Genevieve Ann (Stevens) Gersbach

Genevieve Ann (Stevens) Gersbach

MADISON – Genevieve Ann (Stevens) Gersbach, of Madison, passed away on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014. She was born on July 22, 1926, in Ledyard, Iowa, the daughter of Helen Elizabeth Jordan and Thaddeus Alden Stevens.

She graduated from Tomah High School in Wisconsin in 1944 and moved to Madison where she worked for National Guardian Life Insurance. Genevieve married Phillip Martin Gersbach on Nov. 9, 1946.

Besides raising four children, she participated in many of the music activities offered  in the community and was vocal soloist for many groups throughout the state. Her vocal teacher, Vera Weikel Adams, encouraged her to open her own studio and continue her method of vocal technique. 

Genevieve felt that she needed a degree and so began her studies at the U.W. Madison, in 1964, where she earned both her Bachelor in 1967 and Masters of Music Degrees in 1973. She began teaching privately in her studio on the square while earning her degrees. Upon her graduation, she taught in the Verona School system where she also initiated their first string music program, with the advice and help from Professor Marvin Rabin.

In 1976, Genevieve began teaching in the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District, where she remained until her retirement in 1988, teaching Music Ed and Strings. While earning her degrees she also performed as soloist in several Operas at the University under the direction of Professor Karlos Moser.

She did programs for the USO, as well as performing with the capital city band under Elmer Ziegler and Jim Latimer, where she was vocal soloist, flutist and timpanist and acted as MC. As a member, she performed for the Allegro, Euterpe and Schubert Clubs. Also, the U.W. Opera, the Baroque and Philharmonic Choruses, the Madison Symphony Orchestra and the U.W. Harp Choir under Margaret Rupp Cooper.

Genevieve was the soloist at First Unitarian Society under the direction of Dr. Ellsworth Snyder for 30 years. She also served on the Board of Directors for the U.W. School of Music Alumni Association for several years. Genevieve enjoyed serving on many First Unitarian committees. She also performed at retirement centers for many years.

After retirement, in 1988, she taught Voice, Strings, Piano and Flute for Ward-Brodt Music Mall for eight years. She continued to present programs and recitals until well into her 80’s.

Genevieve is survived by her children, Susanna Hungerford, Joanna Gersbach, Gregory (Debra Blankenheim) Gersbach and Roch (Kristi) Gersbach; and brother, Richard Stevens. She is further survived by her granddaughter, Megan (Jeremiah) Villarreal; a great-granddaughter, Erin; a great-grandson, Sean; brother, Richard Stevens; and special friends.

Genevieve was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Phillip; a sister, Jane Franken; a brother, Francis Stevens and son-in-law David Hungerford.

A Memorial Celebration of Life will be held at FIRST UNITARIAN SOCIETY, 900 University Bay Drive, Madison, on Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014. Visitation will begin at 5 p.m. with services at 6 p.m., with the Reverend Michael Schuler presiding. 

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to American Cancer Research, Lung Research, Diabetes Foundation or First Unitarian Music Fund. Thank you to all the staff at U.W. Hospital for the great care they provided for Mom. 

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