Eugenia Bauer Bresnan was born on June 24, 1946 to Elizabeth Cary Bresnan and Joseph Anthony Bresnan in New Orleans, Louisiana. Her father was a captain in the Coast Guard, having landed on Utah beach in Normandy on D-Day and participating later in the liberation of Sicily and Tripoli in North Africa . Genie also had a brother, Joseph Anthony Jr., older by four and a half years. Because of her father's military career, the family moved every two years. After New Orleans, Genie lived in Long Beach, California; Seattle, Washington; Staten Island, New York; Rockville, Maryland; and Virginia Beach, Virginia. Genie attended high school at Norfolk Academy in Virginia Beach, graduating in 1964.
In 1969, after four years of study and a year of travel in Europe, Genie received a BA in applied art from Connecticut College for Women in New London, Connecticut, the school from which her mother had also graduated and where her maternal grandfather had taught music. Besides applied art, Genie studied art history and minored in English. She made many life-long friends at college, including Rosemary Jenseth, Sue Ladr, Donna Matthews, and Arlene Kirwan Avellanet. With Sue and Rosemary, Genie would later found small businesses. At around this time, her brother, Joe Jr., went to California to study at Humboldt State College. Later, he and his wife, Judy, decided to settle in Northern California, where Joe found a position in the lumber industry. They raised a family of three daughters -- Hettie, Mary, and Alice -- in the beautiful area near Eureka. Genie's father also retired from active duty in the Coast Guard at this time, and Genie's parents moved to Wethersfield, Connecticut, where they lived in a lovely colonial house on Main Street for many years. Genie and John shared many wonderful holidays there with her Uncle Edward and his wife, Linda, and their son, Karl.
After graduating from Conn College, Genie headed to Boston and worked for a while as a salesperson in the Acoustic Research showroom in Harvard Square. She lived with her friend Sue in Inman Square.
The next year, in 1970, she began her first career, that of museum work, at the Hartford Atheneum in Hartford, Connecticut. She lived with her parents in Wethersfield. Not long afterwards, Genie accepted the position of Curator of Education at the Portland Museum of Art in Portland, Maine. She administered a broad spectrum of art courses for children there and hired instructors to teach these courses. At the museum, Genie met Lindy Lyman, a fellow artist, who would become a life-long friend. For a year, Genie, Rosemary, and Lindy lived together in a rambling house on a horse farm in Cumberland, Maine. Genie met her future husband, John Seybold, when he interviewed with her for a position as a film teacher in the program at the museum. He didn't get the job, but he got her heart.
Genie and John fell in love. John moved into the house Genie was renting on Prout's Neck in Scarborough, Maine. While Genie worked at the museum, John worked as an academic assistant at Pineland State Hospital. In June of 1972, they left the house on Prout's Neck and began a two-year journey through the Near East. In the lingo of the day, they became "world travelers."
Genie and John spent four months on the island of Paros in the Greek Cyclades, eight months in villages of Avcilar and Bodrum in Turkey, and six months in Herat and Kabul in Afghanistan. In Kabul, Genie taught art to the children of foreign diplomats at the American High School and also taught riding at a stable to the foreign diplomats themselves. John taught English to college-age Afghans for the US Information Service. Genie and John stayed at the American Embassy in Kabul for three days when the King of Afghanistan was toppled in 1973. They had planned to travel on to India to live on a houseboat in Kashmir, but then felt the fatigue of long-term travel, and decided to return to Europe, where they spent another few months, mainly in Paris. In October of 1973, they arrived back in the US. Genie returned to her parents' home in Wethersfield, Connecticut, and John returned to his family in Chicago.
John proposed marriage to Genie over the phone, and they were married at the First Church in Wethersfield, Connecticut on the full moon in February of 1974. They honeymooned in New Orleans. Genie accepted a new position at the Delgado Museum there, but then discovered she was pregnant. Liza Maine Seybold was born in November of 1974. Meanwhile, John continued his work in special education. After two and a half years in New Orleans, they moved to Chicago, where John began graduate work in Near Eastern Studies at the University of Chicago. While John pursued his studies, Genie tended to Liza, took art courses at the Chicago Art Institute, and graded papers for a nearby correspondence school. In March of 1979, Molly Cary Seybold was born. The family stayed in Chicago for four years, John receiving an MA and passing his entrance exams to PhD candidacy. They enjoyed frequent visits with John's sister, Maddy, and her family and with John's mother. They also acquired their beloved family dog, Amos, while living in Chicago.
in September of 1980, Genie and John moved to Massachusetts, first to a rented Victorian farm house in Sudbury. They lived there happily for three years, with John working first as a ranger at Walden State Park and then as a technical writer at Prime Computer in Framingham. It was in Sudbury that Genie started her first company. She and her friend Sue founded Policarpo Tile Works. Among many beautiful creations, they produced a large number of tiles adapted from a wall of medieval Catalan tiles at the Gardner Museum. They hand-painted the tiles, had them fired at a local studio, and sold them at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Later Genie became aware of the possible health hazards of the chemicals used in the painting process; Sue and her husband were expecting their first child, and Genie and Sue decided to close their business.
Genie and John moved to Newburyport in 1983, first to a rented house on Merrill Street. The next year, they bought a half-house on Collins Street where they remained for eight years. While John worked at Prime, Genie had a series of part-time jobs in Newburyport, the longest lasting one as a waitress at the Coffee Aroma coffeehouse. She also started her second business there, White Gate Video. She and her friend, Debby Metivier, videotaped individual rides at dressage competitions and then sold the videos to the riders or their parents. Throughout her life, Genie loved riding horses -- from the mischievous, retired circus pony on the farm her parents rented in Rockville to Dancing Andrea, the dressage horse Genie trained on and showed at Black Magic Farm outside of Newburyport. The commercial experience with White Gate reignited Genie's love of video, with which she had experimented in college. She and her friend Rosemary became volunteer producers at Channel 11 in New Hampshire, where, for a period of two years, they made a remarkable series of short documentaries for the show "New Hampshire Crossroads." Genie and Rosemary dreamed of becoming full-time documentary film makers. In 1986, Genie began her next career, a long tenure at the University of Lowell, later UMass Lowell. She started as a publicist for the Center of the Arts there and later became a publicist for the whole university. In all, Genie spent twelve years at UMass Lowell. It was at the university that she met and worked with her dear friend, Jeanne Fonda. Meanwhile, Rosemary transitioned into the business of wedding videography.
In 1992, Genie and John moved to Concord, living for six years in a condo on Belknap Street and then moving to a single family home next door. They had many wonderful neighbors, including Deborah Pease and Lillian Anderson. During this time, Genie visited her aging parents often and arranged for their care. For several years, Yvonne Williams and several others provided wonderful in-home care for Genie's parents. Joe passed away at home in 1998 and Cary in 2008. They are buried in Wethersfield.
In 1998, Genie decided to join Rosemary in the the wedding videography business. She left the university, and the two of them founded AfterImage Productions. Genie did meticulous, lyrical work at AfterImage for almost fifteen years. Her clients loved her and her work. AfterImage also did corporate video work, used mainly for fund raising, and public service work. Genie made many dear friends in the wedding industry, especially Claudia Kronenberg, Corinne Schippert, and Winslow Martin. AfterImage Productions was successful and is still going strong.
Meanwhile, Molly, living in England after getting a BA in media communicateions from the London College of Printing, married Richard Ascroft. They had Miles Henry Ascroft in June of 2008 and Edward Cary Ascroft in March of 2010. Molly and Richard live today in Brighton on the English Channel. Liza, living in California after her graduation from Sarah Lawrence College, married Christopher Patnoe, and had Lola Mac Patnoe on July 4, 2008. Liza and Christopher live today in Palo Alto. In recent years, Genie and John delighted in visiting their two daughters' families and having the chance to explore California and England.
Shortly after returning from a trip to Yosemite in May of 2011 with Liza, Christopher, and Lola, Genie was diagnosed with Grade 4 Glioblastoma, the same type of brain cancer that took Teddy Kennedy. She had brain surgery at Brigham and Women's Hospital and then received radiation therapy at the Bethke Cancer Center at Emerson Hospital in Concord. Later her course of treatment shifted to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, where she underwent chemotherapy for about a year, entering into several clinical trials of new anti-cancer drugs. In September of 2012, she was advised not to pursue further treatment, but rather to aim at making her remaining time as comfortable as possible. She received wonderful home health care from Parmenter Community Health Care and then entered their hospice program. She was in the hospice program for only two weeks before her passing. During her last two weeks, the progress of the illness accelerated dramatically although she suffered no pain -- one of the few blessings of brain cancer.
Genie passed away peacefully at home on the evening of November 14, alone with Liza and John. They held her and talked to her as she took her last breath, surrounded by love.
Genie was a delicate, refined spirit with exquisite aesthetic sense. First and foremost, she was an artist, beautifully inventive in many media, including drawing, watercolor, oil painting, photography, and videography. Genie had art in her blood as both her mother and maternal grandmother were talented artists. But beyond her artistic creativity was an intrepid love of entrepreneurship; Genie was involved in the founding of three small companies, all successful. She was feisty and spunky, never hesitating to express her own opinion and always loving a good argument. Her friends and colleagues respected her integrity, joie de vivre, and impeccable taste. Genie fought her illness with great determination and courage, believing in the excellence of her team of doctors at the Bethke Cancer Center and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Towards the end, she said she was satisfied with her life and felt that it had been good. Her only real regret was that she would not live to see what would become of her beloved grandchildren -- Lola, Miles, and Teddy. Certainly, all of Genie's family and friends miss her more than words can say.
Arrangements under the care of Concord Funeral Home, Concord, MA.
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