"She was really sad she never got her high school diploma," Dale said. "She did go back and get her GED. And at her funeral, Cheryl McCarthy did confer on her the high school diploma."
Genevieve, who was 80 when she died Feb. 12, was a woman of trailblazing accomplishments, Dale said. According to her biography, Genevieve was the first black woman to run for a school board in Joliet. She was the first female Baptist minister to be ordained in Joliet (1993)
In the 1970s, she was the first black female wrestling referee in Illinois. She volunteered with the Salvation Army and read to children at local schools. While raising her five children, Genevieve served as president of the PTA and also of the band boosters.
"She was the go-to lady for the kids in the neighborhood," Dale said. "She was always engaged and involved."
Genevieve taught Sunday Schools, ran Sunday Schools and directed Vacation Bible Schools and Bible studies. She also helped facilitate Mended Hearts, a support group for people with heart-related issues that met at what is now known as AMITA Saint Joseph Medical Center in Joliet.
And she also established the Genevieve Brown Scholarship so teen mothers could continue their education, Dale said. Genevieve left JTHS in her sophomore year when she became pregnant.
"You had to leave school if you got pregnant in the 1950s. You could not take your child to school with you," Dale said. "So she was not able to finish."
Establishing that scholarship for teen moms was extremely important to Genevieve, Dale said.
"The whole thing was about giving girls a chance," Dale said. "Just because you're pregnant doesn't mean you life is over. .Her legacy was to serve, helping others, standing up for others, being there for others in their time of need. She dedicated her life to service."
Genevieve needed was organized and time-conscious. Dale said she lived the motto of, "If you're on time, you're late. If you're early, you're on time. And if you're late, you're fired."
Another son, Steve Evans, pastor of Leap of Faith Church of Orland Park, offered another perspective of his mother.
(The Rev. Genevieve Brown is surrounded by her sons and daughters during a hospitalization this past spring. Pictured are (from left) Rhonda Lockhart, Steven Evans, David Range, Dale Evans and Tammy Alexander).