Genevieve Philactos, 91; Active in co-op and church


By Albert Amateau

Genevieve Philactos, a resident for more than 50 years in the Village where she was a former board member of her LaGuardia Place co-op and active in St. Joseph’s Church, died Wed., Feb. 9, at age 91.

She had been on dialysis for the past five years and collapsed at home, said her daughter, Angela. She was rushed to Beth Israel Hospital where she died in her daughter’s arms.

“Life was hard for her these past few years but she didn’t give up; she did not go gentle into that good night,” her daughter said. “She was a great cook and cooked regularly until a year ago. She was over 90 and never mentioned her age. We had to whisper whenever we spoke about it.”

Born in Belleville, N.J., to Angelina and Nicola Scaperotta on Aug. 21, 1919, Genevieve — known as Gina — graduated with honors from Belleville High School. In the years surrounding World War II, she worked as a secretary in the Brooklyn Navy Yard where she met her husband-to-be, George Philactos, a young Navy officer. They married in 1949 and soon settled in Greenwich Village, on Bank St. where they raised four children.

“She shared her enthusiasm for New York with all of us,” her daughter said. “She took us to the New York World’s Fair in 1964, to St. Anthony’s Feast and Broadway plays. She introduced us to the array of art, music and dance in the Village and throughout the city.”

As her children grew up, Gina took short-term secretarial posts with various companies in Manhattan, including Tiffany and Mottahedeh porcelain. She also worked for the Center for Peace and Justice on Washington Square North and the Greenwich Village Chamber of Commerce, whose meeting minutes she wrote.

Gina founded the Brownie Girl Scouts troop at St. Joseph’s Church in 1958 and served as the troop leader for several years. She was also a devoted member of the St. Joseph’s Rosary Society. She served as secretary of her co-op board when she was 80.

When her husband was unable to walk, she would take him around Manhattan on the No. 5 bus in his wheelchair, Angela recalled. George Philactos, an electrical engineer who worked for Western Electric and served in the Naval Reserve, which recalled him to active duty in 1950 during the Korean War, died in 2005.

At Gina’s funeral Mass at St. Joseph’s on Sat., Feb. 12, Father John McGuire paid tribute to her and her husband’s rich contribution to the history of the parish. In addition to Angela, she leaves another daughter, Judy Philactos, two sons, Gregory and George, four grandchildren and several nieces and nephews. Her sister, Elsie Scaperotta, also survives.

Perazzo Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements. She will be buried beside her husband in Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.