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Obituaries

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Genny Chapman

After a long and colorful life, Genny Chapman died on November 13th, three days before her 88th birthday. Born Genevieve Marian Hennessy in 1927, Genny and her older brother were first-generation San Franciscans raised by Irish immigrant parents. The families of both her parents settled in the Sunset District and her early years passed surrounded by a large extended family. She attended Star of the Sea Grammar and high schools in San Francisco, and graduated from University of California, Berkeley in 1949.
Following graduation, Genny joined the U.S. Foreign Service and was posted to Germany to work on the administrative team responsible for rewriting the German constitution after WWII. She served for several years, but when her parents learned that her next post would be Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, they felt is was too far away, so she left the Foreign Service and returned to the U.S. Seeking more adventure and big city life, Genny moved to New York City, where she became the fashion editor for Everywoman's magazine. While in New York, she met her future husband, Bryan Chapman, an Englishman pursuing a graduate degree at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. They were married in London in 1958 and moved to San Francisco after the birth of their first child a year later.
In the mid-1960s, Genny, Bryan and their four children moved to Tiburon, where they built a house overlooking the Racoon Strait on a lot that at the time was thought to be "unbuildable." The family moved into the house before it was finished and Genny spent those early days trying to prevent her children from hurting themselves playing in a home that most closely resembled a jungle gym, while scheduling contractors, working on various school functions, civic affairs and political campaigns. In the early 1970s, Genny obtained her real estate license, and spent the next 40 years selling residential real estate in southern Marin County, most of the time working for herself.
In her 50 years as a resident of Tiburon and Marin County, Genny was very active in her community. She helped pass bond issues that established open space in Tiburon, was a key member of the steering committee to build the new library, and served on the board of Catholic Charities, to name a few of her many contributions. This last year, Genny published an autobiography titled, "No Regrets: A Long and Lucky Life."
Genny will be remembered for her sense of humor, intelligence, fiery and engaging personality, generosity, strength and care for others.
She is survived by her four children, Colin, Moira, Geoffrey and Owen, and six grandchildren, Nicholas, Gretchen, Aidan, Kai, Bryan and Toby. A memorial service will be held on January 9th, 2016, at 11 a.m. at St. Mary Magdalene Church, 16 Horseshoe Hill Road in Bolinas. Donations in Genny's memory may be sent to Hospice by the Bay, 17 E. Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Larkspur, CA 94939.

(Published December 16, 2015)

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