Obituary of Louise A Gesicki
Louise A. Gesicki (Camel) died on June 25, 2021 at Dover General Hospital. She was 95 years old. Born in 1926 in Dover to NJ Camel and Labebe “Jennie” Attallah who emigrated from Lebanon to the United States in 1912, Louise lived her whole life in Dover and Randolph. She was President of WH Anderson Insurance, Inc. since 1960.
Louise skipped two grades at Sacred Heart School in Dover. In her characteristic wryness, she would explain her formidable intelligence away: “I think I walked into the wrong classroom and no one told me to leave.” Graduating from Dover High School in 1942 at age 16, she spent a few formative years working in her father’s store, Camel’s Market, on E. Blackwell St. By working as a scribe and translator for her father whose English was limited, she learned the ins and outs of retail business; she always spoke of her father with pride in his success and reputation, and gratitude for the business and life lessons he taught her.
She married Alfred Gesicki in 1949, and they had Mary Elizabeth (Baba) the next year, followed by Donald (Donnie) in 1954 and Elaine in 1961. While raising her children, she began typing from home for Mr. Anderson’s insurance agency. Her first child was deaf, and neither she or her husband had experience in the deaf/hard-of-hearing world. The limited support structures for those with differing abilities in mid-century did not provide much by way of a full, integrated life, yet Louise and her family found ways to provide Baba with a supportive, safe, and loving home life as well as opportunities for inclusivity among her peers in the academic and social environment.
In 1960, Mr. Anderson offered Louise the opportunity to purchase and take over WH Anderson Insurance, Inc. Though she and other women could not even apply for a line of credit without a man’s co-signing until 1974 (among many other injustices), Louise bought the business, and kept the name because “A was first in the phone book.” She operated the business at 9 N. Salem St. until her early 90s, only then fully handing over the reins to her daughter and second-in-command, Elaine.
As she built her insurance business, Louise, a first-generation American herself, became especially known in newer immigrant circles as a patient guide to the maze of insurance requirements. When young children came to the office with their parents to translate, she would tell them that she did the same with her parents as a child. Born to recent arrivals on the cusp of the Depression, she carried with her the knowledge of the precarity that many of those new to this country experience, and the impact that a more established person’s grace could have on one’s life.
Louise was also an artist. Though never formally trained in painting, she had a natural talent and learned by drawing what she heard on the radio, and copying images from magazines. Her skill showed through in the annual Christmas card decorations painted for each of her children and grandchildren. She was an avid reader: novels, biographies, and the New York Times, especially the Sunday Magazine. Louise was an avid Yankees, Giants, and Rachel Maddow fan. She was deeply Catholic, attending daily Mass for much of her adulthood, and sprinkling Holy Water on any car departing for a trip. She was an early adopter of Walt Disney World and its Vacation Club, bringing her family together there in Florida for many Easter vacations. She spent summer weekends at her shore house in Ortley Beach, reading under the umbrella in the backyard surrounded by family and flowers. She was calm, elegant, independent, shrewd, gentle and strong.
She was preceded in death by her husband Alfred in 1983, her parents, and her siblings Joseph, Josephine (Nagy) and Emma (Senatore). For most of her adult life, she lived around the corner from her sister Emma in Randolph. She is survived by her children, Mary Elizabeth Sullivan of Dover, Donald Gesicki of Ocean View, DE and his wife Diane McKernan, and Elaine Gesicki-Desjadon of Randolph and her husband Gary.
She is survived by grandchildren and great-grandchildren Christine Sullivan Bezaire, her husband Matthew, and their children Luke and Leah of Newark, DE; Jeff Sullivan of Dover; Regina Gesicki and her husband Robinson Murphy of Geneva, NY; Paige Gesicki and her fiance Dylan Nelson-Sease of Chicago; William Gesicki and his wife Kendall Pittinger of Washington, D.C.; and Brian Desjadon of Los Angeles. She was beloved ‘Aunt Louise’ to her many extended family members and her feisty wisdom will be carried on in the many lives she touched.
Visitation will be held on Thursday, July 1, 2021, at Tuttle Funeral Home, 272 Route 10 Randolph Township, NJ from 4:00 pm - 8:00pm (www.tuttlefh.com).
A Catholic Mass will be held on Friday July 2, 2021 at 11:00 am at Sacred Heart Parish, Dover. Interment to follow at Gate of Heaven Cemetery of East Hanover.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial donations in memory of Louise be made to St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital.
Phone: 973 366-7400