllis Betnar Sargood, both of Hoosick Falls, NY; and by numerous nieces and nephews.
There will be a memorial service for Gen on Saturday, December 18, at 11 a.m. at St. Stephen’s Church, 9 Carlton Avenue in Port Washington, NY 11050. She will be buried at Calvary Cemetery in Edwardsville, Illinois, alongside her husband. Memorials in her name may be made to the Building Fund at St. Mary’s Church, 1802 Madison Avenue, Edwardsville, IL 62025, or to the Polish Museum of Port Washington, 16 Belleview Avenue, Port Washington, NY 11050.
Gen was born in 1923 to Szczepan (Stephen)and Jozefa (Josephine Iwanska) Bytner, both of whom immigrated from Poland to the Midwest before World War I. She was preceded in death by her husband of 73 years, Marvin Joseph Hill, a chemical engineer with Monsanto. She was also preceded in death by her older brother Edward Stephen Bytner and her beloved great-aunt Helen Timovich Sochko. Her baby brother Boleslaw (William) died at age 22 months in the flu epidemic of 1918.
Gen, a registered nurse, retired from Southwestern Illinois College after teaching Nurse Assistants for fifteen years. She was a Eucharistic Minister, led the rosary, and brought Holy Communion to residents of a nursing home for over twenty-five years. She was an active member of St. Mary’s Church in Edwardsville, Illinois. She also taught second and third grades at St. Elizabeth’s grade school in Granite City, Illinois.
Gen held memberships and offices in many civic and philanthropic organizations. She served as President of the Slavic and East European Friends at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville; she served as Secretary of the Advisory Board to the Lovejoy Library at SIUE and as the Secretary to the Polish Cultural Society of St. Louis, Missouri. She was also a member of the Meridien Society at SIUE.
As a member of the University of Illinois Homemakers Extension Service, Gen taught sewing and millinery work to low-income women in Madison and Venice, Illinois. She founded a project for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services that taught visually handicapped women to sew. This last project used special sewing patterns Gen designed to make garments; it concluded with a fashion show and luncheon for State officials at a local hotel—and many lovely, stylish dresses.
Gen was intelligent, funny, strong, and very warm-hearted. Although she was a tiny woman—only five feet tall—many friends agreed that Gen, with her strength and determination, was like a force of nature.