Genevieve Richards
Genevieve Richards
Genevieve Richards

Obituary of Genevieve Richards

“Genevieve Richards, 92, passed away peacefully and surrounded by kindness and compassion on May 12, 2009, at her home at Frasier Meadows Assisted Living in Boulder, Colorado. She was born in Paris, France, in the midst of World War 1. Her mother, Angeline de Tarade, whose aristocratic father disowned her for marrying outside the nobility, ended up raising four daughters largely on her own after separating from her husband, Pierre Jarry. Genevieve, the youngest daughter, always had a nonconformist rebellious streak. As a girl she once arranged, without her mother’s permission, to be flown in the skies above Paris in one of the early (open cockpit!) airplanes. She loved to ride and jump horses, and defied the conventions of the times for proper young women by wearing pants and getting a job so she could support herself. As World War 2 neared, she worked as a script-girl at the Comite du Cinema and as a secretary for famed radio and film personality Saint-Granier. When the Nazis invaded, she took off on her bike, joining the mass exodus of civilians fleeing Paris–a harrowing though at times exhilarating experience she eloquently described in her short 1939 memoir “L’Exode.” Throughout the war she would frequently turn her back in defiance of marching Nazi troops. Genevieve dreamt of a life of adventure and working with wildlife, and always had a special connection with animals. However, with the end of WW2, most people of her generation settled down to raise families. Genevieve married John Livingston Richards in 1945 and started a family. They moved to New York City in the 1950s. Over the next two decades, Genevieve would be a housewife and mother to three daughters, a French tutor, and an office worker at the French Institute. After divorcing in the early 1960s, Genevieve never remarried. She lived independently in New York; Paris; Tampa, Florida; and Columbus, Ohio, before moving to Colorado in 2008. The words “feisty” and “fiercely independent” will always be attached to Genevieve’s memory. Throughout her life Genevieve despised abusive authority and, among other things, she long held, and made known, enlightened and accepting views toward homosexuals. Genevieve enjoyed drawing, doing jigsaw puzzles, flying kites, and she was particularly passionate about dogs. Never losing her wild side, she chose to go skydiving to celebrate her 80th birthday, and loved it so much she jumped again on two other occasions. She often proudly recounted the thrill of jumping from the plane and flying through the air. This was truly one of the highlights of her life. Genevieve is survived by her sister Magdeleine; her three daughters, Carol, Patricia, and Veronique; and her four grandchildren, Erell, Derek, Charlotte-Ann, and Jason, whose photos filled her room at Frasier Meadows and whose many accomplishments she took pride in. A celebration of Genevieve’s life will be held at a later time. Memorial contributions may be made to: Hospice of Boulder and Broomfield Counties, 2594 Trailridge Dr. East, Lafayette, CO 80026; Frasier Meadows Assisted Living, 4900 Thunderbird Dr., Boulder CO 80303; the Gorilla Foundation, Box 620530, Woodside CA 94062; an animal shelter of your choice; or simply do something kind for someone else.
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