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Geri Boxer, 78

Thu, 01/16/2020 - 09:39

Nov. 13, 1941- Jan. 9, 2020

Geraldine Boxer died at home in East Hampton last Thursday after receiving an unexpected diagnosis of Stage 4 esophageal cancer in mid-December. Rather than treatment, “she chose to spend her brief remaining time with her beloved spouse of 40 years, Ida Jennings, and their new rescue kitten, Charlie,” her friend Lys Marigold wrote. 

Known as Geri, she was “a woman of abundant optimism and warmth,” her friend said, and “struck up conversations with everyone she met, making new friends based on a lifetime of laughter, keen observations, and compelling stories of past experiences.”

In the late 1960s and 1970s, Ms. Boxer was an account executive at the Smith-Greenland Agency in Manhattan, a small but well-regarded firm where she stood out for “her unique talent of handling both the business and creative sides” of the work. “It was the ‘Mad Men’ era, and Geri held court daily at the Copenhagen restaurant during the obligatory three-martini lunches,” Ms. Marigold wrote. 

When one of her largest accounts, Kaufman Carpets, persuaded her to open her own agency, she left Madison Avenue to embark on a successful venture that lasted until 1988. 

But Ms. Boxer ultimately preferred “entrepreneurship over corporate hierarchy,” her friend said, and she teamed up with Ms. Jennings to open the Boxer Collection, a showroom at 225 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan that sold stylish lines of home accessories to gift stores and interior design firms. 

The couple retired in 2006 and moved full time to a house in East Hampton that they had bought as a weekend retreat in 1973. Ms. Boxer joined the Ladies Village Improvement Society of East Hampton in 1991. She “enjoyed working at each and every fair, as well as being a Saturday volunteer at Bargain Books, where you could hear her gravelly chuckle resonate through the first floor,” Ms. Marigold wrote.

“Geri was a social gamester, whether it was at her recent bridge sessions at the senior center or on their many visits to St. Barts in the Caribbean or her endless fascination online with the Scrabble-like Words With Friends,” Ms. Marigold said. 

“If we had to choose one word that best describes Geri’s spirit, it would be ‘intrepid’ [for] never giving up or folding when life becomes tough. When she could no longer count on her legs for reliability, Geri had a car outfitted with hand brakes and pedals, giving her mobility and independence.”

Ms. Jennings said that her spouse “never complained, was never depressed for even a moment in a life that was never-endingly upbeat and happy.” 

Ms. Boxer was born on Nov. 13, 1941, in New York City to Ethel Berman and Abraham Boxer and moved to Brooklyn and Queens. She graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey.  

The Rev. Leandra Lambert, associate rector at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in East Hampton, will officiate at a funeral service on Sunday at 2 p.m. at the church, immediately followed by burial of ashes in St. Luke’s Memorial Garden. 

Contributions have been suggested to East End Hospice, P.O. Box 1048, Westhampton Beach 11978, or to Last Chance Animal Rescue, P.O. Box 1661, Southampton 11969.

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