Genevieve (Rozmus) Gallagher passed away December 2nd, 2023, following a long and painful battle with Psoriatic Arthritis. Genevieve, better known as “Jean,” was born February 28th, 1949 to John & Matilda (Buchala) Rozmus in Buffalo, New York. She is survived by her loving husband of 56 years, John “Jack” Gallagher of Poulsbo, Washington, her three children, Michelle (Sean) Eaton, Melissa (Jason) Lyon, and Patrick (Olymar) Gallagher, four grandchildren, three great grandchildren, her sister, Katherine (Joseph) Mancini, and many nieces and nephews.
Jean’s father died when she was very young, so she understood loss, responsibility, and the love of family. To help her mother Jean went to work at age 14 and by the time she was about to graduate from Bishop McMahon High School in Buffalo she held two jobs, managed the household finances, and, proudly, had paid for her education herself.
She met Jack while both worked at a Buffalo hospital and they married right after she graduated in 1967. They moved to Great Falls, Montana where he was stationed in the Air Force. Their first child was born there shortly before Jack was reassigned to Wiesbaden, Germany, where their other two children were born. Being a young mother and wife in a foreign country was challenging but Jean’s sense of love, adventure, and pragmatism grew stronger. She truly was the heart and guiding beacon of her family. She encouraged and guided her husband and children to be the best they could be and felt so much joy in each of their successes.
Jean’s family returned to Montana, Jack left the Air Force, and they bought their first house. Jean went back to work to help support the family. She became a job placement coordinator, worked in banking, finance, sales, and child support welfare enforcement, which included a medical component. She wore many hats outside the home but at home, she was the best wife and mom ever.
She had long desired to become a medical care giver and she saw an opportunity to create a path to that end. Given her persistence and experiences, Jean became a hospital emergency room admissions receptionist, then a front office person for a physician group practice. As her medical experience grew, she became aware there were really no opportunities for further education.
At this time Healthcare needed more nurses but there weren’t enough, and the concept of medical assistants was in its infancy elsewhere. Jean contacted the national association and got one of her doctors to sponsor her in establishing a medical training and certification program in Montana. She and two friends were the very first Certified Medical Assistants in the State and they founded the Montana Association of Certified Medical Assistants. She was their founding president.
With her “CMA” credentials, Jean became a medical practice manager and also taught future Medical Assistants. Suffering debilitating health issues in mid-career, Jean found she could no longer work. But that didn’t stop her. She ultimately became a hospital volunteer and continued to contribute her skill and knowledge to patients and families.
Jack’s career brought Jean and two of their children to Kitsap County in Washington State in 1991. After her oldest daughter gave Jean her first grandchild, she “helped out” once again providing day care for him and later for her second grandson. To her, that was by far the very best “job” of all. She always had the same love, joy, and determination in raising her own children, but grandchildren were pure joy to be with. Some years later her son and his wife gave Jean two granddaughters who were the brightest blossoms in her heart.
Besides her love of children, Jean loved dogs. Her younger daughter shared that love with her mom. Jean always referred to her daughter's 10 Bassets over the years laughingly as her "grand dogs" and counted them as family also.
Sadly, Jean fought many illnesses throughout her life, yet she never wanted to be defined by those illnesses. Her own independence, strength, determination, and sense of humor allowed her to experience life. But her health challenges also made it difficult for her to fully realize all her dreams. She poured what she could into supporting those whom she loved so they were able to realize their passions. Jean took tremendous pride in their successes.
We will forever miss the strength of her love and the sound of her laughter.
Cremation has taken place. A celebration of Jean’s life will be held at 2:00 pm on January 10th, 2024 at Saint Cecelia’s Catholic Church, 1310 Madison Avenue North, Bainbridge Island, Washington with a reception immediately following.
Anyone wishing to send a memorial in Jean’s name may do so to either of the following:
1510 NW Maple St
Issaquah, WA 98027
(Designate "Bremerton" in comments)
Wyoming Basset Hound Rescue
PO Box 2131
Cody, Wyoming 82414