September 17, 1958 - June 14, 2020
UTICA - Mr. Michael Geno, renowned Executive Chef, age 61, unexpectedly left this earth too soon on Sunday, June 14, 2020 with his wife, children, sister, and “Neph” by his side. Born in Utica on September 17, 1958, Michael was the son of the late Louis “Louie” Sr. and Virginia “Ellen” (Elacqua) Geno. He attended St. Mary of Mt. Carmel Grammar School and T.R. Proctor High School. On July 22, 1989, he married the former Linda M. Harp at her home, by the bedside of her (late) father John, followed by a huge celebration at Alfredo’s Restaurant. Mike and Linda had an instant attraction from the moment they met. He adored her, made her smile, and filled her life with fun, adventure, and laughter. As a couple, they made each other the best that they could be and enhanced their qualities of strength, kindness, patience, and courage. Mike’s venture into the world of cooking began as he stood lovingly beside his paternal grandma, in her traditional kitchen garb with “rolled down nylon stockings” — observing and learning every step of the process as she was preparing and rolling meatballs! Professionally, he began at the Clinton House, working “under the wings” of Bobby Hazelton and Richie Scamardo, followed by the Diplomat and the Coliseum where he was under the tutelage of Vincent and Nancy Calautti, and he joined them as they established Vincent’s on Seneca Turnpike in 1981, then Scamardo’s in 1985. His professional skills were next sharpened under the mentorship of Anthony (late) and Donna Balio at Donna Marie’s in Frankfort and while working there, Mike concurrently opened and operated D’Geno’s Pizzeria on the corner of South and Mohawk Street with his dear friend, John Doti. The saga continued with Johnny Scada as they established Michael Geno’s at Modernistic which grew to be a thriving eatery that was eventually relocated down the street to the former Cafe Del Buono East, an exciting and exhilarating experience. This was a time that proved to Michael and Linda that their talents and loyalty of clients were real and lasting at “Michael Geno’s”. Although he never wanted his name on the sign, his humble nature was touching, and Linda was so proud that he took the credit owed to him. And these were the best of times. He then explored his culinary talents at the Yahnundasis Golf & Country Club. From there, he assisted with the opening of Ilario’s Trattoria in North Syracuse. He later prepared his authentic dishes at Kitty’s on the Canal. Mike transitioned as the Executive Chef when Rob Esche established Aqua Vino Restaurant. He appreciated the respect and the credit owed to his long-time career while working alongside Rob’s mom, Beverly Esche, as well as his “work-wife” Trish LaBella. The last 12 years were a blessing as Mike realized it was the time in his life to pass down his artistic culinary talents to a new generation of chefs. He had a great crew, including his son Bryan who he was so proud to mentor, spend time with, and pass on his legacy to. Work was paramount, and he gave every opportunity his all, ending each night with a “skattey on the rattey”! During the pandemic, he sheltered at home, and when he returned to work last week, his demeanor was relaxed and seemingly filled with life, and … the end of his life came too soon, too unexpectedly, and too unavoidably, ——K-Babe. He was famous for his signature dishes, “Veal Scamardo” and “Wedding Soup”, and those secret recipes will go with him. Mike’s hospitality was seen on so many levels of his life. He always made a moment to say hello and show his concern. He was a wonderful husband and an exceptional father. Working in the restaurant business does not allow for an abundance of time at home, but he managed his business to blend in family time the best he could. Thruway Exit 33 was Mike’s favorite destination, and during the Saratoga Track season he was able to fulfill his love of horses. As a sportsman, he appreciated good competition and was known to place a wager now and then. He rooted for the New York Yankees and prayed for the New York Jets. Through the love of the Yankees, especially Jeter, a bond that Michael and his son shared, his son little Michael gave him a special gift of a ticket to attend Jeter’s last game together. He often reminisced about years past and their robust family fun times. He was a bit of a traditionalist and stuck to his routines. He also loved his big ‘Caddys’, and he thought Frank Sinatra was his best friend! He had great friends, pulled off outrageous stunts, told comical bad boy stories, and he LIVED LIFE WELL. His legacy will be felt in the lives of his loved ones now that he has passed and they will miss him dearly. The family vacation to Niagara Falls when the kids were little was so memorable, and just being together in the hotel room was such fun. The boys were so proud to be Mike’s sons, in a family filled with fun and appreciation of one another. They all knew, especially Sean, that dad had their back. It was a Geno tradition to have a Miniature Dachshund as part of the family, and Mike’s hot dog was “Buster”, his bud. When his “bud” passed away in 2016, Mike buried him in the backyard with solar lights surrounding the site, and when they illuminated at night, he would yell out, “Buster’s home!” Now the house is known to Miniature Dachshund “Junior” whose barks announce arrivals and activity. A very loving, sensitive soul, when Mike loved, he loved for real. His forgiveness and forbearance endured throughout his life, and in his humble heart, he was honored that they did. A parishioner of St. Mary of Mt. Carmel/Blessed Sacrament Parish, Mike was blessed to have the Lord in his life. As his days unfolded, especially this past month, he became more reflective, and he knew the Lord’s peace. Michael is survived by his wife and partner in life, Linda; his treasured sons, Sean, Bryan, and Michael. He was a devoted, proud “Papa” to his grandson, Alex, and they were the best of buds. He also leaves his sister, Teresa A. (Geno) LaDue and Paul Arensman; the memory of his predeceased brother, Louis J. Geno; half-brother, Louis Velardi; nephews, especially Ron LaDue who was also his godson; his Geno nephews, Louie John, and Michael; Geno nieces, Anna-Marie and predeceased Angie with whom he shared a strong connection; great-nephews, great-nieces, many cousins; in-laws, Mariana Geno; Marianne and Frank Montecavo, Judy and Robert Foxenberg, and Carl Bechtold. In addition to his immediate family, he leaves his co-workers at Aqua Vino who were like family and his circle of brothers including Sammy Altieri, John Doti, Billy Stamboly, Mark Bruzzese, Rodney Baker, Johnny Orsaio, and the newest member of the brotherhood, Rob Esche. Mike had a huge group of memorable friends who added true meaning to his life and we hope that you know who you are. He was predeceased by his in-laws, John and Caroline Harp; sister-in-law, Carol Bechtold; and special friends, Anthony Balio, and Gary “Juice” Velletto. From the moment the Geno family arrived at MVHS at St. Luke’s Healthcare, the staff, especially Corrie Chassey, made Michael’s care an ultimate concern with genuine and compassionate hearts. During this very traumatic journey, they stood by the family with sensitivity, and the family thanks each and every one of them from the bottom of their hearts. They are also grateful to the physicians, and the entire nursing staff, especially Melissa and Nancy, who were of great comfort; Mike’s cousin Christine (Elacqua) Bosworth for her loving support; and Rev. John Buehler for administering the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. Visitation will be held Sunday from 3:00-6:00 at the Eannace Funeral Home, 932 South St., corner of Hammond Ave. Due to the current restrictions, we will be operating at a 25% occupancy. We ask for your patience as we try to accommodate those coming to support the Geno family who will remain until all visitors have been seen. We will only allow ten people into the building as ten people exit. Face masks must be worn. In honor of Michael’s culinary profession, memorial contributions in his honor may be made to St. Marianne Cope’s Westside Kitchen online at https://mmwsk.org or by mail to 702 Columbia St., Utica, NY 13502. Mike’s family will celebrate his Mass of Christian Burial privately. A public Memorial Mass will be offered at a date and time to be announced after the pandemic subsides. Interment will take place in St. John the Baptist Cemetery in Rome at the convenience of the family.
UTICA - Mr. Michael Geno, renowned Executive Chef, age 61, unexpectedly left this earth too soon on Sunday, June 14, 2020 with his wife, children, sister, and “Neph” by his side. Born in Utica on September 17, 1958, Michael was... View Obituary & Service Information
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