The Greenwich Police Department is mourning the loss of Officer Jim Genovese, who died of a massive heart attack Tuesday night at Westchester County Medical Center. The 20-year veteran was well known as the traffic control officer on Greenwich Avenue at the intersection near Starbucks.
"His strolling around the offices during his breaks looking for someone to talk to will be sorely missed," Chief David C. Ridberg said in a message sent out to the department. "We especially loved his Trekiness and his little insights, such as: When an old person dies, a library is lost. Perhaps he was too sensitive for this job, but we loved him nonetheless."
Genovese was brought to the medical center after a medical emergency at his home Sunday. Lt. Kraig Gray said his death was unexpected. He added that Genovese was like family to the GPD and a true gentleman whom no one could speak a bad word about.
Selectman Drew Marzullo said he was in high school when he first met Genovese, who was then a security officer at the Greenwich Library. "He was a fine officer and a quiet soul who truly cared about people," he said. "My heart goes out to his family, especially his wife and child. You want to believe that things happen for a reason, but passing at the young age of 44 is hard to grasp."
Family came first to Genovese. Gray said that after the officer and his wife adopted their daughter he immersed himself in Asian culture so he could teach her about her origins.
Erin Chamberlain said she knew Genovese from the preschool his daughter attended. "His adoration for his daughter and wife were evident in his eyes and smile every time he delivered his daughter into our care," she said. "It was clear that he was entrusting us with the most precious being in the world to him."
In 2005, Genovese took on full-time traffic control duties on the Avenue. He also trained as an emergency dispatcher and spent time at the CT-POST Academy teaching recruits. You can see Genovese at work on the Avenue in a Main Street Connect video made early this year.
Chamberlain summed up Genovese as the type of man you would hope your daughter would marry. "He was the man you would wish for a friend and neighbor to be," she said. "He was the stranger you would hope to meet in a time of need. He, above all, will be sorely missed by all who had the privilege of knowing him for the short but beautiful, poignant time spent here with those he left behind."
A viewing will be held at the Castiglione Funeral Home on Friday, March 25, from 3 to 5 and 6:30 to 9 p.m. A Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Mary's Church. Burial will be private. Memorial donations can be made to the American Heart Association or the American Cancer Society.
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