Jean Galusha, longtime resident of the Doak Walker Care Center, passed away quietly Dec. 1, 2010. Although Jean loved her view of Mount Werner, the frequent parade of hot air balloons and the romping children seen from her window at Doak Walker, she was a Montanan to her core.
Born in Seattle, she was raised on a dairy farm in the Helena Valley of Montana. There she developed her passion for horses, the Big Sky, classical music and Western history. Jean became involved with Helena’s Archie Bray Foundation, the internationally recognized center for the ceramic arts. Her involvement with Archie Bray led to a lifelong admiration and support of potters and their work.
Jean attended the University of Washington, studying piano. She left her studies early to work for her cousin who was involved in the construction of an auxiliary set of locks in Panama. Her time in Panama provided her family and friends a multitude of adventure stories. When she returned to Montana, she met Hugh Galusha, the love of her life. He courted her on horseback and with long evenings listening to classical music, their mutual passion. In 1944, against the wishes of Hugh’s mother, they married and started their family in Helena.
Hugh, a rising star in the world of economics, uprooted his family after 20 years in the Helena Valley and moved them to Minneapolis to become the president of the Ninth Federal Reserve District. Jean met the challenge of becoming “citified” with grace and aplomb. She became involved in a multitude of volunteer activities, including the Friends of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Paige Hall, part of the Phyllis Wheatley Project, and the Hammer School, a residence for mentally challenged young adults.
When Hugh died tragically in 1971, Jean found strength from their great love, admirably and unfalteringly carrying on, adding gardening and birding to her long list of interests. She became a member of a peripatetic club, learning for the love of learning, in the spirit of Aristotle.
Unfortunately, Jean’s dementia began to take its toll in her early 80s, causing her to become more dependent on family. No one was surprised when she took this new challenge as she had so many others, with the serenity and gentleness that she carried forward to the end. One of the most common descriptions of Jean these past few years was that she set the example of how to age gracefully.
Jean is survived by her four children, Duncan Galusha and Socorro Galusha Luna, of Coolidge, Ariz., and their children Paz, Luz and Cole Bratcher; Emily Galusha and Don McNeil, of Minneapolis; Hope and Mike Cook, of Steamboat Springs and their children Amelia, Geno and Katie Cook, and great-grandson Rowan; and Molly Galusha and Grant Parker, of Missoula, Mont., and their children Matthew and Jackson.
Jean Galusha who was much loved by her family and friends, will be sorely missed. She’s “slipped the surly bonds of earth … to touch the face of God.”