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Jean Grossholtz

Jean Grossholtz

UPDATE: If you missed Jean's memorial and would like to watch a video recording of Jean's memorial celebration, please email Nancy at [email protected]

Biography


"Badass", “Legendary”, “Larger than Life”, “Brilliant”, “Life changing”, a “Blessing”, “Inspiring”, “Extraordinary”...these are words that Mount Holyoke College alumnae use today to describe Professor Emeritus Jean Grossholtz, who taught at Mount Holyoke College over a span of 4 decades. She founded the Women's Studies department and managed to touch, stir, and ignite the lives of countless women in deep and profound ways. As a South East Asian specialist, Jean thought and taught through a global perspective, decolonizing education by asking: “How do you know what you know?”. Jean taught us to question everything, to ask ourselves: "who benefits?", and said "Because we assume scarcity, we cannot imagine equality". 


She was a founding member of Diverse Women for Diversity, an international group of environmental activists, created on the principles of biodiversity and eco-feminism. Jean, the activist, protested in rallies and marches all over the world, for various causes from women's rights to environmental justice, from labor rights to food security, and propelled her students to do the same. Jean created havoc wherever she went in her fight for justice. Her commitment to non-violent civil disobedience led to a record number of arrests all over the globe. 


Jean achieved distinguished academic recognition while staying true to her working class roots. She enlisted in the army where she was awarded a medal for good conduct, only to later protest outside army recruitment centers and fervently participate in anti-war rallies. Jean, the mentor, spoke about dismantling the social construct of "body image", and then at age 65 went on to win the silver medal in body building at the Gay Games. Jean ate salt with popcorn (not the other way around) and did what her rice krispies told her to do, which was to snap, crackle, and pop. Jean taught us that we could solve life's problems through quiet contemplation and introspection while solving jigsaw puzzles. Jean loved to read, to walk her dogs, and was the star pitcher on her softball team “Hot Flashes”. 


As an out and proud lesbian, Jean opened up her home to countless lesbians who desperately sought chosen families. Jean’s partner of 35 years Eileen Elliott predeceased her and she is survived by her brother Dean, his wife Lucy, other members of her biological family, Eileen’s family, and by many devoted members of her chosen family. Jean's passion and fire for social justice was contagious and on February 9th 2021, she left behind generations of fueled activists who are following her unfinished dream of smashing the patriarchy, dismantling racism, defeating capitalism, fighting for equality, and caring for the environment. Jean will be remembered for her sense of humor, her generous, giving, and helping spirit that stayed intact till the very end.


Contributions in Jean's name can be made to:


ARISE for Social Justice in Springfield, MA - Jean participated in advocacy and action with ARISE. She had a close alliance with her friend Michaelann Bewsee and believed in the mission of bringing people together to fight for their rights, to housing, criminal justice, environmental justice, and public health.


https://www.arisespringfield.org/donate


or


All Out Adventures - As a female veteran, over 65, Jean was eligible for several of their fabulous programs. Jean enjoyed participating and telling people about biking, kayaking, snowshoeing, skating, hiking, sledding. This was all while she was in her late 80s.


https://alloutadventures.z2systems.com/np/clients/alloutadventures/donation.jsp?campaign=8


or


Mount Holyoke College - Jean was a great supporter of the Frances Perkins Scholars, and gifts made to this effort would directly benefit students. To make a gift by check, include a note designating your gift "in memory of Jean Grossholtz, for MHF Frances Perkins Scholarship Aid", and mail to:Office of DevelopmentMount Holyoke CollegePO Box 889South Hadley, MA  01075


To make a gift online, go to Choose "Scholarship Support for FP Students" from the drop down menu in the gift designation area.Enter Jean's name in the "In Memory Of" section.


mtholyoke.edu/go/mhcgive

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Family

About

Name Jean Grossholtz
Date of Death February 9th, 2021
Home Town South Hadley, MA, US 
Favourite Saying I'm glad you got to see me
In Memoriam Donation Please see the Bio/Obituary for Donation suggestions
Milestone

Milestones

1961 - 1999 Professor, Mount Holyoke College

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Tributes



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Susan Woods published a tribute .

Susan Woods' tribute given at Jean Grossholtz Zoom memorial, March 7, 2021

My name is Susan Woods. I knew Jean as a friend. 10 Jewett Lane was my home throughout most of the 1970’s. Going back there always felt like family - safe and welcomed.

I graduated from Mount Holyoke College but never had Jean as a teacher. I never experienced her eye-opening, life changing impact in the classroom. However, I have come to appreciate what that experience must have been like.

Toward the end of her life, I worked with Jean on her unfinished manuscript - .Rethinking the World I realize now she was pulling together the political philosophy she developed through her years of teaching. What began as a gesture of friendship, I now consider an honor.

When we started, her eyesight was severely deteriorated; she could barely see to read. She was in the mid-stages of dementia. But she loved talking about her ideas and continued to challenge her own thinking with the unanswered questions in her mind – there was something about the role of the state. “We think about it like a box,” she’d say drawing a square in the air with her finger, then waving that finger around as if searching for the answer she hadn’t quite worked out. She’d push herself by asking: How do we know what we know?
And I realized this was her method.

Then we’d read some more and come across an absolutely brilliantly succinct and powerful sentence - just lying there on the page. She wrote: Because we assume scarcity; we cannot imagine equality. When we‘d come to something she liked, she’d underline it and say Yes! Yes!

Jean had concluded that the constructs of Western thought and philosophy distort human community and prevent achievement of justice and just governance. This manuscript is her rejection of Western thought, which she labeled ‘whiteness’ ― a view of the world based on the belief in a hierarchical male-gendered god in the sky, the protection of private property ownership above all else, and science viewed as control over nature.

She was synthesizing what she had learned through her working-class upbringing, her wide-ranging scholarship, her lesbian identity, her activism, her observations of life, community and nature, here and around the globe.

She concluded that we could never create revolution, thinking the way we were taught - through the lens of ‘whiteness’. The best could be accomplished is reform. She was creating a political theory – philosophy - to rethink the world.

We made it mid-way through the third chapter. We worked together until her joy gave way to anxiety. That her final manuscript remains a work-in-progress is a loss and a challenge for us to continue.

Jean, may your kindness and gaiety, your brilliance and courage, your descriptiveness and life-pursuit of justice be the inspiration you leave us all.. Much love always.

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Marsha Simon published a tribute .

Jean Grossholtz was my advisor/mentor at Mount Holyoke College. I went to graduate school at MIT partially at her urging because she had earned her Ph.D. there and had loved the program. Of course, she was appointed to be an evaluator of the program when I was a first year Ph.D. candidate and burst out of the meeting cursing the sexist male leadership of the department — she was right of course.

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Nancy Richard published a tribute .

Nancy Richard’s tribute given at Jean Grossholtz Zoom memorial, March 7, 2021
Unlike many of you I didn’t have a Mt. Holyoke or even an activist connection to Jean. Jean and I share the same birthday—April 17, and because of that we’ve been fast friends for forty years.

For most of those years, we took a birthday trip to someplace warm. We looked for birds and animals and of course great food and drink.

I don’t think I’ve ever been more proud of Jean than in the last few years, when the essential Jean shone through her decrepitude (a word she would use).

She faced her greatest fear when she started forgetting her words. At first it was frustrating for her to search for the right word, then she just substituted other words, and then— so she could talk non-stop and seamlessly— she just made up words and added them where they needed to be. You either kept up or you didn’t.

Losing her sight was the next big challenge. Reading was so important to Jean, it was a sad day when we cancelled the NYTimes, and she had little patience for sitting still to listen to an audiobook.

She still had her bodybuilder legs, incredible hearing, sense of humor, a growing sense of adventure, and her usual kindness and generosity. By the time she moved to Orchard Valley, she was ready to take care of everyone there and enjoy herself doing it.

She told overworked and underpaid staff daily how much she loved them and how beautiful they were. She always insisted on helping them do just about everything. She wanted to make everyone’s life a little easier. She was repaid with laughter, hugs and admiration.

Jean also never lost her sense of justice and her need to change the world. She never stopped working on a plan for how the work could continue and each of us play a part.

Jean could be hard on herself. She never thought she worked hard enough— never accomplished enough. I tried to remind her of all the people whose lives she touched.

And here you are just : some of you. There are lots more. One of the last tributes I read last night was from a student. She said, Thank you professor Grossholtz. The world is changed because of you. So there, my friend, it must be true.

Nancy Richard’s tribute given at Jean Grossholtz Zoom memorial, March 7, 2021

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Joan E. Biren / Jeb published a tribute .

Remarks at Jean’s Celebration on March 7, 2021 by Joan E. Biren / JEB

Hi, I’m Joan or JEB coming to you from unceded Piscataway land outside Washington, DC. I want to say that if I cry, I’m ok with that. I met Jean as a student at Mt. Holyoke in the 1960s. We became buddies when she brought me back to campus to do my lesbian slide show. Having Jean (this is the butch cry—gives permission to everybody from now on) Having Jean as a loving friend for so long is one of the greatest gifts of my life. And because I can’t talk about it as well as Jean, here are Jean’s words, written in 1987, to go with her photographs in my book, “Making A Way: Lesbians Out Front.”

"My life is wonderful, exciting and rich with friends, ideas and fun. I am 58 years old, a revolutionary, a lesbian, a political activist, a teacher and pitcher on the premier women’s softball team of Western Massachusetts, The Hot Flashes. I have been a lesbian all my life. I love women and have been loved by some wondrous women. And I am both envious and proud of the young women I teach who fall in and out of love, dance and sing and carry on with women right here on this campus. I like to think that I had something to do with that and I like to know that the fear and pain of living in the closet is on the way to extinction."

The following video is an excerpt from a talk in which Jean, in her Resist t-shirt, described how difficult and how necessary it was for her to be the first lesbian on the faculty to come out. The video is from 2017, in the Marks House at MHC. [the video was shown at the zoom gathering. Here is a photograph of Jean and me.]

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Diana published a comment .

I'm so grateful to you butch lesbians who led the way.

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Carollee Bengelsdorf published a tribute .

And ah! Jewitt Lane. I came for a day with my pooch Luc oh so many years ago and stayed for about a year or so, and on and off for a decade or so.. The pooch stayed even longer..

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Sonali Gulati published a comment .

If you'd like to watch the video recording of Jean's memorial service, please email Nancy at nrich[email protected]

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Carollee Bengelsdorf published a tribute .

Jeannie was the single most courageous person any of us will ever know. She never stopped fighting with her voice, with he mind, with her feet, with her whole being, for what she knew was right. No matter what it cost her. And she never stopped fighting for those she loved, no matter what it cost her. I know this from so well from personal experience. And to top it off, she had a fabulous sense of humor.. There are some [people who are irreplaceable. Jeannie was one such person.

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Jan Preston Griffin published a tribute .

My mother Alice Preston worked for Professor Lucian Pye at MIT in the early,mid 60s. She was great friends with Jean. What a wonderful gift Jean was to our lives.

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Chauncy Young published a tribute .

Walking into Jean's class changed the course of my life forever. I was a college student at Hampshire College, studying genetics and education, but I had decided to take a women's studies course at Mt Holyoke. Jean challenged my beliefs and direction in life. I was a true Boy Scout, wanting only to do good in the world, and yet unaware of the harm my worldview could cause. I had been studying to become a scientist to help people, the planet and perhaps to be a teacher as many of my family had done so before me.

Jean didn't just challenge my understanding about patriarchy, capitalism, colonialism, and history of gender violence. Jean took interest in me as a student and soon became my mentor, and later, one of my closest friends.

Jean talked to me about the movement against genetically modified plants, shared with me her work with Vandana Shiva with Diverse Women for Diversity. I realized that if I continued studying genetics I might spend my life producing GMO pesticide resistant crops for a corporation, which led to the privatization of seeds, once the property of the farmer, now to be purchased each year, along with its fertilizer and pesticides. Genetics and agriculture could both bankrupt the earth and traditional farmers.

I left Hampshire before finishing, uncertain about my direction in life but knowing I needed to do more. Jean was there for me, and we continued to have conversations about gender violence and the fights against GMOs around the world and the effects of NAFTA and global trade agreements. I volunteered in a Batterer’s Treatment Program in Amherst and joined as a youth leader in a mentoring program to teach about healthy relationships called Life After School.

Jean connected me with Arise for Social Justice and my first experience of community organizing. I would come to love Arise and MichealAnn and serve on the Board. During the two years I lived in the Happy Valley I worked at Bread and Circus (now Whole Foods in Hadley, MA) stayed connected to my friends at Hampshire and connected to Jean and the growing Global Justice Movement.

When I decided to return to College, I entered into the Social Thought and Political Economy and Women's Studies programs at the University of Massachusetts at the suggestion of Jean and an advisor at Hampshire. I was returning to school as an activist and to organize my fellow classmates. Jean was organizing the valley’s response to corporate globalization and I would help bring in the five colleges. As an older student, focused on organizing, I found myself often in the hall of the Graduate Labor Studies Program and in the offices of the Graduate Employee Union UAM Local 2322.

We started organizing up prior to traveling to Seattle for the 1999 Meeting of the World Trade Organization, forming the Western Massachusetts Global Action Coalition (WMGAC) as our broader coalition and MassAction as the heart of our student organizing. We hosted Vandana Shiva, Ralph Nader, and a Global Caravan on Corporate Globalization.

Traveling with Jean and others from Western Mass showed us that another world was possible. We met the incredible organizers Lisa Fithian and David Solnit, I received my first nonviolent civil disobedience training and met in spokescouncils for the first time representing our individual groups and organizations

The Battle In Seattle as our demonstration came to be known, brought the attention of the nation and the world on problems with corporate globalized trade. The Five Colleges came together with Jean as our mentor, with incredible organizing on all campuses, and our joint coordination committee, WMGAC and MassAction, raised $50,000 in a few months and organized 700 people from across the Valley to participate in the demonstrations against the World Bank and IMF in Washington DC.

Our movement and our connections continued to grow, and always Jean’s connections to the movement both locally and around the world made everything come together. We helped organize the New England Global Action Network to bring together all of the Global Action Networks throughout the New England Area and held the first meeting at Worcester.

Jean connected us to the Global Action Network and we began communicating and coordinating to organize larger regional and national demonstrations, including traveling to Canada both for demonstrations in Windsor, June 1, 2000, and Quebec City, April 20, 2001 (A20) protesting against the Free Trade Area of the Americans. I found a report Jean wrote about our experience in Windsor here: https://www.nadir.org/nadir/initiativ/agp/free/ftaa/oas.htm

All of our organizing led to us hosting the first Convening of the North American Global Action Network, which we held at the University of Massachusetts June 1st to 3rd, 2001. This incredible undertaking was made possible only due the work of many, I experienced my first organizer burnout as one of the coordinators of the conference and had to step back and ask for help from Michael Aleo and Jean. We hosted Óscar Olivera and learned about the Cochabamba Water Wars in Bolivia and the fight against the privatization of water and heard from many leaders throughout North America.

Then came September 11th, and the movement was derailed. My daughter, Isabel, was born August 16th, 2002, with Jean as her godmother. Analiz and I moved to New York City where I first organized with 1199 SEIU, and found my life’s work as an organizer for educational justice.

Jean and I still spoke regularly and hosted us several times a year at her home at 10 Bridge. When Jean told me she was moving, I even dreamed of buying her home and continuing the community in the Valley. Later that my daughter might go to Smith, Mt. Holyoke or Amherst, we would again see Jean, and eat lunch as we did so frequently. Isabel is eighteen now and has applied to Smith and Mt Holyoke, unfortunately, Jean will be with us all only in memory.
But we can still organize and build community.

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Nancy Richard published a comment .

Tuck, I remember you had an influence on Jean's sense of fashion. She loved the pants that the boys wore with stripes down the side. I took her shopping.

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Chauncy Young published a comment .

Thanks, Nancy, I forgot to sign in as Chauncy "Tuck" Young, as all my Western Mass friends know me by my nickname. Hoping to see Michael, Jo, DO, Mary, Tim, Jen, Vandana, and so many others who organized with Jean throughout the decades.

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Nemata Blyden published a comment .

I took Jean’s Political Science course. We knew coming in we would all get an A because that was her policy. Despite that I think it was a class I worked very hard in. Jean was a charismatic professor and even though I don’t remember much about the content I remember her passion and call for us to be good citizens.

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Maria-Stella Fountoulakis published a tribute .

Professor Grossholtz completely changed my life. She opened my eyes to the dynamics of gender, power, and society as a young high school graduate, and gave the injustices I noticed in the world a name, structure, meaning, and revealed their patterns and purpose. She empowered me like no other professor. I have undoubtedly unknowingly quoted her throughout my life since college. And I have kept all my papers with her comments and notes on them. She only gave us pass/fail - all she wanted to know was, did you get it, or not? Her teachings changed me on a cellular level. She was a living example of the guts I wished to emulate. She questioned everything with an ownership and pathos that inspired me. "Why not?" or "Why?" Why should things be this way? Who benefits? Who created that rule? Why should I? Why shouldn't I? Who says? I loved that she was in the senior olympics, saying f-it - why not??? She defied and bucked systems and lived her life with a passion and ethos to which we all aspire. I grieve that she has passed on. But I am so grateful to know that she impacted me, and so many others, in such powerful ways. May she rest in power and be a beacon for us to question relentlessly in the pursuit of justice and equality. Thank you Professor Grossholtz. The world is changed because of you.

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Don Ogden published a tribute .

Jean's Enviro Show


Greetings Earthlings. A very special person has moved on from our lives, someone unique and dedicated to her friends and to social and environmental justice. Jean Grossholtz was still teaching at Mt. Holyoke College when I (d.o. ) encountered her at a meeting she called to organize a Valley response to corporate globalization in the late '90s. I was immediately drawn to her no nonsense feistiness, her in-your-face outrage at all the injustice taking place in our world. It was that spirit, and her deep knowledge and experience of matters both political and ecological that made her the perfect co-host to share the microphone with myself and Glen Ayers on The Enviro Show almost from the show's start in 2005. In radio we have something called The Seven Deadly Words, seven swear words not to be spoken over the "public" airwaves at risk of garnering a hefty fine from the FCC or worse. Being plain spoken and often....outraged? Jean launched into one or more of the Seven Words more than a few times during the show, making for some awkward moments on live radio, and perhaps a few chills in the front office. But that was Jean, quick to call b.s. when she saw it and to suffer no fools. It is a sort of honesty we so much appreciated and loved from Jean. She will be missed. She is missed.

With this in mind, some of Jean's dear friends and radio colleagues join us for the hour to share their remembrances. State Senator Jo Comerford, Attorney Michael Aleo, Chauncy Young, Valley Free Radio's own Paki Weiland & Bob Gardner join us to honor Jean Grossholtz. Also, Jean was a lover of many of the Earth's critters and pretty much a dog person, so in remembrance of her and the dogs on the other end of the leash who used to drag her around on the ice (often for the worse) it's time for..........Revenge of the Critters! Coyotes attack U.S. Marines....on their own turf?

Our Enviro Show Quote of the Week is a two-fer from Jean herself:

"All that I have supported, worked for, believed in has always been possible because of large numbers of people who were willing to go to the streets to stand up for fairness, for equality, for freedom. It is these people who have inspired me, comforted me, and urged me onward. And I have found them all over the world."

"This is the story of a rural kid who grew up to be a professor at an elite women’s college in Massachusetts and a political activist with an arrest record as long as your arm."



In the Enviro Show Echo Chamber we've collected some links relating to Jean, like this one from the Daily Hampshire Gazette. where they totally overlooked Jean's radio daze. More from the grassroots is this My Keeper site which is interactive, as is this one from Legacy. Jean also has a Wikipedia page. A Virtual Memorial is being planned for Sunday March 7th 2021 at 10am EST. You are invited to share memories, photos, recordings and get details of virtual event at https://www.mykeeper.com/profile/JeanGrossholtz/



Now it's time for the Bus Stop Billboard:


By February 19, we’re asking legislators to pass last session’s climate bill into law — with or without the Governor’s signature. Join our call for climate action by posting on Twitter or Facebook with the hashtag #MAClimateDeadline

Monday, February 22, 1:00 to 2:00 PM. The Federal Nuclear Waste Policy Committee of the Vermont Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel (VT NDCAP) will hold a Special Meeting on Monday, February 22, 2021 from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM. In accordance with Vermont Open Meeting Law changes due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this meeting will be conducted as a Microsoft Teams webcast and teleconference. Members of the public may join the webcast via the following link: Join VT-NDCAP Federal Nuclear Waste Policy Committee Meeting



Wednesday February 24, 7pm. Join Standing Trees Vermont for a virtual conversation with Dr. William Moomaw about Proforestation. For years we have listened to the forestry timber-speak about sustainable forest management, afforestation and reforestation, and various other terms all of which ultimately involve logging. But a new word and a new concept - Proforestation - is gaining traction and deserves our support! Come learn from a proforestation pro! Bill Moomaw is part of a team who is working to change the narrative about forests and climate. Go to: https://actionnetwork.org/events/proforest/


Thursday February. 25, 4 pm. An Ecological Civilization: The Path We’re On. The path toward an ecological civilization moves us from an uncivilized society based on selfish wealth accumulation to one that is community-oriented and life-affirming. You’re invited to a virtual conversation on the ways communities are already working toward that goal—and how you can be a part of it. This event will feature contributors to our upcoming issue of YES! Magazine—Vandana Shiva, Leah Penniman, Winona LaDuke, and Jeremy Lent.

Saturday March 6, 3 to 6pm. Mobilizing Extinction rebellion Worldwide! We need mass civil disobedience in 2021. And this requires thousands of people to mobilise, organise, and get good at it. All around the world, amazing people are developing great ways to stand up and we need to support one another. An alliance of dedicated XR members in different countries are creating this event so we can come together to celebrate the vital work we are doing, to enjoy great talks and testimonies, and discover concrete tactics that work in a range of workshops. Go HERE

Sunday March 7, 10am to 1pm. Online Memorial for Jean Grossholtz to remember her. You're invited to attend and join us virtually via zoom and share your memories of Jean. Please RSVP so that we can email you the zoom link. Go to: https://www.mykeeper.com/event/jeans-virtual-online-memorial/


OK, enough for now, just remember what Jean always said: Listen to Your Mother

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Don Ogden published a comment .

Sorry about the missing links and events listings. I seem to have no way to edit the post. That said, "Jean's Enviro Show" will air starting Tuesday, February 23, 6 to 7pm and Thursdays at 2pm streaming at valleyfreeradio.org. The above blog can be viewed with links at http://envirosho.blogspot.com

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Diana published a comment .

This is the link to the Enviro Show tribute to Jean that aired on WXOJ, Valley Free Radio
https://archive.org/details/the-jean-grossholtz-enviro-show

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Susan Wright Stoler published a tribute .

I never had a class with Jean but I had a memorable ride back to Mt Holyoke from some event in Amherst with her and Sarah Montgomery. I was an economics major and she tried to get me to switch to political science.

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Dean Grossholz published a tribute .

Dean & Jean at Dean’s 80’th Birthday party. Jean was 85.

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Heidi Baldwin published a comment .

Her lil brother...she loves him so much. The smile on her face when we visited in 2019.

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Nancy Richard published a comment .

Indeed. I think Deanie Boy was her favorite person on the planet.

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Nancy Richard published a tribute .

I had the good fortune of sharing a birthday with Jean -- not the year, but the day. Our friendship deepened on the many trips we took to celebrate ourselves.
Jean was truly a citizen of the world. No matter where we were, if we had a question or ran into trouble, Jean would communicate in a combination of English, bad Spanish, and wild handwaving. She always solved the problem and often made friends for life.
We didn't always know where we were going while traveling and were often very lost, but that was just part of the adventure. I hope to have many more birthdays, but they won't be quite the same without her. XOXOXO

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Sonali Gulati published a comment .

I love this photograph. I can totally feel the utter joy and hear Jean's laughter. And oh my goodness--all the ways in which Jean communicated...especially the wild handwaving...made me laugh out loud.

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Michelle Holliday published a comment .

I love this photo mom (Nancy) of you and Jean. This photo reminds me of all of your birthday adventures! Thinking of both of you!!! XO
Michelle

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Heidi Baldwin published a comment .

Oh Nancy, what trip memories you have with Jean. I'm glad you had each other. What a blessing. I'm glad to have met you, you enriched my life.

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Christine Wood published a tribute .

I lived at Jewett Lane a few times during a ten year period of transition. It was one of the most fortunate experiences of my life. I was introduced to Jean by a mutual friend who recruited me to play softball for the HOT Flashes. She described Jean as one of the smartest, activist for the world, feminist, fantastic person ever and said I might be fooled because she was pretty down to earth and might usually be seen in old tee shirts and with a haircut that might have been done with a lawnmower. I laugh and cry thinking of this. She did always wear her political tee shirts until well worn and always was more concerned about messages than appearances. I have said she was like a mother, sister, friend, mentor , to me and there is a hole in my heart and in the world with her passing. She was a very generous soul who created a family of women at Jewett Lane. If you wanted to judge a person by their friends , the people who visited Jewett Lane were just incredible. Like Jean, they were feminists who worked to better the world, by caring about the earth, poverty, social justice, Herstory, something......for Jean it was all about caring.....and doing something about it. Injustice could move her to action, and sometimes tears . She taught at the college, advised students, was involved with Arise for Justice, and maybe a dozen other political groups and causes tirelessly working to make the world a better place. Somehow, she also managed to really be joyful and almost childlike in that joy in a way that was infectious. When April came she would start getting excited about softball season, to " hear the sound the ball makes coming off the bat", and ( for one who cared little for fashion in everyday dress) what hot new fashion accessory could the team get to make the hot purple and red uniforms stand out better. She thought everyone ought to have fun at the game. I sometimes got over competitive and she would threaten to send me to the parking lot" . You learned to cheer for everyone to do well, whether on your team or not. She was our "sexy sister at 60" pitcher ( that was actually on the back of her shirt the first year I played), and she could strike the competitive players out, but would do everything in her power to pitch so an inexperienced woman would hit the ball. She was a real foodie before you heard that word used much. She could get real excited about the change of seasons and what the package from the food bank she supported might have. Spring asparagus, summer tomatoes, late summer corn on the cob, and fall/ winter squash were "events". There was always a little bowl of kosher salt near the stove for cooking. Jean would bite a ripe tomato, mash it into the salt, and bite it again with great relish. I feel I am blabbing now. Jean and her partner, and great love, Eileen, were precious to me. So many morning walks in the woods with the dogs, and out coffee in hand. So much good conversation, company, and lifetime of friendship and love. They once told me that once I lived with them, it would always be home to me...and it was. A home in my heart

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Ellen Perrella published a comment .

HI Christine,
I played with the Hot Flashes too (shortstop) and have many fond memories of the games, and the beer and pizza after the games! I love your 'haircut by a lawnmower' comment. I remember one time I have Jean and Eileen over for dinner and Jean said "I'm having a bad hair day." and Eileen replied "How can you tell????" LOL
May she rest in peace.

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Maria Chavez published a tribute .

Maria Chavez published a comment Less than a minute ago.

One of the phrases that is being used to describe Jean, is "force of nature". As one of her past advisees, I can concur with that description. She was an awe-inspiring woman that left an impression with everyone who was lucky enough to encounter and be influenced by her. I still have the books for her classes and I find myself referring back to their relevant insights. And as I approach my 50s, I continue to take inspiration from her life. It's never too late to realize your goals. I haven’t met anyone quite like Jean since I graduated from Mount Holyoke. We are all blessed to have had her in our lives.

~Maria Chavez, Class of 1995
Secretary of Charlottesville NOW

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Tim Scott published a tribute .

I had the pleasure of becoming comrades with Jean in 1999, after returning from the “Battle in Seattle” when we were organizing and engaging in direct action/CD as members of what became a tight-knit regional community within the "anti-globalization" (anti-capitalist-anti-colonialism) movement that founded the Western Mass Global Action Coalition, a regional grass-roots group that was tied to national and international solidarity networks. Within these networks, we were part of a smaller direct action affinity group called MassAction, which traveled across North American resisting the imposition of violent austerity policies.

These resistance efforts continued into the post 9/11 era, when our regional and local networks pivoted into resisting US militarism/imperialism with the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq. As fellow military veterans (yes, Jean was a vet), we joined with other local organizers in starting a regional military counter-recruitment network (mainly in schools) and the anti-war publication, Valley War Bulletin. Jean also worked with many of us in establishing Valley Free Radio, where she became a co-host of the Enviro Show, while always being available to be a guest on other programs.

During these years, and within all the various dimensions of these activities, Jean was always our deeply passionate, hardcore and no bullshit matriarch, who had twice the energy of those of us half her age, and an unwavering commitment to the Zapatista rallying cry, “Another World is Possible!” Jean Grossholtz Presente!

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Jm Sorrell published a comment .

Dear Tim,

I love that you and I share a connection to Jean. I wrote two posts, and I imagine that many of us have stories to share that could go on and on. "They broke the mold" does not even touch it. Hope you are well. Love your story here and your recognition of Jean's no-bullshit persona. When I first became a JP to serve the cause of marriage equality, Jean predictably called me out on capitulating to the patriarchy. When I spoke of the right to get married for legal purposes, she was unconvinced. As a 60 year old lesbian feminist, I get it. And nearly every time after that when I ran into her, she would ask me, with humor and seriousness, if I was still facilitating patriarchal institutions. Love her, JM

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Don Ogden published a comment .

Hey Tim,
We just finished recording "Jean's Enviro Show" with VFR friends, Jo, Tuck & Michael Aleo. It will air on VFR starting Tuesday 6 to 7pm. The blog for the show will be up on our blog & FB page by tomorrow: http://envirosho.blogspot.com Stay safe. - d.o.

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Chauncy Young published a comment .

Tim, hope to see you at the virtual event this weekend. I have been trying to put words on the screen about Jean and her impact on me and all of us that were involved in the Global Action Organizing. She was a grandmother of organizing to all of us in the movement and all of us that are organizing today, she has helped shaped the our lives and involvement in movements around the world.

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Hannah Im published a tribute .

Dearest Jean, I was so naive to the world until I sat in your class. Because of you, I discovered my feminist voice and my thirst for justice for all who are unfairly burdened in this world just by being born. You were so tiny and yet so large. Your presence was felt long after you'd leave a room. I was really proud to have been one of your students and proud to be am alumna where you taught. Your legacy is tremendous and will be present in the world for many decades to come, through every woman you met and taught who then goes on to teach and reach others in their lives and their future generations to follow. Thank you for your integrity, authenticity, and love. I know you were who you are because you loved us. Thank you.

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Chauncy Young published a comment .

Each of our experiences with Jean changed our lives for the better, thank you for sharing.

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Mary King published a tribute .

Jean lived on the right side of history. She actively practiced her ideals. And damn was she tough! After being injured by Canadian forces during the FTAA protests, I asked her why she didn't hang back and let the younger crowd take over. She shrugged, "Why would I do that?" Miss you Jean - generous in everything - A saint for ordinary times!

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Chauncy Young published a comment .

Mary! I remember that. We all needed to camp out and Jean's back and hips were bothering her. Such an amazing individual. I have been working on what to say about Jean for weeks, as you know meeting her changed all of us. I would not be an organizer today without knowing Jean.

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Megan Mills published a tribute .

Jean Grossholtz, you changed my life. I honor your memory and I wish you peace on your journey

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Diana Riddle published a tribute .

I love this photo of Jean. She loved the demos that were fun and creative and attention grabbing while making important points.

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Christine Wood published a comment .

She was so excited about dying the pink slips for this action. If you could have fun shaming politicians into doing right, then you should.

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Leslie (Nicki) Batson published a tribute .

I remember Jean—not as a professor—but as a Pied Piper whose generosity of spirit and intellect attracted so many of my friends into her feminist and political sanctum (under a ceiling of aluminum foil suspended over strung wire—reflecting the glow of a fireplace as discussions went into the wee hours). I was tangential to the experience, had no clue what a “political model” was, and was struggling with my seemingly irrelevant Religion major (too focused on human constructs trying to explain the unknowable and less focused on the ethical foundations of living in the world). When the National Student Strike against the Vietnam war gave our senior class the option of deferring graduation, I was one of eight unable to both protest and complete assignments for graduation. When I returned to campus in the fall of ’70, Jean let me crash on a couch and shared her larder until I could finish my last paper to graduate. The best I could offer—with no money to my name—was housekeeping services. I don’t think I ever properly thanked her. But I am so glad I got to see her at the 2019 MHC graduation, where her mind was still nimble and her spirit still as generous as I remember. I have no thoughts on the “afterlife” other than to hope there are some deserving souls entitled to a rich reward—or a place to continue to stir things up…

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Krysia Villon published a tribute .

My forever teacher. Thank you for always opening your home to me when I felt lost. Thank you for reminding me I always had choices. Thank you for smile, your laughter, and especially your hugs. Love you. Give Eileen a big hug for me.
Photo taken in 1995.

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Sonali Gulati published a comment .

I remember the time when your car got stuck in the snow in Jean's driveway one night, while you were house-sitting for her. You called me on my landline in my dorm room (that's all we had back then) and I headed over to help you. I remember staying over with you in that little room that later got coined as Sonali's room, and I remember thinking how lucky you were to have such a special relationship with Jean.

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Lee published a comment .

lol That drive way I still have dreams about, being stuck and seeing others get stuck. Hahaha

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Susan Woods published a tribute .

Tribute from Lee Nyberg

Jean will forever be in my heart, she was my lifeline when I needed it the most. I was one of the many who was fortunate to be taken into her generous loving heart & home. As I struggled to make sense of how to live as a person with no means to support oneself, Jean showed me not to be afraid and guided me in the direction I needed to go as I finish high school. Jean was gentle, funny, educator & fearless. Two of my fondest memories is Jean standing in front of the kitchen counter with a huge ball of dough needing away. She made the best bread I have ever tasted and to this day, non has come close to that yummy bread she made every week at 10 Jewett Lane. Jean's favorite drink is a glass of beer in ice and a slice of lime.
Jean was my friend, my compuss, my strength and I am sad I will not be able to see her again. Thank you for all you did for me Jean

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Sue Tyler published a comment .

Yes Lee Nyberg, it was you the universe sent to connect me with Jean. I remember you as my fearless student, trying to navigate through high school. I was pleased and honored when you invited me to come to 10 Jewett Lane for dinner, to meet your housemates. I had no idea, that my life was about to be altered forever. In retrospect I realized everyone including Jean were on their best behavior for Ms Tyler's visit. It was the beginning of many decades of fabulous dinners debates etc. As you transitioned from my student to my friend, your extended family became mine. Jean was our forever, teacher leader, confidante, chef,and compass. The love and comradery that was shared in that house, started with Jean and spread. So my unconditional thanks to you for being brave enough to invite me to dinner.

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Lee published a comment .

Ms. Tyler, your words rang true, Jean was the best teacher and u come second. hehe Thinking back to high school times, PE was my favorite class. Your teaching made the class enjoyable and tought me to do my best with humbleness. Only after you joined the Hot Flashes team, I saw your dry sense of humor. We all love having you join the HF team! I miss those days.

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Judy Decosta published a tribute .

Things I remember about Jean: her twinkly eyes, her wit, her wisdom, her breathless, encyclopedic knowledge of social issues and the role women played in them; her sitting cross-legged in the middle of the teacher's desk, finger jabbing in the air as she connected one cause and effect of activism to another while we sat there letting the "Aha moment" wash over us. I found her so enigmatic because she dressed like a college student and her lectures were like conversations you would have with a very well-read, well-travelled aunt. I didn't have a close relationship with her while I was at MHC or keep in touch after I left, but I always enjoyed seeing her pop up on friends' Facebook posts over the years. We knew this day would come when we would have to say goodbye, but it hurts much more to lose her in a year that already brought so much grief and loss in some form or another. She was the best and made so many of our lives better in small and large ways. Rest in power, Dr. Grossholtz.

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Shirley Liddle published a tribute .

Ever since I saw a Facebook post on Wednesday the day after Jean died I have felt a loss hard to put into words. I first met jean in 1973 as a colleague at MHC. She was a brilliant, charismatic woman who was ahead of her time. I always would remind her of this description and she loved hearing it which only endeared her more. I lived a few houses away from 10 jewett land and never forgot her address. I am BAD at details so this is significant.
I loved Jean as did so many women that crossed her path.
She had so much influence on so many young womern and all in a special and enduring way. She was a legend in her time.
I cannot imagine her gone despite the blessing she was; I have no doubt we will all meet her again as we go down the same path.
Jean, thank you for so much. I love you.
Shirley

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Ellen Wade published a comment .

And don't forget how much fun we had hanging out and around 10 Jewett Lane. Jean was the center that held it all together.

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Simonne Roy published a tribute .

I was one of the lucky students to have Jean Grossholtz as my advisor (I was a political science major, class of '77). I took two courses with her and she was as memorable herself as the material she taught. I am sad she is gone. She was such a huge part of my MHC experience.

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Anne published a tribute .

As a Mount Holyoke student, I had heard that Jean's Sex and Politics class was a "must take." She required me to meet with her in her office to pitch why she should allow me in the class as a Sophomore. I was intimidated - as she was a force - but relieved that she allowed me in the class. Jean's Sex and Politics class was one of the top MHC Classes that influenced and shaped me as a Feminist, and social justice advocate. I would have loved to take that class again now at middle age. Thanks Jean, and may you Rest in Peace and Power. - Anne, MHC c/o 1994

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Diana Riddle published a tribute .

Jean is remembered by the organization that aligns closely with her ideals, Navdanya International.
https://navdanyainternational.org/in-remembrance-of-jean-grossholtz/

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Sonali Gulati published a tribute .

Professor Emeritus Jean Grossholtz Rest in Power
I have no words to express what I feel right now but I can tell you what an impact Jean had on my life. She took on the role of being my parent after my mother died and I don’t quite know how I’m going to navigate my life without her. She’s left a large gaping hole in my heart.
It was a year after I graduated from MHC. I was living in Boston and I called her to tell her that I had just found out that my mother had died back home in Delhi. She and her partner Eileen got in their car and drove 1.5 hours to Boston to take me to Logan airport, a mere 20-minute cab ride from my house.

Jean created a room in her home called “Sonali’s room” so that I always knew I had a home to return to. She did the kinds of things parents do. She showed up with a brand new set of pots and pans at my first home off-campus in South Hadley. Ironically it turned out be her first home in South Hadley. She took me for my driver’s license test. She landed up at the hospital in Richmond VA when my son was born some 15 years after I had graduated. She was my speed dial person, my rock, my anchor who pulled me through some of the darkest times of my life. She taught me to question everything. She shined light on how I had been a feminist all along while navigating patriarchy in all its forms, growing up in India. But she also opened my eyes to how feminism can translate into fighting for environmental justice and be a part of the anti-war movement and all the myriad ways in which we had our voice and needed to use it to speak up against injustice in all its forms. Jean also taught me how to plant a vegetable garden and grown green beans in particular. She taught me how to make a difference in this world.

I took 3 classes with Jean: Politics of Patriarchy, Sex and Politics (that showed up as Sex & Pol on my transcript) and my mother questioned the classes I was taking in college. I also took Women Organizing Women with her. She introduced me to the world of grassroots organizing and my first job out of college was at Arise for Social Justice (all thanks to Jean). She inspired me to become a Professor myself and I can only aspire to be the kind of teacher that she was. Those are big shoes to fill, no doubt.

Jean introduced me to fine wine and Manchego cheese but also spoke of how little we need to survive, of being conscious and mindful in our consumption. Jean made it okay for me to accept myself as an out proud lesbian. She wrote letters of recommendations for me for numerous jobs, grad school applications, green card application, numerous grant applications and fellowships over a span of 2+ decades. She supported me in ways I can’t list.

Jean was my safe space, my safety net. I’d be going through some crisis and manage to hold it together but when I’d hear her voice at the other end of the line, I’d somehow lose it, release, and let go because I knew it was safe to do so, that she had the capacity to hold me even from afar.

My life has been forever changed by both the presence and absence of Jean Grossholtz. I know that many have felt her seismic force and impact in equally deep and profound ways and I’m sure you all can relate to the gravity of this loss. I’m holding you all close to say that I feel it too.

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Heidi (Grossholz) Baldwin published a comment .

I'm so sorry Sonali. What a family she had with you all.

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Jm Sorrell published a comment .

Dear Sonali,

Your story brought tears to my eyes and also laughter. Jean was capable of adopting women in need on a few occasions but she was discerning, too, and you most likely lit up her life. And, yes, Jean had good culinary and wine taste. She was a woman for all seasons. I still use her Power model to describe how people seek to have a piece of the pie of privilege. I love her intellect but most importantly her heart. Be well, Sonali. We each get to carry Jean around with us. Remember this while you are grieving.

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Tiesa Graf published a comment .

Somali,
What a beautiful tribute. I am sending you healing energy, love and compassion!
A question: people have asked me about donations in Jean’s name - I wonder if someone might post a couple of organizations that would be appropriate? Just a suggestion. Take good care ❤️

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Jm Sorrell published a comment .

Lesbian Connection in Michigan. Called Elsie Publishing Institute.

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Sonali Gulati published a comment .

Tiesa Graf: I will get back you about donations in Jean's name

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Donna Albino published a comment .

Lyon's Pride, the LGBTQ alum network at Mount Holyoke, has a fund to help students meet their expenses when they have an unpaid summer internship. If anyone would like to contribute to that fund to honor Jean, we'd be so grateful. Information on previous students helped by the fund, and info on how to make a donation, are at this link: http://mhlp.org/page-1561302?

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Kavita Ramdas published a comment .

Sonali, sending love and solidarity. This woman was all Mount Holyoke can be proud of. I’m so glad I got to know her and like all of you fell in love with her - thanks to Mary Jacob, Indira Peterson, and Joan Cox, Jean was a part of my life even though as a transfer student I never managed to squeeze in a class with her. Her feminist brilliance inspired me and still does. Rest in Power Jean! ✊

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Jane Spickett published a comment .

A woman of great integrity. And an impish lesbian sense of humor!

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Sue Tyler published a tribute .

Just saying, sooo many fond memories of Jean, its hard to pick one. She was very funny, which may have rivaled her kindness. i'm not sure at which point she came to the know, Dolly Parton probably was't going to marry her,, but her love of her music never faded. She loved to dance . She harbored, inspired, and gave strength to so many women, from her students, her teammates, and to those who just crossed her path needing a helping hand. I will forever thank the universe for causing our paths to cross. My memories of the many demonstrations , protests, political rallies, and actions we stood together doing will remain, some of my fondest memories. Jean, I forever hold you close, and in answer to one of your last questions, no, i will never forget you.

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Lee published a comment .

Hi Ms. Tyler, We all did have a great time with Jean.

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Susan Woods published a tribute .

I was never Jean’s student at Mount Holyoke but her intervention saved my graduation. It was 1970, the year of the student strikes against the war in Vietnam. I delayed completing the required math course until my senior year. Big mistake. Problem was I transposed numbers, wrote 5’s for 3’s. I understood what to do but just could not get those answers correct on the test. I was in trouble. Without my knowledge, Jean spoke with the teacher who conceded I wasn’t stupid, agreed to give me a low but passing grade. In that year of disruption, all grades were pass/fail. I passed, no one the wiser. Who knows what she might have said to whom when I got my first teaching job. I’ve always suspected some helpful intervention. Those were the early years at 10 Jewett Lane. We moved in, we built furniture, we came out, we marched in protest, we talked about ideas and poetry, we played softball, we watched Dance Fever and Police Woman, we ate tomatoes and corn and asparagus, we loved our dogs. We had so much fun together – connection and relationship that lasted over the years. Thank you, Jean. Much love always.

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Michele Reiter published a comment .

So sorry for your loss, Susan. I remember you, Jean and the Jewett Lane women and those early days at the Valley Women's Union. Michele Reiter, Haydenville, MA

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Ellen Wade published a comment .

Yes, Michele. i remember you, too. Thanks for your thoughts and for remembering Jean.

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Lee published a comment .

Awesome photo of U & Jean.

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Lee published a tribute .

Jean will forever be in my heart, she was my lifeline when I needed it the most. I was one of the many who was fortunate to be taken into her generous loving heart & home.
As I struggled to make sense of how to live as a person with no means to support oneself, Jean showed me not to be afraid and guided me in the direction I needed to go as I finish high school.
Jean was gentle, funny, educator & fearless. Two of my fondest memories is Jean standing in front of the kitchen counter with a huge ball of dough needing away. She made the best bread I have ever tasted and to this day, non has come close to that yummy bread she made every week at 10 Jewette Lane. Jean's favorite drink is a glass of beer in ice and a slice of lime.
Jean was my friend, my compus, my strength and I am sad I will not be able to see her again.
Thank you for all you did for me Jean.

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Tim Williams published a tribute .

my first memory of Jean was her rushing into the kitchen to take a pan off the stove. she had started to boil water for something and melted the pan (she was taking a nap) I was 4 at the time. Jean came to our house every Christmas.. it wasn't Christmas until she showed up. My sisters and I looked forward to hearing about her travels and stories , I recall riding in the back seat of her blue Volvo 122, she was teaching us protest songs (We shall overcome) and she had with her Terisita who told us stories of growing up in the
Philippines. she brought back weird and wonderful things from her trips, strange foods and fascinating pictures. I recall seeing her on the CBS evening news demonstrating at Seabrook Nuclear plant and being arrested for climbing a fence.
Jean gave me things to think on, about war and peace and fairness, rights for women,for people.
the picture shown is Jean with her older sister my mother , Dorthy Williams 2004
rest in peace Jean, where everyone is treated equally
Tim.

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Sonali Gulati published a comment .

I've heard Jean speak about her sister Dorothy on more than one occasion. I was Jean's student.

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Tim Williams published a comment .

you are more than Jean's student , you are her family by choice Thank you for all you are doing.
it is said that as long as we are remembered, we never die. Jean should be with us for the next dozen millennia

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Aimee Brodeur Johnson published a tribute .

Even though I had not seen Jean Grossholtz since I graduated Mount Holyoke in 1974, I have very vivid memories of her. I took her introduction to political science class the first semester of my freshman year and I was so taken with her that I switched my major to political science and requested her as my advisor (which was granted!). I remember her fierce passion and devotion to activism– and her getting arrested at Westover AFB for protesting the Vietnam war. She was an amazing teacher and role model and I greatly admired her.

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Dorothy "dotsy" Derick published a tribute .

Jean Grossholtz, Mount Holyoke College Professor Emeritus of Political Science and Women's Studies and Peace Activist, was a Class Honorary of the Mount Holyoke College Class of 1965.
As President of the Class, I extend my deepest sympathy to her family of relatives and friends.
She was a remarkable and engaged professor, activist, and human being and was so admired by her students both while they were at Mount Holyoke and thereafter. Jean was the only remaining Class Honorary who was at Mount Holyoke when my classmates and I were. But while her death marks the ending of an era, it also marks the passing of her flame forward.
My thoughts and prayers are with you at this time.
Dorothy “Dotsy” Derick

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Ellen Wade published a comment .

Thank you, Dotsy. She had a special connection to your class.

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Elizabeth Daley published a tribute .

I always looked forward to my downtime so she could help me devise a "plan" for the day. Most times, when I asked her what I should be doing she would always say "just help people" I will never forget our countless conversations, and hugs in the hallway that I don't think she realized I needed more than she did.

When I was in nursing school, I had a professor who said, "there will be people you meet throughout your career and you will carry them with you forever" Jean was that person for me. If there is any way we can support you all, please let us know as we'd be more than happy to do so.

I remember this picture because it was someone else's birthday, I can hear her laughing saying "it can be mine, too, if I want it to be"
Elizabeth Daley

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Sonali Gulati published a comment .

Your sharing moved me to tears. To see Jean's generous, helping, giving spirit stay intact like this. I am thankful to the staff at OV for looking after Jean so well. Please thank Brittany Barry on my behalf for helping me stay connected to Jean through all those Facetime calls this past year. They really were my lifeline.

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Sonali Gulati published a comment .

Thank you for this beautiful tribute to Jean. It touched me in ways I can't express,

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Brittany Barry published a comment .

She was such an AMAZING person who I was lucky enough to see almost everyday. I will always remember her laugh and her inspiring talks she would give me during her time at Orchard Valley. Jean was a ray of sunshine and she will be greatly missed.

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Nancy Richard published a comment .

Thanks to everyone at Orchard Valley who let Jean take care of them while she was there. Every time she heard the loud speaker, she would drop everything she was doing to go see if there was anything she could do to help. She didn't want to hear it when she was told, "no Jean we're here to help you".

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Ellen Wade published a comment .

Yes, I so appreciated Liz Daley and everyone else that supported and loved Jean at Orchard Valley. i know you made her life easier and more fun in so many ways. Thank you. Ellen

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Beth Mcguire published a tribute .

After hearing how Jean was a “not to miss” professor at MHC, I enrolled in her Sex and Politics course as part of my politics major. She inspired such intense and incredible discussions in her class. She fundamentally made me think about gender norms in a totally different way. I think about some of the topics from Sex and Politics often as I navigate a male-dominated culture at work. If only we all could have such an impact on others the world would be singing!

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Michelle Holliday published a tribute .

I met Jean when I was 14 years old when she welcomed my mom Nancy, and me, into her big eclectic family… and Jean made quite an impression, especially in my teenage years… and who could forget those Hot Flashes softball games! I have so many fond memories of Jean and time spent at 10 Jewett Lane, great food, French press coffee, laughter, dogs, a place to relax, a place to be accepted, to speak out and act up, to be yourself and a get lot of love. Thanksgiving dinners at Jean’s were the best and even now when my mom and I talk about what to make for Thanksgiving dinner, I always say, ".. fish curry like we had at Jean’s."

Another fond memory is of Jean’s voice and activism. Many people have written about Jean as their teacher, and although I never took a class from her, she really reinforced, and showed by an amazing example, what my mom has always taught me… the power of one, to be who you are, use your voice and stand up for what is right. Now that I am a mom and a teacher, I can’t say thank you enough and I hope I send those messages to the children in my life!

My best memories, and what I am most grateful for, is my mom’s friendship with Jean. Jean will always be my mom’s BFF! Not only did they share a birthday, but they also had a wonderful connection and friendship for the past 40+ years. Both incredibly hard-working people, I will never forget when they decided to celebrate their birthday each year by going on vacation. Those vacations were a break, a time to celebrate, have fun, have an adventure and come back with great stories!

We all miss you Jean, You are forever in so many hearts, and your powerful and loving presence shines on!

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Shonali published a tribute .

I lost my father in India - 2 months after I joined MHC as a freshman in 1987. He liver gave way to alcohol. My mother persuaded me to meet the campus counsellor... and I did .... but it was in Jean's class, which I took as a Sophomore , on "Women and Male Violence" - that I discovered what it was that my family went through. I cried every day of that class, reading my stories - in print - and it was hell and heartache..... but at the end of it all, I found that I was not alone in the world.... it was a story shared by many. In the end... it was my therapy. It's why I can write these words here today, without any guilt. Thank you Jean, for bringing me solace through all that pain.

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Lan Cao published a tribute .

I never had a class with Professor Jean Grossholtz but her vibrancy, energy, authenticity permeated the Politics department and the wider campus itself. She attended many campus events and meeting her anywhere was like a collision, not just an encounter. She was passionate about her causes and her opinions and she would shake up your world view and assumptions. She was loving as well. She gave me rides to the Hegira Battered Women's Shelter where, because of her, I volunteered. We discussed many things about Southeast Asia and she was also eager to hear my own personal experiences. I think she was also willing to have her assumptions shaken up as well. She was a very special person who exuded love and authenticity. She lived her beliefs.

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April published a comment .

I loved Jane Grosholtz. She was always is positive, bright light in my life at Mount Holyoke in the 1980s. I am very proud to have known her. I remember when she went to the Olympics in her 60s! She took it seriously, and when the silver! So proud of her! As a black lesbian, she inspired me to be fearless in my life, and my pursuits of what I want it, as she was. Thank you Jean!

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Eileen Smith-Cavros published a tribute .

Professor Grossholtz was one of the profs who had the most impact on me. I still take inspiration from her when I teach my own classes today. Very grateful to have learned from her.

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Deborah Richards published a tribute .

In 2015, my 2nd year at MHC working in the archives, I met Jean when I approached her about the LGBTQ Alum Oral History Project. Many people we interviewed said "You must interview Jean!" so we did. She was an essential voice to include in MHC's LGBTQ history. It was always a treat to talk with Jean. And when I met with her about the papers which she donated to the MHC archives, I always left remembering how important it was to document her life and work. She was a force for good and for justice. She was funny and caring. I will miss her. 

We are very fortunate to have Jean's papers at the MHC Archives and Special Collections. Her life and work have been well documented in her papers. The collection is closed for now to researchers until it's processed. But it will be made available. The archives welcomes donations of materials about or by Jean, such as letters, photographs, recorded and written memories of her, etc., to add to her papers. If you have items you would like to donate please contact me, Deborah Richards MHC College Archivist, at [email protected] 

Rest in peace and power, Jean.
[photo of Deborah Richards, Jean Grossholtz, Nancy Richard, undated. Taken by Eileen Elliott]

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Julie Laun published a tribute .

Prof. Grossholtz was a trailblazer, not only in her own life but in the lives of the many students who crossed her path in her 40 years of teaching. She found you where you were and opened your eyes to where you could go. Honestly, I was intimidated by her in our first several meetings; I had never met anyone who looked like her, spoke with such honesty, or challenged my belief system with such consistency. She helped me find my voice without judgement. I have few vivid memories of my time at MHC, but my memories of Jean, her classes, her larger than life persona have stuck with me. Most importantly, her insistence that we question the structures around us and the constructs in which we live, have stayed with me and served me. May her memory be a blessing.

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Molly Vigour published a tribute .

I had the immense privilege of taking one class with Professor Grossholtz. I was a women's studies minor. The texts and discussions about domestic violence particularly informed my thinking.

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Frances Lee published a tribute .

Sorry to hear about the passing of Jean Grossholtz. i was a student in her politics class and she was a very caring prof.

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Franckline Casimir-Benoit published a comment .

Only a few people knew that I wanted to go law school. Until I went to MHC I had never met a lawyer but I wanted to be one to fight injustice. I had taken a class with Professor Jean Grossholtz and to tell you the truth for a shy student I was shocked and at the same time awaken in her class. At the end I asked her for a recommendation to submit with my law school applications. She gave me the sealed envelopes to include with the applications but with a note that said that I was a "cosmopolitan woman" and that gave me so much confidence and to this day that is how I referred to myself (at least in my head). She believed in me and in what I could be. In all those years I have never forgotten Jean Grossholtz and will always remember her for her role in mentoring and shaping this shy student 36 years ago.

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Danetta Beaushaw published a comment .

I ran away from a small town in the deep south that was still highly influenced by the KKK, and landed as a freshman Politics major in Politics 101 with Jean. She efficiently reoriented my compass which was yearning for a recentering. I adored her - especially that devilish twinkle in her eye whenever she challenged us all to think. We all know that politics wonks like me were greatly influenced by her, but I have been so moved by all those quieter voices in our classes - the midwesterners, other southerners, econ majors, psych majors, other non-politics majors - who may have been quieter presences in those classes but equally moved and impacted by her clear-eyed teaching. She played the long game with all us, and a lot of her wisdom stuck. I was always tickled by my very conservative blue collar parents arriving for graduation and announcing to me that Jean was their favorite professor "because she was real".

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Ginny Van Hengel Loughlin published a tribute .

I only knew Jean Grossholtz through friends who had taken classes with her. They -- and she -- would wrap me into these incredibly interesting conversations from time to time. I found her generous, welcoming, and brilliant. Her way of looking at things was new and fascinating to me. Always questioning. It's incredible to read how she was a long-time friend and mentor to so many of my Mount Holyoke siblings. What a powerful (in the best possible way) life. Condolences to all who loved her and will miss her most acutely. May she rest in power and peace.

Ginny van Hengel Loughlin '77

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Ivy Tillman published a tribute .

So many memories...i took classes with her, had a fws job with her, kept score (pseudo-manager, but I was happy) for our Hot Flashes, lived in the house during a transition, waited for my true love at the foot of the house stairs at the first Deb Ball. We spent countless hours talking about all kinds of injustice. i was a FP and though I had taken part in demos and marches when younger, I had "given up" protest by the time I reached mhc; she was never judgemental, but encouraged me not to give up. She never talked about "race" with me--she knew i was the fragile one at that time--but she NEVER ignored or did the "colorblind" nonsense: she didn't have to. Her very life, at least the years that I was part of her life, was spent, in ways large and small, working to dismantle every injustice that dared cross her path. I am very sad, but so glad that she chose to spend time with me. I do what I do now in large part because of her care for me. Thank you and Rest In Power, Jean. Hellos to Eileen.

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Maria S. Gochoco-Bautista published a tribute .

From the Philippines, and together with Jean’s friend Maria Isabel (Maribel) Ongpin and former student, Lourdes (Barbee) Bartolome-Chuidian, we would like to send our condolences to Jean’s family and friends. We remember her fondly, not only for her scholarship on the politics of Southeast Asia, but also for her genuine love for the Philippines and her Filipino friends. She came to the Philippines often and would stay at Maribel’s home. Although Maribel was an MA student in English litt at MHC, she was the first Filipino student at MHC in 14 years and Jean became close to her, even introducing her to a Filipino classmate from MIT. Barbee remembered Jean as being a legend, and Jean’s class being her first genuine experience of culture shock. I also had the privilege of taking a comparative SEAsia politics course with Jean. I was mesmerized at the thought that this white woman knew more about my country, people, and politics than someone who had spent practically all her life there. I remember learning about “dyadic social networks” to describe the social and political structure in the Philippines. Jean was the first (and only) openly gay teacher I have ever had. I wasn’t sure what inmplication, if any, that would have on our guru-chela relationship. I found her to be a truly caring mentor who always challenged her student to think more deeply-“How do you know what you know?” was a usual question. I also recall her saying in class one day that one does not need a man to be happy. She was so way ahead of her time.
Indeed, Jean was the original “Badass” and we are “woke” because of the profound truths we learned from her in class and from having been in her company. We will miss her very much. Paalam, Jean.

Maria S. Gochoco-Bautista ‘78

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Claudette Snow-Schell published a tribute .

Jean had a large part in shaping the person I am today. I had Poli Sci 101 with her as a freshman at MHC in spring of '79. I was naive and had lived a fairly sheltered life up until her class. She opened my eyes to questioning the status quo, to delving deep into important questions, and to reading critically. I always meant to write her to tell her how important she was to me but never did. I so looked forward to her class every time we met! I remember she completely embraced who she was. Thank you, Jean. May your spirit be immersed in immense joy as you join Eileen's in the great spirit of the world.

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Donna Albino published a tribute .

Jean came to campus in 1960 and was the only out lesbian faculty member for many years. She offered friendship and support for lesbian students and helped create lesbian community on campus. In the early 1980s she threw debutante balls where an older lesbian student would bring a new baby dyke as her date to present her to the community, with great fanfare and support from all the other students. Students who attended the deb ball dressed in formal clothes and had a blast! Jean was a wonderful resource after graduation too. When I was getting the lesbian alumnae network going, she helped spread the word, and encouraged us to aim for big goals. Her vision led us to establish three funds for students and alums through the Development Office. She was an honored presenter at all three of our alum/student conferences, and taught us all so much. She and Eileen welcomed visiting alums to stay in one of the many guest rooms of her house, and I stayed there many times. Jean was family to so many of us, and we will always honor and cherish our memories of her.

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Sonali Gulati published a comment .

I remember meeting you at Jean's house many years ago. I had read so many of your emails via a listserv that we were both a part of. Perhaps it was the Jolene Fund that connected us over email, I can't remember. But it was nice to attache the face to the name when we finally met at 10 Jewett Lane.

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Claudette Snow-Schell published a comment .

Donna, Is there still a lesbian alumnae network and, if so, how do I learn more about it?

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Dale Melcher published a tribute .

I worked with Jean for many years around feminist, labor and anti-war issues. We met through the Valley Women's Center in the early '70s, continued our connection when I worked at UMass Women's Studies, stood together on picket lines and more. Our first dog - a wonderful Golden named Caboose - came from a litter mothered by Jean's dog. I remember standing with her in the bitter cold outside the Big Y parking lot with our signs demanding that they stop carrying Smithfield Products. I turned to her and said "Where's a hot flash when you need one." She told me not to worry, she would have one shortly! She was in her early 80's then. As someone who still has hot flashes and will forever I found her comment reassuring - they might never go away but at least I was in good company! I would see her at the Y re-COVID and marveled at her energy and vitality. I will miss her.

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Arlene Avakian published a comment .

I also worked with Jean on the Five College Women's Studies Committee way before there was a Five College Research Center. She was a trouble maker in the best sense of the word -- like John Lewis' good trouble. You could always depend on Jean for that.

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Barbara Arrighi published a comment .

I worked at Mount Holyoke in campus police and knew Jean very well. She was an amazing woman who cared about her students, she stood up for what she believed. A true feminist and a strong leader. We all gained by her hard work. I enjoyed played softball against her. She was arrested many times for the causes she believed in but never by me. She will be missed.

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Laura Lovett published a comment .

Jean was such an amazing inspiration and resource. As an assistant professor directing the Five College Research Center, I could always count on her to give the best advice for tricky situations. This became clear when later on, when taking care of a colleague with a disability, she showed incredible sensitivity and insight to helping this woman navigate Noho. Still, loved seeing her at protests and meetings.

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Diana Riddle published a tribute .

This is how Jean has reminded me to have courage since her move to Wilbraham in 2019.

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Disha published a tribute .

I was reading some notes on grief recently, about how the age of someone you lose is entirely irrelevant to the complete devastation you feel when they're gone. I don't think I know anyone else with as full a life as Jean had - with love and friends and work and travel and dogs and cats and food and the outdoors. And yet I feel a terrible pain that something vital has been wrenched out of my life. Jean and Eileen were my adopted parents when I spent 6 months at Holyoke in 2013. They - and Frankie and Peabody - warmed it, they fed me soup and popcorn, plied me with wine and salted caramel dark chocolates, and introduced me to down jackets. Jean and I talked about food politics and class at Mission Cantina, at the Moan and Dove. I want to be able to drive like her when I'm 85. I'm proud to be part of the many generations of women she befriended and inspired to fight the good fight.

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Alanna Boyd published a tribute .

Jean is the faculty member I think of the most from Mount Holyoke. She was unlike anyone I had ever met: radical lesbian feminist, peaceful activist, greased up bodybuilder, and patient faculty member. I was blown away by how multifaceted she was. The class, Politics of Patriarchy, opened my mind to so much and kick-started my journey to a Women's Studies degree. It was a comment she made in class once - that she tried to put her feet on the earth every day - that has stayed with me for over two decades. Whenever I have the opportunity to step off the sidewalk, road, or pavement and put my shoes on the ground,I take it - and think of Jean. I am so grateful to have been her student.

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Judy published a tribute .

Love this woman! As one of her nurses, she always gave us a “run for our money” but Jean had a sincerity about her that automatically drew you to her . It will be difficult to be at work without her.

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Patricia Lee Lewis (Aka Pat Sackrey) published a tribute .

I remember Jean in so many ways--in the '70's as a formidable worker against the Vietnam war and in the women's movement; as a brilliant, bombastic believer in justice, equality, and saving the planet; as a wonderful writer and hilarious participant in my creative writing retreat in Yelapa, Mexico in 2003. Here's a photo of her with Carolyn Benson, deep in conversation at the beach. Jean believed in mixing things up, working incredibly hard, and having a good time--and I will never ever forget her.

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Carolyn Benson published a comment .

The longest time I spent with Jean was at that 10-day retreat led by Patricia in Yelapa, but I never forgot her and was delighted whenever our paths crossed. She was, of course, unlike anyone I'd met. I loved the way she fully occupied her life and her body, full of projects and humor and at the same time open and friendly, ready to talk and listen. I am so grateful to have known her.

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Christopher Baker published a tribute .

Carlie and Jean at there favorite ice cream place.

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Jm Sorrell published a tribute .

I remembered a significant political event and Jean's speech. In 1989, the Northampton Lesbian & Gay Liberation March was renamed to include bisexuals. It's a longer story than what I will go into here, but lesbians were concerned about the diluting of our causes and identity. I asked to be a speaker that year, and the committee opted to have not one lesbian speaker at its rally. Unfortunately, that fed the fears we had. We regained control of the march in 1990. I still have Jean's typewritten speech entitled "The Politics of Lesbian Hating or Women Loving Women in a Woman Hating World." I was asked to debate Robyn Ochs at MHC that year as a lesbian response to bisexual women in lesbian space. My talk was about respecting our distinct identities and needs, coming together politically when helpful, and also having our own movements and activities. The response I received from bisexuals was that I was "bi-phobic" in a way that reminded me of the "man-hating" label. Just two years ago, I experienced a similar response, some with real threats, when I questioned the proliferation of drag queens and the misogyny of caricatures of women at the Northampton festival. The Michigan Womyn's Festival experienced it, too, a few years ago. I always say I am an ally to all justice causes but never at the expense of lesbian feminism. Jean and I agreed on this.

She read this speech. Here is an excerpt: "And they forget, most particularly, that Lesbians by the very fact of loving women, are engaged in a revolutionary act. We are women who refuse to be the way women are supposed to be, who deny the role that men have assigned to women and claim our own role/our own identity. Lesbians doe not see women as second class citizens, do not think women are dependent or passive or weak. We do not see ourselves that way and we do not see other women that way."

Jean was inherently kind, brilliant without pretense, and clear in all of the justice issues she cared deeply about. She loved herself as a lesbian, and I can only imagine she saved the lives of young women who doubted themselves and lacked support--over and over again.

Just wanted to share this. Thanks, JM

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Tim Scott published a comment .

JM, appreciating who you are, I love knowing about your experience of Jean during that time in your lives, and certainly not surprised that you shared this history and camaraderie. Thank you.

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Christopher Baker published a tribute .

Jean is my great Aunt. My mother Christine Baker adored her. I have three daughters. When they lack confidence or are feeling down, “I tell them they come from a long line of strong women.” Jean is one of those Women ——strong. I’m glad my daughters got to know her. The picture is Jean with my son. I couldn’t get to turn it right side up, but it also reminded me of when Jean did a headstand for my daughters in her living room at the age of 85. Pretty impressive!!

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Lucy Grossholz published a tribute .

Jean’s family, her brother Dean & sister-in-law, Lucy & many shnieces,nephews, grand& great ..grand nieces & nephews, she loved us one & all & we loved her.❤️❤️

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Lucy Grossholz published a comment .

The first time I met Jean, Dean took me to “the house on Jewett Lane” Dean & I slept on the floor in a little bedroom in the back of the house, in the morning Jean came & brought us coffee in our room. At night we had dinner with.Jean & many of her friends, (all women). We had the best time, lots of talking, laughing,good food, & love & acceptance. It was the first of many more times that we spent with our sister Jean, eating, talking, laughing, sharing. Oh those were the days & the memories linger on. Farewell Sis! ❤️

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Pam Porter published a tribute .

I am from the class of 81 and remember taking classes with her. I don’t remember what the original name of the class was - maybe Feminist Theory? A few sessions in we collectively decided to change it to Construct ing Feminist Theory because it really was just the beginning of the women’s movement. It was the most inspiring and impactful course I ever participated in. I have remembered it and her for all these years. My sincere condolences to all her family and friends.

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Leslie Le Mon, Class Of Ninety published a tribute .

The best political science professor, ever. Brilliant, genuine, challenging, and always demanding the best of us. Thank you. Rest in power.

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Jil Krolik published a tribute .

I remember Jean walking into Womonfyre Books many, many times and having such an exciting discussion about all the wonderful new book titles that were out there (and just published). We laughed and shared about a lot of things going on in the community as well. I always looked forward to when she visited.
She supported the store by ordering her class books from us - not just one or two, but the books needed for the class. Her students claimed she was tough - but I disagree - underneath was a very thoughtful, caring professor. She taught them well to engage in their surroundings with a feminist attitude.
She supported women musicians by helping us connect to officials and students to hold concerts at Mount Holyoke College. I have very fond memories of those concerts.
And many of her students and former students have said to me: "Your assignment this week is to go to Womonfyre Books and browse the books there ." (I hear it was part of the course. (makes me laugh)) - to experience first hand feminist economics and to inspire women to educate themselves on the many topics at hand.)
She was an inspiration and she will be missed.
alav ha-shalom - May she rest in peace!

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Sonali Gulati published a comment .

Wow! What an incredible idea for an assignment. SO inspiring!! Thanks for sharing

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Jm Sorrell published a comment .

Hi Jil, I had totally forgotten that. It was so important to support lesbian and women's businesses, and Jean knew that. Her assignment got prospective new customers and expanded their exposure at the same time. What was not to love about Jean?!? Take care, JM

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Cecelia Lang published a comment .

Great memory of the wonderful legacy of Womynfyre Books along with your tribute to Jean. As a professor she shared the importance of making community part of the process of educating. She was a leader hear in the 5 college community and throughout feminist herstery leadership. Rest. Peace.

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Lauren Cook published a tribute .

I first encountered Jean as a prospective visitor to Mount Holyoke in February of 1994. I sat in on her "Sex and Politics" class with my mother - fresh off the plane from Central Ohio - and had my mind blown. I thought of myself as a burgeoning feminist and was considering a women's college carefully, but I don't think I fully understood what that environment would (or could) be like until experiencing Jean's class. I was riveted, aghast, and frankly, shaken by some of the content. For about a week I processed what I'd been exposed to, thinking that perhaps Mount Holyoke was too much for me. But as I continued to let the ideas percolate, I found myself wanting more - more ideas, more knowledge, more exposure to everything I wasn't getting in my white, Midwestern, heteronormative (a word I learned from her!) suburban life. I recently mentioned this memory to my mother, and I was surprised to hear that she also remembers that class SO clearly - in fact, she apparently had her own wistfulness over not attending a women's college, and missing the opportunity to be exposed to see many radical ideas as a young woman.

I enrolled at MHC that fall and promptly took as many classes with Jean as I could before she retired. Writing this reminds me that she was so crucial to the formation of my gender identity, both personally and politically. She was certainly one of the greats.

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Sonali Gulati published a comment .

That is pretty incredible that Jean left an impression on your mother too. Thanks for sharing this incredible story of your first encounter with Jean and how it sparked your journey to MHC and thereafter. I can relate to the experience of taking once class with Jean and wanting to take more.

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Lauren published a comment .

Right? I was surprised to hear her talk about that day with such clarity, but that’s Jean for you. Always making a distinctive first impression!

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Jm Sorrell published a tribute .

I loved Jean very much, and I got to see her with Aileen in recent years at Bread Euphoria. Jean and I would engage in political banter as though we were continuing a conversation from yesterday rather than from years ago. I'll never forget when I first moved to the area in 1982 and met Jean because I date a Mount Holyoke grad who was mentored by Jean. Jean wore t-shirts and could drink anyone under the table with shots of scotch. I thought, "How could someone THAT OLD wear t-shirts all the time?" Well, she was younger than me then and I of course wear political t-shirts all the time. If I am even a little bit like Jean Grossholtz, I am blessed.

Also, she may be the first lesbian professor in the country to come out when she was hired to be tenure track. She told me she wanted them to know who they were getting at MHC, and she wanted to feel free to be herself. She was matter-of-fact about it. LOVED HER. --JM

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Sonali Gulati published a comment .

This made me laugh. I so need that. Thanks

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Lara Sheikh published a tribute .

Professor Grossholtz was an amazing professor who opened our eyes and challenged us to challenge patriarchy and other forms of oppression. She did it with so much energy and humor.

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Jean's Virtual Online Memorial

March 7th, 2021 at 10:00am
Event Details & RSVP

Keepers

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