When Jersey City’s Genevieve Gburczyk Eilers went to Washington to work as a congressional aide, Harry Truman was president and John F. Kennedy was still a congressman.
Eilers, who served as an assistant to Rep. Alfred Sieminski from 1951 to 1955 and likely among the last surviving members of Jersey City mayor Frank Hague’s administration, died on March 19. She was 105.
Trained as a stenographer, Eilers got a job at city hall in Jersey City when Hague as mayor. She worked under Hague’s successor, his nephew Frank Hague Eggers, and the for mayor John V. Kenny.
In 1950, Kenny decided it was time for 75-year-old Rep. Mary T. Norton (D-Jersey City), the first woman to a New Jersey House seat, to retire after 26 years in Congress. He announced that Sieminski, a 39-year-old Harvard-trained lawyer and World War II veteran, would take her seat.
Eilers, then 37, was offered a job working for Sieminski at a time when congressmen had just a handful of staffers. She moved to Washington, lived in a rooming house for single women, and began working for a freshman congressman.
She decided to move back to New Jersey early in Sieminski’s third term to marry John Eilers, the owner of a small chimney sweeping company who was 21 years older. They moved to Kearny, where Eilers got a job as a permanent clerk stenographer.
Widowed in 1968, Eilers was appointed assistant municipal clerk in 1974 and remained in that post until she retired in 1983, one month after he 70th birthday. She collected her state pension for 35 years.
Sieminski wound up losing the support of the Hudson County Democratic Organization and won just 14% of the vote in the 1958 Democratic primary to Cornelius Gallagher.
Eilers had no children and before moving to a senior living facility in Bloomfield at age 99. She is survived by her nieces and nephews.
A funeral service will be held at 11 AM on Saturday at the Armitage & Wiggins Funeral Home in Kearny.