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Gene Aldona Fanelli (Dumbrys)

Gene Aldona Fanelli (nee Dumbrys), 78 years old of Holland Pennsylvania, passed away on June 18, 2024 surrounded by her loved ones. She is survived by her three boys (as she often referred to them), Joseph (Amanda), Andrew (Julie), and Jason (Sara) as well as her seven grandchildren, Jason Jr, Gavin, Nicholas, Tyler, Joseph IV, Damien, Jaxon, and her step grandchild Gavin.

Gene’s story is one that rivals amongst the best and needs to be told. It is akin to a classic novel, Broadway musical or a movie!  No surprise that Gene enjoyed musicals such as Cats and Les Miserables and always loved to read and learn more.  She could almost always be found with a good book by her side or in her purse and has read far more than her “boys” could even fathom.  Though she stopped “reading” in her later years, she was determined to make it to the end of the internet, often perusing for hours and hours on her laptop. 

Gene’s mother and grandparents had fled Lithuania at the end of World War II to escape the clutches of the then Soviet Union. They were seeking safety, security and the chance at a better life so, they headed southwest toward Allied-occupied Germany. Gene was eventually born in a displaced persons camp in Bevensen, Germany on March 1, 1946 to the late Stase Dumbrys.  The growing family later would make their way to London, England as they awaited sponsorship to the United States.  In 1953, at the tender age of 7, Gene and her grandparents received sponsorship but her mother did not. Recognizing the opportunity for her daughter but struggling with the pain of separation, Gene was ultimately sent with her grandparents to immigrate to the United States. She traveled across the Atlantic Ocean aboard the Queen Elizabeth I, eventually settling in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Years later, after her children were born, Gene would gain US citizenship and she would tell you that it brought her immense pride to be an American. 

Though born in Germany, Gene was one hundred percent Lithuanian and embraced her ethnicity as she grew older. She adopted cultural traditions, became part of a dance company, and enjoyed traditional Lithuanian cooking. It was not an easy life being raised by her grandparents in a foreign land while learning a new language but Gene was always a fighter (and a little bit of a rebel) and she was determined to build a good life.  Her rebellious and feisty nature landed her at an all-girls Catholic school in Pittsburgh (maybe a little too rebellious). However, the quick witted, sassy lady ultimately returned to Philadelphia where she began to build her adult life.  She married young, gave birth to her three children who were her pride and joy, divorced, built a long successful career in banking and fought for everything she earned.  

Gene was an incredibly strong and intelligent woman, an even better mother, and taught her boys how to be fiercely protective of family, what it takes to excel in life, and how to be scrappy.  She was caring, loving, and understanding but could also be tough when necessary.

Through it all, she always put her children first and stood by their sides, no matter what the circumstances and, would do anything to protect her babies.  You could almost always find Gene and her boys at the Jersey shore or virtually all of the amusement parks around the area.  Even though money was tight, she always found a way to rub two pennies together to make three just so her boys could have it all. 

Gene is best remembered for loving her boys, loving this country, adoring her grandchildren (which she immensely enjoyed spending time with and loved with all her heart, soul and mind) and praying for a better world.  She was a wonderful soul that lit up a room and touched so many people in her travels through life.  She will be greatly missed but forever remembered.

Family and friends are invited to visit on Monday, July 8th from 10am-11:30am at St. Bede the Venerable Church, 1071 Holland Road, Holland, PA. A funeral mass will follow. In lieu of flowers the family is requesting donations be made in Gene’s memory to Tunnels for Towers Foundation at https://t2t.org (https://t2t.org/) or the American Heart Association at https://www.heart.org (https://www.heart.org/)


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Service/Memorial Information
  • Morning Visitation

    Monday, July 8th, 2024
    10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

    St. Bede The Venerable Church
    1071 Holland Road
    Holland, PA 18966

  • Funeral Mass

    Monday, July 8th, 2024
    11:30 AM - 12:30 PM

    St. Bede The Venerable Church
    1071 Holland Road
    Holland, PA 18966

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