Memorial Spaceflights

Allyson Diana Genest

"Allyson Genest -- Beloved"
1961 - 1999

Allyson Diana Genest was born on March 16, 1961 in Newton, Massachusetts. Born the fourth child of her parents, Joyce and Robert, and the only sister to her brothers Bryan, Gary and Christian, she quickly became, and remained, the treasured, shining jewel of the family.

An electric spark, Allyson as a young girl never failed to brighten any space she entered; those around her were always warmed by her glow. Brilliant and beautiful, the child Allyson possessed unlimited amounts of enthusiasm, humor and love. Intelligent and witty, Allyson was a favorite of her teachers, learning quickly and well.

As a young adult, Allyson continued to develop and nurture her nearly all-consuming zest for life. She gripped the art of living firmly, and extracted everything she could; deer hunting, darts, scuba diving, friendships, love and work were all committed-to and mastered enthusiastically and completely.

As she matured, well-rooted in her career (in Boston's Financial Community), Allyson began searching for a broader meaning in her life. She traveled extensively, thrilled with the increasingly rich spectrum that the world offered her. She began to pay more attention to the broader subtleties of life; the natural aspects of the city as she walked to work, the direction and shape of her life so far, and perhaps most meaningfully to her: the next generation of her family in the lives of her niece, Audrey and her nephews, Jeffrey, Adam, and Brandon. As the only girl of four siblings, Audrey, being the only girl of four cousins, held a special place in Allyson's heart, but she loved them all. The walls of her home, her office and her wallet contained many dozens of pictures of these four children.

The last phase of Allyson's life, her illness and death, brought deep grief to all whose lives she had touched. This time, though, will always be remembered for the way it illuminated what her father recalls as "special excellence of her character." She faced her illness fearlessly, as an adversary to be calmly and ruthlessly defeated. As she became aware that it was to be she that would fall instead, Allyson faced her situation with a cool courage which none of us can ever forget. She died with dignity, defiance, great humanity, and the deep love of all those around her.

Allyson had two primary desires to be carried out after her death. The first was that everything she had be put in a trust to help fund the college education of her niece and nephews. Her wish was that she could help keep and feed the burning sparks of the minds of these children, beloved of her. The other was that her cremated remains be sent into space. Both have been accomplished. We, who knew and loved her, when we see a shooting star, or look at these children, will see Allyson there; stoking the fires, keeping us warm, lighting the world.

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