Jean Mae Boutwell Genasci Profile Photo
1929 Jean Mae Boutwell Genasci 2019

Jean Mae Boutwell Genasci

September 15, 1929 — December 7, 2019

Jean Mae Boutwell Genasci 9/15/1929 - 12/7/2019


Jean was born on September 15, 1929, in Beverly Massachusetts, the only child of George and

Marjorie (Smith) Boutwell. Her mother descended from the first English settlers of Western

Massachusetts and Connecticut. She grew up in Paxton Massachusetts where she enjoyed

fishing and skiing with her dad, and internalized the lessons of social justice and inclusion

learned at church. She graduated from West Springfield High School in 1947.

She attended Bay Path Junior College where she received training as a medical secretary. She

then enrolled at Springfield College (SC) to study Physical Education, where she met and

married James Genasci on December 9, 1950. Jean lived with Jim’s family in California for 2

years while Jim served in the Korean conflict. Upon Jim's return, they resumed their studies at

SC. Their 1 st child was born in 1954. Jean received her bachelor's degree and Jim received his

master's in 1955.

Over the course of a decade, their careers and studies took them to Gorham State Teachers

College (now the University of Southern Maine) and Colorado State Teacher’s College (now the

University of Northern Colorado). It was at UNC Jean completed her master's degree and their 2 nd

child was born. They eventually returned to Massachusetts when Jim took a professorship at

Springfield College.

They settled in Longmeadow. While raising the kids, Jean assumed leadership roles in a variety

of organizations. She had a very active Girl Scout Troop. One year she started a summer

program for inner city kids to be hosted by suburban families so they could enjoy the parks and

recreation amenities lacking in inner city Springfield. She became active in the civil rights

movement, where she found the silence of the Northern churches to be inexcusable. She held

leadership posts with the Longmeadow High School student exchange program with the Hopi

Nation, the American Field Service (AFS) student exchange program, and the A Better Chance

(ABC) student program. She did not neglect her degrees. She served as a substitute teacher,

sports referee, and eventually got her library credentials, and spent 15 years as an elementary

school librarian with Ludlow and Springfield public schools.

The family spent summers camping on Long Lake in Maine, with the sunfish sailboat, the canoe,

the reflector oven, and the huge dining fly. They took several long road trips around the country

with their little Heilite camping trailer, visiting friends, family, and the national parks. One

summer they took a 14-day oar-powered raft trip in the Grand Canyon.

During their travels in the US, they explored many retirement possibilities and chose

Albuquerque NM. Jean became involved in NM politics and Albuquerque Public Schools LGBT

task force. She and Jim ushered for 3 different cultural venues, and joined the local fitness

center, where they showed up at 7am every morning for a workout, swim, hot tub, sauna or all of

the above.

In 2013 they relocated to Windcrest retirement community in Highlands Ranch, CO to be close

to their daughter. They immediately became involved! Jean served as an ambassador for


prospective residents, on the welcome committee for new residents and in the genealogy club.

She helped start the Table Talk program, and the Diversity Inclusion and Belonging group.

For 4 decades Jean was deeply involved in PFLAG (Parents Family and Friends of Lesbians and

Gays), serving as a national Vice President, board member, and speakers bureau coordinator. In

these roles she spent thousands of hours writing op-eds, leading diversity training seminars, and

acting as a consultant to organizations who were seeking to improve their inclusivity. Her most

important legacy rests in the hearts, minds and lives of the hundreds of people she helped over

the years. For some, Jean’s willingness to act saved their lives.

Jean was an avid traveler who visited 64 countries and all 50 states during her lifetime. She and

husband Jim were in Dubai in 2019 as part of a 6-week, 3 country trip which they planned

specifically to occur while they were both 90 years old, and as a celebration of their 69th

wedding anniversary. While exiting the Dubai airport Jean experienced heart failure, collapsed

and died. There was no pain or suffering, just complete surprise. Her death certificate is in

Arabic, in the records of the Emirate of Dubai, and the US Department of State issued the Report

of Death of a U.S. Citizen Abroad.. Her travel insurance company was able to arrange cremation

at the local Hindu crematory, and even though she hated smoking, her ride home was in a cigar

box, as that was the most practical container available.

Jean was survived by her husband Jim (died Feb 2023), daughter Gail, son Gary, two

grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren.

The family is deeply appreciative of the willingness of Mile High Family Services to publish this

obituary several years after her death.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Jean Mae Boutwell Genasci, please visit our flower store.

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