Laguna Beach lost a true treasure and humanitarian on May 23rd, 2021 when Genevieve Lucille McMenomy passed away at home at the age of 90. She was just one month and two days shy of her 91st birthday.
Genevieve was born on June 25th, 1930, in Walla Walla, Washington. When she was four, her family moved to Los Angeles, where she lived until she was in her late 20s. At 18, Gen hit the workforce full-time, working at Hughs Aircraft and was there for 11 years. In her late 20s, she went back to school to study Art and Design at LA Community College.
It was at this time, through a co-worker and dear friend, that Genevieve met her second husband and the love of her life, Bob McMenomy. After they married, Gen and Bob moved to Naples, Long Beach where he grew up. They loved it there, but on weekends, holidays and every summer, they would travel south to help Bob’s mother, Laura, manage the Crystal Cove Cottages and beach community, a management position that Laura had had since 1947.
After 23 years managing Crystal Cove, in 1970, Laura retired from that position and joined Gen, Bob, and their daughter Ann as they moved to Laguna Beach permanently, the fulfillment of a dream that Gen had had since the early 1940s when she visited Laguna for the first time.
Soon after they moved to Laguna, they got involved in various community groups that aimed to protect Laguna’s natural beauty and charm. In 1971, Gen and her husband got involved in the non-profit community organization called “Village Laguna,” which was dedicated to preserving the unique village character of Laguna Beach. They also contributed to and volunteered for the grassroots organization “Laguna Greenbelt Inc,” founded in 1968, that sought to preserve a “greenbelt” of open space around Laguna Beach. Because of Laguna Beach’s residents’ efforts and hard work, both organizations achieved their goals.
It was at this time also that Gen started to volunteer at the Laguna Beach Animal Shelter, which, at that time, was an SPCA. Committed to making the Laguna Beach Animal Shelter a safe and pro-life animal shelter, in 1975, she and a friend founded the non-profit organization The Pet Responsibility Committee to help financially supplement the needs of the shelter. She had done all the hard work in setting up the shelter, convincing the city to buy it from the SPCA, and making sure it was pro-life and independent of interference from the City. Genevieve went far beyond her comfort zone to achieve this big accomplishment and used to say, “the animals can’t speak for themselves, so we have to speak for them.” All her hard work on behalf of the animals made the Laguna Beach Animal Shelter a safe place for the animals to be, reunited with their families and find good new homes. Her family and friends adopted several animals that came through the shelter, and everyone loved hearing all the amazing and miraculous stories from her work there. Her leadership and tireless work for animal welfare is, indeed, her lasting memorial in the Laguna Beach Community.
In addition to her work for the animals, Gen worked in setting up Friendship Shelter, hosting and supporting dinners Across Laguna, doing the annual shopping for shelter residents’ presents, and the list goes on. Genevieve’s generosity and compassion for animals and people was extraordinary.
Being very creative her whole life, Genevieve loved to express her creativity when entertaining her friends and family in her beautiful home. Gen and Bob’s home was filled with their friend’s artwork, always had fresh flowers, two or more rescue dogs and was always open to friends and family. Genevieve had a big and giving heart, was a true humanitarian and a bright light who was so very loved and will be greatly missed by all who knew her.
Genevieve is survived by her daughter Ann McMenomy, her two half-sisters, Annette Mobley and Marie Batson, and her three nieces and four nephews.