- Written by Judi Shimel
East End Homegoing: Sons, grandsons and nephews of Genevieve “Miss Jennie” Marsh, lower her casket into a grave in the family cemetery in Hansen Bay on Oct. 11, her 95th birthday.
EAST END — When Genevieve Marsh left this world on October 1, a part of St. John went with her. As she was laid to rest on October 11 — her 95th birthday — she returned to the place where it all began.
Mrs. Marsh was born Eunice Genevieve Roberts on East End on Oct. 11, 1919, in a world where a girl could live the outdoor life. East End was a community of traders, fishermen and mariners, cut off from the rest of St. John because there was no road to Coral Bay, according to the late historian Guy H. Benjamin.
The writer of her eulogy described her father, Alphonso Roberts, as a master carpenter who built a boat for his daughter. From then, “Miss Jennie” began an enduring love of the sea.
“My mother was a strong and brave lady,” said Ezio Marsh, a veteran Caneel Bay hospitality worker and local artist. “She told me how she used to sail a small sail boat that her father built for her. She sailed from East End to Coral Bay.”
The early years also left time for the young St. Johnian to tend the family’s goats, other animals, and to grow things from the land. Like her love of the sea, they became for Genevieve, lifetime devotions.
Many years later “Miss Jennie,” as she was known to some, would recount the days when she’d make that same trip with any number of her 11 children as they grew up and went to school.