Genesta Elizabeth Lane passed away peacefully in her sleep at Augsburg Lutheran Village, Nov. 12 at the age of 97. She was born on March 28, 1921 in Baltimore, MD to Harry Gilbert Jr. and Genesta Jenkins. She had two brothers: Harry Leon Gilbert and George D. Gilbert. She attended Douglass High School and later attended Cortez Peters Business School.
When she was younger, Genesta’s father insisted she work for the family business, the “Afro-American Newspaper.” Her father was a grandson of AFRO founder John H. Murphy Sr. Genesta demonstrated her commitment to the community by assisting Frances L. Murphy with the AFRO Clean Block Campaign for many years; then, working at C&P Telephone, as one of the first Black employees.
She married John Edward Lane Sr. in 1946 on Thanksgiving Day. They raised four children on Whittier Ave in Northwest Baltimore: Yvonne, John, Harriette and Gina. On Whittier Avenue, her front porch was a favorite gathering spot for her children’s friends around the neighborhood.
As she matured, her commitment to community and youth continued. One of her favorite jobs was substitute teaching. She had an atypical teaching style and believed in “throwing the book aside” and doing things her way. After converting to Catholicism, she volunteered for 30 years with the New All Saints Church, engaging in activities such as working with the Women’s Prayer Group and visiting nursing homes, all while maintaining a “sassy” signature style that would become a personality trademark.
When John Lane Sr. passed away in 1990, Genesta lived alone for a short time. However, after her health began to decline, she moved to Augsburg Lutheran Village, where she lived out the rest of her life.
Genesta Lane lived a full life of love, and leaves behind a host of relatives, including Lucien and Yvonne Bennett-Niang of San Diego; John and Lee Lane of Marshall, Va.; Harriette and Robert Matthews Sr. of Lochearn, Md.; six grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, niece Gail Parke and numerous other grand, and great-grand nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be held in the chapel at Augsburg Lutheran Village , 1 p.m., Dec. 15. To honor her memory, donations may be sent to Augsburg in lieu of flowers, attention: the Resident Care Fund.