Obituary: Geraldine Bean

Geraldine Bean (Photo courtesy CU-Boulder Alumni Association, CU Heritage Center)

Geraldine Bean, a Colorado native who received three degrees from the University of Colorado, taught at CU and served on the Board of Regents, died Nov. 30, 2012, in Louisville after a brief illness. She was 84.

She was born July 13, 1928, in Fort Morgan. After graduating from Fort Morgan High School in 1946, she married Manley L. Bean, an Air Force first lieutenant. The couple spent years overseas, but in 1958 returned to the United States and moved to Boulder. Geraldine Bean enrolled as a freshman at CU in 1962. She received her bachelor’s degree in 1966 and her Ph.D. in 1970. She taught history at CU and also was a research economist in the Department of Economics. She also taught economics at Colorado State University.

In 1972, she became the sixth woman in the history of the university to be elected to the Board of Regents, where she served a six-year term. In 1978, she was recognized by the board for her “emphasis on openness in board deliberations, continuing institutional dedication to the free exchange of ideas and preservation of an atmosphere conducive to learning scholarship and community service.”

In response to the recognition, Bean said: “ … The really great part of my association with the university has not only been the relationship which I have had with my fellow regents but also with the students, staff and the administration. I am sure that I have gained much more than I have given. I have gained an insight into what a university is really all about, and it is a lesson which I could not have learned under any other circumstances. I am grateful for that, and I am grateful to all of you for the courtesies, kindnesses and instruction which have been afforded me. Thank you very much. Again, it is not goodbye since I will be here. Now, I can write letters to the editor.”

She was given the title of Regent Emeritus of the University of Colorado during commencement ceremonies in May 1979.

Bean also wrote “Charles Boettcher: A Study in Pioneer Western Enterprise,” a book published in 1976. When she retired from teaching in 2004, she received a Presidential Citation for her service to CU.

Bean was a champion of women’s rights, was selected as an American Council on Education Fellow, served as vice chair of the Boulder County Democratic Party and was involved with numerous civic activities.

She is survived by her daughter Susan Alvey of Hotchkiss; son Mark Bean of Salisbury, Mass.;  and three siblings, Phyllis Dollerschell of Sterling; Jim Bowles of Piedmont, S.D.; and Richard Bowles of Woodland Park. She has five grandchildren and six great grandchildren.

Services were Wednesday in Lafayette. In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to Amesbury for Africa, P.O. Box 263, Amesbury, MA 01913. Donations will be used to buy books in English and Swahili for students at the Esabalu Primary Schools in Esabalu, Kenya.

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