Louis V. Genuario

NO. 17926  •  1 Jan 1926-10 Jan 2004

Died in Alexandria, VA
Interred in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA


At age 14, when Louis Vincent Genuario first saw the words Duty Honor, Country on a West Point brochure, he knew he wanted to attend the Academy and serve his country. Little did he then know that the values instilled by West Point would be tested as he and one hundred of his classmates would be thrown into combat in Korea shortly after graduation in 1950.

Lou was born in Norwalk, CT, to Arthur and Gemma Genuario. The oldest of three children, Lou enjoyed a wonderful childhood surrounded by an extended family of Italian immigrants. Some of his most enjoyable memories as a youth were those of living in Yonkers, NY, from 1931 to 1939. Lou would recall how those years were filled with endless games of sandlot baseball, roller and ice skating, football, handball, and swimming, all without the benefit of Little League organization. His father's work took the family back to Norwalk, where Lou graduated from Norwalk High School in 1944, lettering in soccer, basketball, and baseball, as well as being an honor student. There, he met Rose Greco, his future wife.

After graduation, Lou enlisted in the Army and volunteered for an assignment with the Air Corps to the China-Burma-India Theater. While there, Lou recalled being captured by the Chinese. He and a fellow soldier were taking target practice when Red Chinese soldiers appeared and took them by force to their colonel. They learned their bullets were ricocheting and going into the Chinese compound. After promising to stop, they were released.

While on active duty, Lou received an appointment to West Point. Prior to entering in 1946, he attended the USMA Preparatory School at Amherst College, MA. At the Academy, Lou later admitted that he was more successful athletically than academically. He played baseball and earned four letters in soccer, serving as captain his fourth year. Lou often credited his roommates for helping him survive the demands of the classroom.

Lou married Rose, his high school sweetheart, on graduation day. After a brief honeymoon, he was sent to Korea in August 1950 to help stop the advance of the North Korean Army. Lou was assigned to 2-38 Infantry, 2d Infantry Division in Pusan. As the reality of war became more evident before his first engagement, his battalion commander warned that "the first thing you've got to do is to conquer your fears." Lou credited his platoon sergeant for providing critical combat advice and support, which helped him overcome his fears and lead his men into combat.

Lou was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action on 12 Sep 1950. The citation reads as follows: "The platoon received the brunt of the enemy attempt to escape the encirclement. When the success of the mission was threatened due to a weakening of our line, LT Genuario, with complete disregard for his own personal safety, charged the enemy position with hand grenades and automatic weapons fire. Enemy breakthrough was averted and approximately 100 enemies were annihilated. His gallant action on this occasion reflects great credit upon himself and the armed forces of the United States."

Lou's combat tour was cut short two weeks later after he received serious abdominal and hip wounds. He endured a long struggle to overcome these wounds, spending almost two years in St. Alban's Hospital, Long Island, NY. Upon partial recovery, although unable to serve in the Infantry, Lou was reassigned to the Corps of Engineers with assignments to Governor's Island, NY, with the First Army, and the Engineer Officer Candidate School, Ft. Belvoir, VA. He received a MS degree in Civil Engineering from Harvard University in 1956.

Lou had several subsequent assignments. The most meaningful to him was returning to West Point from 1957 to 1960 to take charge of converting the massive riding hall into Thayer Hall, a multi-floored academic building. From that assignment, Lou took his growing family, (six children in eight years) to Verdun, France, for a three-year assignment as a company commander constructing military facilities. His next assignment was to Ft. Leavenworth, KS, to attend the Command and General Staff College. He then spent the next three years at the Pentagon with the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, after which he retired in 1966. After spending three years as the area engineer for the District of Columbia, supervising the construction of the Mall Tunnel, Lou left public service and began a private career by founding a successful general contracting and homebuilding business in Alexandria, VA. The Genuario Companies are now run by his two sons, Rick and Louis, Jr.

For almost 40 years Lou was extremely active in the Alexandria community. He was a founding member of Good Shepherd Catholic Church, where he was extensively involved in parish activities. His involvement with his church resulted in his appointment by the Bishop of Arlington to serve on the diocesan committee to develop plans for a priests' retirement home. He served on several Fairfax County Boards. For this service he was posthumously honored by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. He also served on Alexandria's committee on affordable housing and helped establish the first homeless shelter in Fairfax County. Lou was also active in professional associations serving as Vice President of the Northern Virginia Building Industry Association, which, in 1998, named his company the Builder of the Year. An avid golfer, Lou served on the board of directors at Mt. Vernon Country Club and was elected president for two years. He also served as historian for the Class of 1950.

Lou is survived by his wife Rose; two sons, Rick and Louis, Jr.; four daughters, Donna G. Hart, Marina G. Nagler, Christina Genuario-Gill, and Debra G. Whitt; and a sister, Maria G. Sikes. Lou was blessed with fourteen grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

My father will always be remembered for his devotion to his family, country and faith, and for his great compassion and high sense of honor. The way he lived his life no doubt presumes that Dad died in God's good graces and is well on his way to that eternal happiness with Him.

- His son, Rick