Genevieve R. “Jean” VOHNOUT (nee Cox), Age 92. Beloved wife of the late Michael. Dearest mother of Loretta Koval (Thomas), Donald (deceased), Janice, Kathleen Petitto (Ross), and Michelle Kerney (Timothy). Loving grandmother of 15, great grandmother of 18. Dear sister of George Cox, Patricia Hinko, and the late Robert and Edward Cox. Dear sister in law of Marie Cech and Edward Vohnout.
Mass of Christian Burial: Monday, January 10, 11:30 AM at St. John Bosco Church. Entombment: Holy Cross Cemetery.
Visitation: Sunday, 2-4 and 6-8 PM at The Zabor Funeral Home, 5680 Pearl Rd. Parma (betw. Snow & Ridge). To offer online condolences please visit www.ZaborFH.com
“Words of Remembrance”
Early paragraphs were dictated by Mom
Genevieve (Jean) Cox Vohnout
I’d like to share a little bit about my Mom’s life and loves. She loved family, music, dancing, parties, fashion, theater, and travel. She was a hard-working person with strong values of right and wrong deeply rooted in her Catholic faith.
Genevieve was born in 1918, the second of five children. Her Mom loved music and dance and enrolled her at the age of 3 in the Leona Hart School of Dance. She made her debut at age 4 in an Amateur Contest at the Parkview Theater and won First Prize. She recalled that her father was very proud that day, gave her roses, and had tears in his eyes.
As a child she danced on the Playhouse Square Theater stages in their hay day. Every year she was in 13 numbers of Leona Hart’s Recitals, all with different costumes, performed at both the Music Hall downtown and the Masonic temple on Euclid Avenue. Her mother sewed all her costumes with precision and care. Genevieve diligently studied and rehearsed ballet, tap, toe, adagio and singing for the next 12 years.
At 9 years old, she was a finalist in the Gene Darling Talent Contest at the Palace Theater. When 12 years old, a reporter from Cleveland’s local newspaper printed her picture and a large write-up titled, “May be another Ruth St. Denis!” (who was a popular entertainer at the time). When 12, 13, and 14, Genevieve performed in vaudeville at Keith’s 105th Theater doing four shows a day for two weeks during her Christmas vacation.
Genevieve and Herbert Lurie were Ohio’s youngest Adagio Dance Pair, and were widely known for performing the Merry Widow Waltz from 1930 to 1933. She was 12 and he was 14. Herbert moved to New York City after high school to establish a career as a dancer, and appeared in several Broadway shows. He moved to Hollywood in 1942 and was under contract to MGM appearing in several movies.
At 14, Genevieve took private tap dance lessons from Freddie Culp, who taught her some of Bill Robinson’s steps. In her late teens, she attended various dances and was often called up to the bandstand to sing with the band. When she was 18, she was a dancer and singer in Billy Rose’s Great Lakes Exposition, which took place in Cleveland during the summer of 1936.
She met her first love, Mike Vohnout, at 17 and married him at 19. They started a family, and she kept busy raising five children, which grew to include15 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren. Several of Mom’s grandchildren inherited her musical talent and performed in plays at their schools and community theater. Mom and Dad lived in Parma Heights for 42 years and were married for 64 years. They enjoyed polka dances, family parties, and holidays. Christmas time was special because there was always lots of presents, visitors, good food, snow, and holiday spirit.
Mom and Dad sang in choirs at old Holy Family Church, and never missed Mass. They always took us to church, and we couldn’t imagine life without the love of the Lord in our hearts. They gave us faith that God will always be there to listen and to guide us. In her late years, Mom taught dance at home and to the senior citizen group at church. She loved friends and family and continued to sing and whistle at home and on bus tours in her senior years.
Mom always had her make-up on, her hair curled, and was well dressed. She was loyal, proud, and had the strength of her convictions. She was generous with advice and a devoted mother and wife. She enjoyed decorating her home and making sure her family was happy and healthy. She was a good cook and baker, and enjoyed reading the newspaper until her eyes suffered from macular degeneration in her late 80’s.
At 85 she said: “I want to go up in the world!” She was always determined and optimistic. Mom sold her home on Crenshaw Dr. when she was 86 and moved into a new home in Olmsted Township with Shelly, Tim, and their family. She took her four daughters to Disney World and Las Vegas when she was 88 and 89. At 90 she was diagnosed with Lewy Body dementia, but remained sweet and lovable to the end. Genevieve died at her daughter’s home at the age of 92. In addition to her children and grandchildren, she is survived by her brother George Cox and sister Pat Hinko. We’ll miss her a lot. Thanks for being here to celebrate her wonderful life. We were blessed with the best!
Messages of Condolence
Aunt Jean was so beloved by me. As a child, I have wonderful memories of visiting at the “Vohnouts”, and especially have warm memories of Christmas eves past. Aunt Jean was always so loving and warm, and I so looked forward to seeing her!
Aunt Jean was so caring of her family, I personally am referring to my father, Bob, my mother, Alice, my brother, Bobby, and especially my husband, Scott. When I last saw her, at Aunt Pat’s birthday party, the first thing she did was ask me about Scott’s health, this in her elder years, and without having seen me in a very long time. I thought that so sweet, and caring…
I am greatly saddened by her passing, but know that she had a wonderful and full life, made bright by all of those who loved her.
May God bless her and all of her lovely family.
With great love and remembrances, Judy
May Ray rest in peace and sit at the Lord’s right hand side. Ray’s family is in our prayers.
How wonderful that your sweet mom is in the arms of Jesus! Praying for all of you knowing, that keeping power of our Lord will give you peace and HIS grace to sustain you always.
In His love and mine
Mom, you were the best…miss you sooo much. See you soon!
My Dearest Cousins,
I am so sad that my aunt Jean is gone. But, I think she had a good and long life. I am also glad that she did not have to spend her last days in a hospital or nursing home.
I have just returned to Bemidji State Univ. in Northern Minn. and the semester starts on Monday. As much as I want to, I can not make it back in time for the funeral. However, Vivian and Van told me that they will be there.
My thoughts are with you all and I hope to see you all in the near future.
Dear Jan, Shelly, Kathy and Loretta,
I was surprised and saddened when I heard from the office of your mothers passing. I really enjoyed visiting her and came to see her similar to my own grandmother in many ways. I looked forward to ending my day with her smiling and enjoying our dancing and singing together. No matter what kind of day I had I always left smiling and happier after visiting with not only your mom but all of you as well. Either with the dogs at Shelly’s and with Jan and Laura and all of the sister’s and family at Jan’s. It was a pleasure meeting all of you and my thoughts immediately went to all of you at the news. I am sorry I missed you all the past few weeks and was not able to attend the visitation today. Your mother was a wonderful person to have such kind and loving children and family as yours. I can tell your mother was a beautiful person in life with the way she always handled herself during my visits. My thoughts and prayers are with you and all of your family at this sad time. It was nice to see that your mother was very loved by all of you. I wish you all the best and hopefully will see you all around town at some point. It would be a pleasure running into any of you. Your mom is one I will always remember!
To the Vohnout family, I’m very sorry for your loss. No matter how much time passes we still feel the loss of our loved ones and view death as God does, an enemy. (1 Corinthians 15:26) May you find comfort and strength in his promise at Revelation 21:3,4 that shows soon there will be no more death, and we can see our loved ones again. Please accept my deepest condolences.