Mrs. Genell Y. Poitras

Mrs. Genell Y. Poitras


Let us remember the life and ministry of Genell Yvonne Poitras, 87, who died on Sunday, September 24, 2017 at the Heritage Living Center in Park Rapids, MN. She was the wife of Rev. Edward W. Poitras, who served the New York Conference for 39 years, primarily in overseas missions in Korea. He retired as professor of world Christianity from the Perkins School of Theology in 1997.

Genell Y. Kirmis was born on August 3, 1930 at Lidgerwood, ND. She graduated from Edgeley High School in 1948 and from the University of North Dakota in 1952. She received her masters degree in social work from Columbia University in New York City in 1959. She and Rev. Poitras were married on June 20, 1959 in Ellendale, ND. 

They moved to South Korea in 1959, where Genell worked as a teacher and social worker until they returned to the U.S. in 1989. She was the recipient of the Korea Times translation prize (Korean stories into English) in 1976. In 1990 Genell and Ed moved to Dallas, TX, where Genell was a social worker at Bryan’s House, a center for children with HIV. Genell and Ed lived in Freeport, ME from 1997 to 2011, when they moved to Park Rapids, MN. 

Genell enjoyed many hobbies and interests, including painting (water color and acrylic), creating books about family history, gardening, cooking and entertaining, playing piano and organ, reading and traveling. Genell was always optimistic, generous, and gracious. She had a strong, clear, deep Christian faith and followed a lifetime practice of prayers for family, friends, and for people in need around the world.

She is survived by her husband and her daughter, Catherine Breer of Freeport, ME. She is also survived by her grandchildren, Griffin Breer and Mina Breer of Freeport, ME; her brother, Wayne Kirmis (Pearl Courneya) of Park Rapids, MN; her three sisters, Kathryn Medellin of Park Rapids, MN, JoAnne Kirmis (Robert) Hill of St. Paul, MN, and Bickey Kirmis (Frank) Bender of Park Rapids, MN; her sister in law, Priscilla Gallagher of Sanford, FL; her former son-in-law and his family, Douglas (Karen) Breer and their daughter, Hazel, of Freeport, ME. She was preceded in death by her parents and her son, Peter. 

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, October 21, 2017 at 11:00 am at the Hubbard United Methodist Church in Hubbard, MN. Pastor Laurie Kantonen will officiate. Visitation will be on Friday evening from 5 pm until 7 pm at the Cease Family Funeral Home Chapel, 710 West 1st Street, Park Rapids, MN 56470. Visitation will continue for one hour prior to the services at the church on Saturday. Burial will be at a later date at the Mount Hope Cemetery at Edgeley, ND. Memorial contributions can be made to the Southern Poverty Law Center, 400 Washington Avenue, Montgomery, AL 36104. Friends may offer online condolences at