July 08, 2023

Happy 109th birthday, strawberry ice cream enthusiast

The eldest member of Beloit’s alumni community gets a Today Show shoutout.

Genevieve Dean Turner'35 and Jackie Wehrenberg Genevieve Dean Turner’35, Beloit's oldest living alum, visited with Beloit staffer Jackie Wehrenberg in May at her assisted living home in Creve Coeur, Mo. Wehrenberg, a director of development at Beloit, said they had a lovely visit. “She is such a sweet lady,” says Wehrenberg.

Earlier this year, at 109, Genevieve Dean Turner’35 made her debut on the Today Show. But that’s only one extraordinary thing to know about her.

Genevieve is also the oldest living member of Beloit’s alumni community. The mother of two sons and a daughter, grandmother of 10, and great-grandmother of 23, she and her husband, Robert, were only three months short of a 50-year wedding anniversary when he passed away in 1991.

Al Roker of the Today Show introduced Genevieve as “a strawberry ice cream enthusiast” when he celebrated her by showing her photograph last February during the broadcast. Roker and his fellow Today Show hosts wished Genevieve and a small group of other centenarians a happy birthday in a segment dedicated to milestone birthdays and sponsored by Smuckers Jam. Her picture also appeared on the label of selected jars of strawberry Smuckers during a promotion.

Genevieve Dean as a Beloit College senior in 1935. Genevieve Dean as a Beloit College senior in 1935.A retired teacher, Genevieve grew up in Mt. Morris, Ill., and came to Beloit as an undergraduate in 1931. She recalls that she liked “the opportunity to study and learn and do her own thing, away from home.” She has fond Beloit memories of making friends, being a member of Kappa Delta sorority, and going to dances on Friday nights where she got to meet other students.

Genevieve went to graduate school at Northwestern University, where she met her husband. She became a teacher in Shelbyville, Ill., and later an in-home tutor.

She can sum up her secret to a long life in two words: “Be happy!” she says.


Also In This Issue

  • Trevor Cain’24 was one of the lucky winners of a classic Professor Bob Elder sweater.

    Sweaters (and other acts) that inspire giving

    more
  • Donna Oliver, left, with Eric Boynton.

    Top academic leaders promoted

    more
  • Erica Daniels

    Beloit’s Chief of Staff earns YWCA distinction

    more
  • Genevieve Dean Turner’35, Beloit’s oldest living alum, visited with Beloit staffer Jackie Wehrenberg in May at her assisted living home in Creve Coeur, Mo. Wehrenberg, a director of development at Beloit, said they had a lovely visit. “She is such a sweet lady,” says Wehrenberg.

    Happy 109th birthday, strawberry ice cream enthusiast

    more

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read our Web Privacy Policy for more information.

Got it! ×