Jean Livingstone Gortzig
1939 - 2020
Bangs Funeral Home, Inc. - Ithaca
209 W Green St.
Ithaca, NY
Jean Livingstone Gortzig

Jean Livingstone Gortzig was a champion for women and girls and for their rights and wellbeing.

Inspired by her widowed mother's commitment to educating unwed pregnant teens, Jean devoted much of her life to Planned Parenthood. One of the founders of our local Planned Parenthood, she was also one of the instigators of The Women's Fund at the Community Foundation of Tompkins County whose mission is "to improve the status and quality of life for all women." Jean died at Oakhill Manor on October 17, 2020, gratefully joining her beloved husband Carl.

Devoted to each other, Jean and Carl met in graduate school at Michigan State. They made a powerful team impacting both Ithaca and Cornell, nurturing Carl's students and advisees, their neighbors' children, and the Cornell Men's Basketball team. So many organizations benefitted from their commitment, skillful service and generosity.

Professionally Jean found her calling as a fundraiser in her 40s, first at Planned Parenthood and later at Cornell University, ultimately serving as the Director of Major Gifts in the 1990's. One of her proudest memories was of working with Cornell Trustee Ron Lynch to endow the Deanship of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. A plaque honoring Jean and Carl for their service to Cornell sits nestled by a tree at the old headquarters of the Cornell Botanic Gardens.

Jean had a strong sense of propriety, integrity and loyalty. She was also fun-loving and enjoyed cooking and entertaining. Born and raised in Romulus, Michigan, she was a lifelong college basketball fan. She loved new cars and driving, and treasured her annual vacations on Bailey Island, Maine. An inveterate collector of 19th century pressed glass and white ironstone, her home was always filled with beautiful antiques, two cats, flowers and friends.

Jean is survived by Carl's nephews, Timothy (Teri) Stearns and David (Gayle) Stearns and their families. Please consider a memorial gift to Jean's "last campaign:" Planned Parenthood of Greater New York, 620 Seneca St, Ithaca, NY 14850 and/or The Women's Fund at the Community Foundation of Tompkins County.

Published by Ithaca Journal from Oct. 23 to Oct. 24, 2020.
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Funeral services provided by:
Bangs Funeral Home, Inc. - Ithaca
Sponsored by The Ithaca Journal.
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4 Entries
Jean and Carl were such a wonderful, caring and generous couple. This makes me so sad to know they are both gone. As a graduate student in landscape architecture in the mid 80's, they made me feel so welcome in a setting that was a bit intimidating for me. Nice to learn about her passions and dedication. I am not surprised to hear this.
Rick Manning
October 26, 2020
Interacting with Jean while in Cornell's Development Office was truly a pleasure. Always greeted with a smile and never a sour note, even when troubles surfaced. Very saddened to learn of her passing,
David Sayles
October 20, 2020

Class and kindness described her best. Her actions encouraged those around her to be better, work harder, treat everyone fairly and live a life of caring. I was blessed to know her.
Charlotte Wright Mosher
October 20, 2020
Knowing Jean and being blessed to call her a friend and colleague meant you knew what true hard work, patience, kindness, and love is. Jean was perfection. Everything she did was “just right”. May she soar with the angels as she is reunited with her loving, kind, brilliant Carl.
Jacqueline Wright
October 19, 2020
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