DECEMBER 2, 1936
WASHINGTON—The day was so lovely that I got up with real joy, but very shortly the telephone rang and the President wanted to talk to me from Buenos Aires. My heart sank for I knew that only something very serious would make my rather careful husband telephone from that distance. There were delays in the connection, and every minute I waited I became more and more anxious. Finally I heard his voice and it was just as I had anticipated, very bad news indeed.
From the time that my husband was elected Governor of New York when he was in New York City and when he went to Warm Springs, Georgia, Gus Gennerich was assigned to him from the New York City Police Force where he was a plain clothes detective, every one of us grew fonder and fonder of Gus as the years went by. He was cheerful, kindly and always willing to think of other people. He would play the piano for hours to amuse the children at Warm Springs. One and all they loved him.
It was just like hearing that a member of the family had died to hear that Gus had suddenly dropped dead last night. The entire White House has been gloomy ever since the news came.
My husband said that they would bring the body back with them, and left me to make the arrangements with the few members of his family still living who could come down to Washington on their return.
It was a great shock to all of us who were fond of him for he was such a strong and healthy person one could not think of his passing. He was deeply interested in a farm which he had bought in Dutchess County not far from our place and was engaged in putting it in order. One of the last things I did with him was to drive up to the farm and see about the curtains for his living room. Somehow or other it seems particularly tragic that the life which he had looked forward to on that farm will never come to pass. Perhaps a sudden death is what he would have wanted. Long years of idleness would certainly have irked him. All one can do is to be grateful for the kindly, loyal spirit which none of us who knew Gus will ever forget.
I went Christmas shopping after finishing the basket of mail on my desk, and seeing the usual morning visitors. This afternoon I received the Italian Ambassador and Signora Suvich and the Polish Ambassador and Mme. Potocka for their first official call.