Genevieve Marszalek celebrates 110th birthday

By Manny Correira
Posted 2/26/24

Is she or isn’t she the oldest living person in the state of Rhode Island? That question keeps arising every time Genevieve Marszalek celebrates a birthday.

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Register to post events

If you'd like to post an event to our calendar, you can create a free account by clicking here.

Note that free accounts do not have access to our subscriber-only content.

Day pass subscribers

Are you a day pass subscriber who needs to log in? Click here to continue.

Genevieve Marszalek celebrates 110th birthday


Is she or isn’t she the oldest living person in the state of Rhode Island? That question keeps arising every time Genevieve Marszalek celebrates a birthday.

On Monday afternoon, before a good-sized crowd inside Bristol House of Pizza, Genevieve celebrated her 110th birthday with all the pomp and circumstance befitting a woman of her advanced age and reputation.

With local and state government officials in attendance, complemented by TV and newspaper coverage, Genevieve received the royal treatment and responded in her usual sharp way.

“It pays to be old,” she said, after receiving some citations from the State of Rhode Island (and Secretary of State Gregg Amore), the Town of Bristol , featuring Town Administrator Steve Contente, and Bristol Police Chief Kevin Lynch. “I’m very grateful that people even think of me. Not everybody can do what I do. I come for the coffee. And, I love the people.”

Together with her caregiver, Candace Teixeira (and her mother Jackie Teixeira before her) Genevieve has been blessed with great personal care in recent years.

“It’s been an uplifting and learning experience,” said Candace, “we love Genevieve. I’ve enjoyed every minute of her. Just hearing her stories has been amazing.”

And it’s the same situation for her at the Willows Assisted Living facility in Warren, where she’s resided the past three years.

“They’re very good to her there,” said Candace. “And I know she’s happy there.”

Once again, Bristol House of Pizza owners George and Tula Gatos, assisted by son Greg Gatos and other family members, served as hosts at Genevieve’s birthday party.

“We all love Genevieve,” said Tula, who loves her visits on a weekly basis when she’s feeling up to it. “She’s just an amazing person who is truly beloved by all.”

Also attending Genevieve’s birthday parties the last couple years has been former Channel 12 Eyewitness News reporter and Barrington resident Sean Daly.

“It’s not that she 110 years old,” he offered, “It’s her personality. She’s an amazing person.”

For the record, Genevieve was born on Wood Street in Bristol on Feb. 27, 1914, the daughter of the late Pasquale “Patsy” Pagnano and Frances Pagnano. To put that into perspective, it was just five months before the start of World War I. She later married her husband, Joseph Marszalek, an FBI agent for a number of years.

Genevieve’s last living sister, Patricia Pagnano Fojo, is 91 years of age, and was on hand for her sister’s latest birthday this week.

Formerly of Trinidad and now living in Florida, Patricia was born and raised in Bristol on Cooke Street, and later graduated from Colt Memorial High School in 1949.

“I never thought my sister would reach this age,” she said. ‘We did have another sister, Sylvia Pagnano Hall, who was 102 when she died in 2020.”

But, all of this good feeling gets dampened a bit when you think about Genevieve and where she stands among the state’s oldest living residents. The sad thing is nobody really knows. She could be number one on the list as you read this, but who knows? Records have been checked statewide, and still nothing concrete is known. It’s really become a mystery for the ages, literally.

2024 by East Bay Media Group

Barrington · Bristol · East Providence · Little Compton · Portsmouth · Tiverton · Warren · Westport
Meet our staff

Mike Rego has worked at East Bay Newspapers since 2001, helping the company launch The Westport Shorelines. He soon after became a Sports Editor, spending the next 10-plus years in that role before taking over as editor of The East Providence Post in February of 2012. To contact Mike about The Post or to submit information, suggest story ideas or photo opportunities, etc. in East Providence, email