In Remembrance of Jean and Walter Boek

Jean Krumwiede Boek (age 97) passed on February 10, 2022, following her husband Walter Erwin Boek (November 13, 2012). They were deeply joined in heart, soul, and intellect, working together for most of their lives. They met at Cornell, she the daughter of Howard and Elizabeth Krumwiede, of New Brunswick, NJ, and he the son of Mabel and William Lester Boek, of Holland Patent, NY.  Jean’s father, a chemist, developed new medicines and manufacturing methods for Squibb Co.

Walter and Jean earned their PhD’s at Michigan State University in a new program integrating anthropology, sociology, economics, nutrition, and public health. Jean interviewed people on farms to improve health care delivery to America’s rural population and ran studies that demonstrated that cigarette smoking causes heart disease and seat belts save lives. Walter served as an Assistant to the New York State Commissioner of Health, in charge of research. In the forefront of medical anthropology, Walter and Jean wrote Society and Health and many articles. Jean also worked in gerontology and taught nutrition and anthropology at universities and colleges. When Walter founded a nonprofit for research and education, Jean joined him. The nonprofit is now the Global Autoimmune Institute, which funds research, education, and multidisciplinary practice of medicine.

Jean was devoted to her family, friends, and students. She was passionate about science, equality, and our country. Her breadth and depth of knowledge were extraordinary. She leaves her two daughters, Heather Debra Boek (Paul Dohn), Corning, NY, and Sandra Boek (Bruce Werness), Great Falls, VA, and grandchildren, Beatrice Werness, Isabelle Werness, Peter Werness, and Peter Dohn.  Jean was predeceased by her sister, Helen Shaara, and Jean’s dear grandson Adam Dohn. Our family is grateful to “Dr. Jean’s” caregivers at Bridges in Ithaca, NY.

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