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JUNE 2, 1942 – DECEMBER 29, 2021

In music, a coda is a passage that brings a piece to an end. Beverly Kay Wharry Gensemer’s final coda played December 29, 2021, at Medical Center of the Rockies after a 79-year journey that ended in a two-decade decrescendo orchestrated by peripheral artery disease.

Though pain was a recurring theme, she would never let it define her. Rather, the timbre of her life was uncomplaining strength, childlike joy, unconditional love, and a general no-nonsense approach to all things. She cared most about family, friends, violin/music (Bach and Neil Diamond were favorites), animals and people. She loved the mountains, reading, gardening…and a good, funny story.

Small town life always suited her. Born June 2, 1942, in the small Southern Illinois coal mining town of West Frankfort to Robert and Martha Agnitsch Wharry, Beverly was their only child. After serving in World War II, her dad’s crew was moved to civilian service in New Mexico at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, where nuclear weapons were designed; Robert plumbed and maintained the facility. One of her favorite memories as a young girl was fishing with her dad in the mountains of northern New Mexico, and later at her parents’ fishing resort in Arkansas.

She grew up in Los Alamos (and for her entire life never let the gas tank get below half because of growing up always being prepared to evacuate on a moment’s notice). In 5th grade, she discovered her love of the violin. She loved to practice, loved the challenge of a new piece, and loved music. Natural talent combined with passion and dedication; she made All State Orchestra as an 8th grader, was principal violin her junior and senior years at All State and Los Alamos High School Orchestra.

In 8th grade at Eastern New Mexico University band camp, she met a trombone player from Las Vegas, NM, named Paul B. Gensemer III. They met again at All State. She hated the trombone, but he liked her anyway. They both received music scholarships at the University of New Mexico, and majored in music education. They had a lot of the same classes, both played in the UNM Orchestra and the Albuquerque Symphony from 1960-1965 Sharing rides to practice lead to sharing their lives. They married February 9, 1963, in Los Alamos and honeymooned that summer in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

Paul went on to teach instrumental music, while Bev focused on creating their dream of a family. This was her first staccato blow: she was told she may not be able to have children and they prepared to adopt. She overcame that news, and five years later gave birth to her daughter, Kendra, and two years later to son, Russ. She focused on raising their children, who she supported with everything she had while working various jobs through the early years.

Together Paul and Bev were committed to Paul’s mission of bringing classical music to small town America, which created many “movements” throughout their lives and many home remodeling adventures. They enjoyed wonderful friendships in places Paul taught across the Great Plains: Roy, NM; Boise City, Seiling and Laverne, OK (where she played the Fiddler on the high school production of Fiddler on the Roof); and Liberal, KS, where she was co-concert mistress of Southwest Symphony, founded and conducted by Paul.

It was in Liberal she experienced a second major blow: her left forefinger got caught in a printing press at work. Doctors told her she might never play violin again, but Bev proved them wrong.

Eventually Bev found another natural fit for her gift with people: human resources. In Liberal, she started out as a personnel clerk at National Beef Packing, and completed a degree in Human Resource Management at Friends University in 1989. Bev was beloved for the way she treated every applicant and employee with love and respect and gave dignity to the labor of those doing dangerous and difficult work. In a male-dominated environment, she was promoted to Employment Manager and gave it her all until she chose to move on.

In 1989, Paul and Bev finally went back to the mountains, settling in the artistic community of Loveland, Colorado, where opportunities to perform abound, though work opportunities did not and she and Paul persevered to get back on their feet and recover from bankruptcy. She enjoyed a rich 20 years of playing with many groups including Loveland Orchestra, Loveland Symphony, Loveland Opera Company, Fort Collins Health & Wellness Orchestra, and with several small ensembles that played paid gigs around the area for eight years. A highlight of her accomplishments included performing the challenging 6th Brandenburg Concerto.

She found work in human resources in the temporary employment industry serving as Staffing Manager for OnCall and Snelling Staffing Services from 1992 until retirement in 2009, when the real fun began and she came to life more than ever.

Not one to complain and always a believer in pushing past your comfort zone, Bev had ignored leg pain too long before finally going to the doctor in early 2000s. Cue Beethoven’s 5th Symphony here, the one he composed about the pain of losing his hearing and called his “Heroic period.” This was the beginning of Bev’s own heroic journey. Her right leg below the knee had to be amputated to save her life. She faced the new challenge with silent strength and determination to never let it keep her from living.

From 2008-2014, Bev served as adjunct music instructor at Campion Academy in Loveland and started Strings of the Rockies beginner level string program. A certified Suzuki instructor, she formed a music studio in her home, pouring her heart into 20 students and hosting many recitals to celebrate them. She loved encouraging students to become their best.

In 2018 a severe stroke took music from her altogether. It was the hardest blow of all for her. With the same fighting spirit that she had overcome amputation, she worked hard to relearn to speak.

Throughout her lifetime, she adopted countless dogs and cats; both animals and plants loved her. She had such a green thumb, vegetables grew to fairytale size under her care. She also loved her grandchildren and supported them in her special way of seeing who they really were and loving and encouraging them. In retirement, Bev was integral in remodeling their home, landscaped their yard, and canned delicious crabapple jelly that her family members fought over. And she made the best cherry mash ever. She was a member of Immanuel Lutheran Church, performed in the choir and instrumental ensembles, and served as Music Librarian.

Beverly’s spirit lives on in those she loved and who celebrate her with a standing ovation…husband, Paul (Loveland), daughter Kendra Gensemer Mathewson (Lee’s Summit, MO), son and daughter-in-law Russ and Kris Class Gensemer (Littleton, CO); five grandchildren and grandson-in-law: McKenna Mathewson Fields (Kansas City, MO) and her husband, Jake; Lachlan Mathewson (Manhattan, KS); Josh Gensemer (Norman, OK); Jake Gensemer (Boulder, CO); and her last of many pets, Shi-Shi, who is still looking for Bev to come home and snuggle, while they listen to her favorite music.

Friends are welcome to join the family at Beverly’s Celebration of Life, Wednesday, January 5, 2022, 11 a.m. at Immanuel Lutheran Church, 4650 Sunview Dr, Loveland, CO 80538.

For those who wish, in lieu of flowers, she would be honored by any contributions to the Human Society of Larimer County, the Health & Wellness Orchestra of Fort Collins, or Immanuel Lutheran Church of Loveland, CO.

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