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Genevieve Pilarski/1919-1998

Genevieve Pilarski/1919-1998

Posted: 18 Dec 2010 8:16PM GMT
Classification: Query
I am just wondering where this person is buried. She was a patient at Manteno State Hospital. Last residence was in Cook County. Also does anyone happen to have an article about her death? Like an obituary. Would have been in a Sept 1998 paper.

Re: Genevieve Pilarski/1919-1998

Posted: 18 Dec 2010 8:42PM GMT
Classification: Query
this is all I could find
link
http://www.mantenostatehospital.com/mshwiki/index.php/Genevi...
the actual articles
Genevieve Pilarski
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Genevieve "Gennie" Pilarski
"Gennie", gen•nie |ˈjenē|

Name: Genevieve Pilarski

Birth: 29 Sep 1919

Death: 23 Sep 1998

Last Residence: 60633 (Chicago, Cook, IL)

Burnham Healthcare (aka Burnham Terrace Ltd.) 14500 South Manistee Burnham, Illinois 60633

Last Benefit: (none specified)

SSN: 342-22-0766

Issued: Illinois

DRIVING HER CRAZY IT'S TOO LATE TO HELP GENNIE PILARSKI. BUT WE CAN MAKE SURE THAT NO ONE NOW UNDER OUR CARE WILL SUFFER HER FATE.; [CHICAGOLAND FINAL Edition]
Patrick T. Murphy. Patrick T. Murphy is Cook County public guardian.. Chicago Tribune. Chicago, Ill.: Nov 15, 1998. pg. 1

Abstract (Article Summary)

Gennie's life will never be the subject of legends, yet Illinois residents should know what she endured in the name of psychotherapy under state care and all of us should silently pledge that no one else ever be similarly treated.

Gennie Pilarski's death came a few days short of her 80th birthday. She passed away quietly in an obscure nook of an obscure nursing home, no friends or relatives left to mourn her.

I met Gennie in 1978, shortly after I was appointed public guardian of Cook County, though "met" is not the correct term. Gennie was incapable of any kind of human interaction and responded to my presence by keeping her head buried beneath her blanket while mumbling incoherently.


Full Text (1355 words)

Copyright Chicago Tribune Co. Nov 15, 1998

Not long ago, I made a visit to the cemetery with three assistant public guardians. We stood by ourselves against a steel gray sky to bid farewell to Gennie Pilarski.

Gennie's life will never be the subject of legends, yet Illinois residents should know what she endured in the name of psychotherapy under state care and all of us should silently pledge that no one else ever be similarly treated.

Gennie Pilarski's death came a few days short of her 80th birthday. She passed away quietly in an obscure nook of an obscure nursing home, no friends or relatives left to mourn her.

I met Gennie in 1978, shortly after I was appointed public guardian of Cook County, though "met" is not the correct term. Gennie was incapable of any kind of human interaction and responded to my presence by keeping her head buried beneath her blanket while mumbling incoherently.

The pattern didn't change over the next 20 years. Whenever one of our social workers visited her, Gennie either was buried under her bedclothes or roaming the halls of her nursing home, drooling and babbling.

Technically, our office should not have assumed responsibility for her care. We act as attorneys for the county's abused and neglected children; we also serve as guardians and oversee the estates of about 400 elderly adults suffering from senile dementia.

Although Gennie had no estate, we sort of inherited her case, but after I met her I found it impossible to pass her on to another agency. Her fate haunted me. We remained her guardian until death.

The Gennie I knew bore no resemblance to the 25-year-old woman who had originally come to the attention of the state. According to Department of Mental Health records, that Gennie had completed three years of college at the University of Illinois when, in 1944, she and her parents had a disagreement about where she should live, and they decided to commit her to a state psychiatric facility.

Upon her admission, a physician noted that Gennie was "neat, clean, tidy. Extremely quiet but friendly and agreeable. Cooperative in ward and routine." Later, he charted "no signs of active pathology."

Records from those years are incomplete, but reading between the lines one is led to surmise that Gennie was an exceedingly bright young person, among the relatively few women attending the University of Illinois. It appears that she wished to live on her own and away from her parents, but at the same time may have been suffering from episodes of manic-depressive disorder.

Today, that illness often can be controlled by medication, allowing many patients to work, raise their families and lead relatively normal lives.

Shortly after her admission, a therapist asked Gennie if life was worth living.

"What I have of it is," she replied. She felt normal, she said, "except for the stigma of insanity." The examiner, probing for paranoid tendencies, asked if she had any enemies.

"Everyone has," Gennie said. Her brother, for instance, was an enemy because he had threatened to hurt her. Her father was an enemy because he had beaten her up, slapped her and torn the clothes off her back. And her mother?

Gennie said she didn't know if her mother was an enemy. When asked if anyone had ever tried to poison her, Gennie responded: "I have eaten things I don't like, but I wouldn't call that poisoning."

The therapist asked Gennie what she would do if she were released from the "insane asylum," as Gennie called it. Gennie said she would like to have a job, clothes, some books. She would buy powder and rouge, and have some teeth extracted.

When asked to explain the difference between a tree and bush, Gennie said: "A bush is a small plant and a tree is a large plant."

When asked the difference between a lie and a mistake, she asserted, "A mistake is a casual error; a lie is a deliberate, conscious attempt to twist the truth for personal gain."

What was the difference between laziness and idleness?

"I don't know," she said.

The therapist noted that Gennie had repeated a statement--the same statement--several times during the examination: "A person that is 25 years old should be away from family entanglements."

In a paragraph marked "Sexual Trends," the therapist noted that Gennie had said, "I don't want a boyfriend." He concluded that she was oriented as to time, place and person, and had good memory and retention. She was neat and clean in appearance, tidy in her personal habits, cooperative.

Estimating her intellectual capacity, he wrote: "Counting and calculation were all done rapidly and well. Patient has attended the University of Illinois for three years as a chemistry major."

Several months later Gennie was subjected to hydrotherapy-- repeatedly plunged in and out of ice water. Afterward, she asked: "Is life a farce?"

By VJ-Day in August 1945, Gennie had been given 40 insulin coma "treatments" and undergone 14 bouts of electroshock therapy, in addition to her hydrotherapy.

How had she responded?

A physician wrote that Gennie was "idle, rather unfriendly, does not mingle, occasionally talks in a very disagreeable way to the other patients. . . . She is not especially neat or clean."

In the early 1950s, she was placed in a research ward at Manteno State Hospital. At the time, physicians from various Illinois universities experimented on patients (involuntarily) in attempts to discover what could cure mental illness.

By May 1953 Gennie Pilarski had "completed 187 electric shock therapies in two times a week maintenance series."

On February 18, 1955, the chart noted: "Has had extensive neurosurgery with bilateral extirpation of most of frontal and temporal lobes. . . . Now mute, totally dependent on commands for functioning of everything from toilet urges on up. To be given an experimental course of (electric convulsive therapy) to see if any affective change can be brought about."

None was reported. Not after her lobotomy and seven more bouts of shock therapy. About year later, a doctor described Gennie as "confused, unresponsive, needs supervision because of wandering. Has to be led and helped. Unsuitable for further research." (Emphasis added).

For the next 45 years, this once-intelligent and sensitive woman moved from ward to ward, nursing home to nursing home, incoherent and incontinent, plagued by demons only she could understand, terrors that kept her hiding under her bedclothes.

It could be argued, I suppose, that stories such as this can no longer occur. Such advances as psychotropic medications, community mental health centers and a more tolerant attitude toward the weakest among us have made filthy institutional back wards and unfettered research on human subjects seem like regrettable, sorrowful memories of an ignorant--if well-meaning--society's attempts to help the mentally ill.

Those days are long gone, thank heavens. It can't happen again. Or so we would like to think.

Recently, in this newspaper, reporter Michael J. Berens published a well-documented and sensitively written investigative series describing how mentally ill and developmentally disabled patients are being crowded into nursing homes with the elderly and senile to the detriment of all.

Some unscrupulous nursing home operators have been making a great deal of money by accepting such inappropriate placements, and then overusing psychotropic medications and physical restraints in attempts to keep all the population docile and without adequate services, Berens showed. The State of Illinois also has profited from this warehousing, possibly illegally. Federal authorities are investigating.

The timing of the series--so close to the death of Gennie Pilarski--left me shaken. I can't see how Berens could have given us a more-pointed warning about the need to examine how we care for the disabled and disadvantaged who through no fault of their own are unable to care for themselves.

It should not be forgotten that what happened to Gennie was not considered unusual or even cruel in the 1940s, '50s and even the '60s. A decade from now, a new generation may cast a reportorial eye on the solutions that those of us in the majority today devised--and tolerated--for the social problems of our own time.

Will we be judged any more favorably?

[Illustration]

GRAPHIC; Caption: GRAPHIC (color): Tribune photo illustration.


Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction or distribution is prohibited without permission.


Subjects: Mental disorders, Health care policy, Mental institutions

Locations: Illinois

Article types: Commentary

Section: PERSPECTIVE

ISSN/ISBN: 10856706

Text Word Count 1355




My Take On "Gennie"
--~M 12:57, 24 July 2009 (UTC)

All about Gennie, that we know of...

Here's the scoop on Geneveive "Gennie" Pilarski, (with information taken from the Trib article)...

"Gennie" was committed to MSH, by her parents in 1944 at the age of 25 when she had a "disagreement about where she would live". She had previously completed 3 years of college at the University of Illinois, majoring in chemistry and suffered from episodes of manic-depressive disorder.

What you read on the walls of the buildings is what is printed in the article about her. They are quoted by Patrick T. Murphy (Cook County Public Guardian) from various reports.

By 1950, "Gennie" was placed in a research ward at MSH where she was "experimented on" involuntarily. This was not uncommon at MSH even though I find nothing stating that it was ever officially proclaimed a "research hospital". (At Elgin State Hospital, they conducted "human radiation experiments" and you can read all about it, if you look it up on the web.)

According to the article, in 1955 she was lobotomized and it reads as such: "On February 18, 1955, the chart noted: "Has had extensive neurosurgery with bilateral extirpation of most of frontal and temporal lobes. . . . Now mute, totally dependent on commands for functioning of everything from toilet urges on up. To be given an experimental course of (electric convulsive therapy) to see if any affective change can be brought about."

For the rest of Ms. Pilarski's life, she was schlepped about from ward to ward and nursing home to nursing home. It was at one of these nursing homes, at the age of 80, that she died, a ward of the state. For the last 20 years of her life she was "incapable of any kind of human interaction" and spent her last days "buried under her bedclothes or roaming the halls of her nursing home, drooling and babbling".

This is really all we know about "Gennie". To think of her as just an "urban legend" or fantasy that someone conjured up, would not be correct, and in my opinion woefully disrespectful. She was a real person who suffered the same treatments that many patients were subjected to at the time. She was tossed into "hydrotherapy", where she was "plunged in and out of ice water". She was given 40 insulin shock therapies, around 200 electroshock therapies, and a frontal lobotomy.

This is the sad tale of Ms. Geneveive "Gennie" Pilarski. There is nothing mysterious about it. It's a true story of one woman who unfortunately suffered through the "therapies" of the time, just as many others did. She did not technically die at MSH, though her brain was scrambled there by therapists and doctors who were only doing what they thought would help people at the time. (So I would like to think.)

I sincerely hope this will help others understand the story of "Gennie" and it's importance. One might even say that those like "Gennie" suffered so those of us living in this day and age, don't have to. Perhaps, twenty years from now, someone will say the same thing about all those who committed suicide while taking Prozac. I don't know, but one always likes to think that something good came out of someone else's or even their own life. Kristyn, in my opinion, has done a fine job in making sure that anyone who finds out about "Gennie", will probably never forget her.

there's another link at the bottom of this page to"The Gennie Messages

could not locate an obit.

Kathy

Re: Genevieve Pilarski/1919-1998

Posted: 19 Dec 2010 1:35AM GMT
Classification: Query
From an article in 2009, stating that Homewood Memorial Gardens in Homewood, IL, was the site of Cook County indigent burials. I'm not sure how far back this goes, so I don't know if this cemetery is where Genevieve is or not.

"Indigent burials: Cook County sees 30 percent increase in such burials last year
Economy blamed for part of the increase, seen in areas across country
October 27, 2009|By Kristen Mack, Tribune reporter

Their bodies are stacked on metal trays in the medical examiner's 30-degree cooler, a warehouse-size refrigerator for the dead.

Here, the indigents wait. They rest on scaffold-like structures, six bodies high and three deep, while Cook County tries to find family, an open estate or any means to bury them privately.

Those who remain unclaimed, unknown or simply forgotten are placed in a plywood box, which serves as a makeshift coffin. The precious cargo is loaded into a rented truck and hauled on Halsted Street to Homewood Memorial Gardens in the south suburbs. Although they may have died alone in life, they are buried together in death. ..."

Re: Genevieve Pilarski/1919-1998

Posted: 19 Dec 2010 1:47AM GMT
Classification: Query
Thank you Kathy & LHS. I had read those articles you had included Kathy, but was hoping someone would know where she's buried. I would think it'd be near where the nursing home is that she was staying at. I'm not related to her, but I'm very interested in her story and those like it. I thought locating her burial would be like an "icing" to her story, so to speak, to top it off, so that others may visit her grave with condolences and thoughts. In one of those articles, it mentions that the author went to a cemetery to pay their respects. I'm assuming it was Patrick T Murphy, but I don't know how to get ahold of him to ask where he went.

Re: Genevieve Pilarski/1919-1998

Posted: 19 Dec 2010 5:23PM GMT
Classification: Query
here are some suggestions
contact
Cook County Public Guardian's office
http://www.publicguardian.org/
Patrick T. Murphy ran it until 2004 when he became a Judge in Cook County Circuit Court at age 65.
they may be able to tell you how to get in touch with Patrick or where Genevieve is buried.
here's a bio of patrick as a judge
http://cookcountyjudges.com/judgeBios/2010judges/ptmurphyFul...
he was again retained as a judge this year 2010-Fifth division Domestic nrelations Bridgeview Courthouse 10220 S. 76th Ave.,Chicago 60455. Tel 708-974-6288
here's a link to main Ciruit Court of Cook
http://www.cookcountycourt.org/
might be a link to get in touch with him....
he's written several books, might be able to locate through publisher,etc.

have you tried posting to gennie's messages listed in articles I gave you before?

Get a copy of her death certificate...will have burial info.

Kathy

Re: Genevieve Pilarski/1919-1998

Posted: 17 Mar 2014 3:37AM GMT
Classification: Query
Here you will find the remains of Genevieve

Birth: Sep. 29, 1919
Chicago
Cook County
Illinois, USA
Death: Sep. 23, 1998
Homewood
Cook County
Illinois, USA

Genevieve was the daughter of Max (Maksymilian) & Maria Pilarski (Pilarczyk), who were Polish immigrants. She was committed by her parents to Manteno State Hospital in 1944 & spent the rest of her life there and later, in nursing homes.


Burial:
Mount Olivet Catholic Cemetery
Chicago
Cook County
Illinois, USA
Plot: Unmarked/Ward of the State

Created by: Squad546
Record added: Dec 14, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 102183128
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