Carrot and Ginger soup Memorial Service. A great way of remembering the life of our beloved Jeanette Roosevelt.

Jeanette S. Roosevelt died on October 15, 2019, at Kimball Farms Nursing Care Center, Lenox, almost two months after celebrating her 100th birthday.  

The Memorial Service for Jeanette was at St. Stephen's Parish, Pittsfield MA, this afternoon at three o'clock.  I could not be there, so I had my own time of remembrance; with food: -

My home made Carrot and Ginger Soup

Jeannette made her version of the soup, and served it to me and to others at her home in Berkshire County, MA some twenty five years ago.  I'd never before partaken of  it.  I liked it so much.  So it seemed right that my glad memories of her should be "prayed" this afternoon with my home made Ginger and Carrot Soup!  

I am getting a bit weepy as I drink the soup in remembrance of her.  I could  all to easily have an adjectival overload, and heart felt binge about Jeanette.

Instead I'll let you get to know her by reproducing her obituary.  

Make no mistake she was one of the "greats" of my life; and the lives of hundreds of others.


Her obit: 

Jeanette S. Roosevelt died on October 15, 2019, at Kimball Farms Nursing Care Center, Lenox, almost two months after celebrating her 100th birthday.  She was born in Hondo, Texas, the first of four children to John Emil and Willie Gayle Schlottmann.

    She received a B.S. degree in 1939 from, Texas State College for Women (TSCW).  It was there she first encountered modern dance, which became her passion and her career.  She taught for ten years at TSCW while earning her M. A. degree and co-authoring the five volume "Folk Dance Library."

    She came to New York in 1950 where she studied with Martha Graham, Jose Limon, Doris Humphrey and Louis Horst.  In 1951 she joined the faculty of Barnard College and continued graduate studies at Teachers College of Columbia University.

    In 1958 she was recruited by Connecticut College School of Dance and the American Dance Festival.  There she encountered most of the leading figures of modern dance early in their careers.  These included Merce Cunningham, Paul Taylor, Pearl Lang and Alvin Ailey.

    She married Curtis Roosevelt in 1961 and in 1963 moved back to New York where she returned to the faculty of Barnard College. 

 At Barnard she established the Department of Dance and served as chair of the department until she retired as Professor Emerita in 1986. She was recognized by students and colleagues with an award for "excellence in teaching and service to the Barnard community."  She was a founding member of the Congress on Research in Dance and the Society of Dance History Scholars.

    Jeanette first came to the Berkshires in 1941 to assist her mentor, Anne Schley Duggan, in giving classes at Jacob's Pillow.

 She and Curtis visited the area again when his daughter, Julianna, came to stay with them in the summer.  The beautiful view from a hill on an early fall day inspired their purchase of High Meadow Farm, with its old farmhouse and red barn, in the town of Washington.

    High Meadow served as a summer retreat from their home in Greenwich Village, N.Y.  Julianna and later her son, Nicholas spent many happy times there.  

Then a succession of young people in varying combinations lived in the house in the winter.  Some stayed in a cottage out back.  Typically for Jeanette, these have become life-long friends.  

Jeanette moved full-time to High Meadow in 1986 when she retired, a year after she and Curtis were divorced.

    Jeanette is a woman of deep faith.  In New York, she was a member of the Church of St. Luke in the Fields.  She volunteered with many of the church's service programs, especially for those afflicted with HIV/AIDS during the terrible epidemic of the 1980s. In the Berkshires she belonged to St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Pittsfield.

    She called retirement her "Third Act."  She enjoyed the wealth of arts in the area, notably the South Mountain concerts and Jacob's Pillow, where she also served on the board.  She devoted her considerable energies to friendships near and far, her legendary hospitality and volunteering.  At St. Stephen's she worked in numerous capacities to welcome and to serve.  She was a bill payer for many years for Elder Services and a tutor for Literacy Volunteers of Berkshire County.  The latter presented her with a plaque honoring her outstanding work from 1990 to 2001.  Generous to the last, she donated her body to science and would be delighted to know that she was accepted at Harvard Medical School.

    Jeanette moved to Kimball Farms in Lenox in 2006.  The last few years of her life she was lovingly cared for by the staff at their Nursing Care Center.


Those of us who are ordained christian ministers have the rich privilege of meeting women and men who enrich and inspire our lives.  Good ministry is always a two way street.


Popular posts from this blog

Brave Space not Safe Space

"A promise to Astrid" A book to buy.

That was the week that was