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In memory of Jean Livermore, former associate director of practicum education

Former Associate Director of Practicum Education Jean Livermore died on Wednesday, Dec. 27, in Carrboro, N.C. She was 76.

Livermore ‘77 (MSW) joined the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Social Work in 1997 as a clinical instructor and training coordinator for the Children’s Mental Health Program. In 2004 she was appointed as the associate director of practicum education, and later received the Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs (ATOD) Pioneer Award in 2019. Her son, Jesse Michael Gronback, earned his MSW from UNC in 2009.

Before working at UNC, Livermore was hired by the N.C. Division of Services for the Blind in 1973, working in Orange, Chatham and Lee counties. She later served as a clinical social worker for Children and Youth Services with the Alamance-Caswell Area Mental Health Center and eventually worked in private practice in Durham, N.C.

A memorial service will be held at the Church of the Advocate in Chapel Hill on Sunday, March 10, at 2 p.m. You can read her obituary here.

School of Social Work faculty members shared their memories of Jean. You can read them below.

Jean served on the search committee when I interviewed at the School of Social Work in 2007. Over the years we developed a close friendship outside the walls of UNC. We met nearly weekly for dinner, traveled together for work and play, laughed and cried together, consulted one another almost daily about our Wordle attempts. Jean was a devoted wife to Jim and mom to Jesse. Jean’s most cherished role was being Nana to her granddaughter, Vera. Jean loved being one of the Gurlz, a group of six women (all from the School) who chatted daily about life, love, and current events. The beauty and impact of Jean on my life cannot be overstated. In the tapestry of life, the threads of friendship are woven with the most delicate care. Jean’s legacy will continue to inspire me to weave connections, uplift others, and cherish every precious moment. I miss her daily. — Denise Dews, clinical associate professor

Jean and I met in the mid 1990s and quickly became close colleagues and friends. As a colleague she was thoughtful, caring, and professional. What I most cherished was her friendship. Jean embodied so many wonderful characteristics. She was a great listener who always made you feel valued and important.  

Though quiet and soft mannered, Jean was also an adventurer, traveling to interesting places and enjoying nature, sometimes on her own, sometimes with others. She was a strong, independent, and passionate warrior. She marched on Jones Street and participated in the Women’s March on Washington. Jean lived her convictions. She walked the talk — in her professional life and her personal life.  Jean was one of the “Gurlz,” six women who worked together, supported each other, and enjoyed each other’s company. Jean was a gift to her students, family, friends, and community. I am grateful for the opportunity to know and love her! She will be deeply missed and always remembered. — Barbara Leach, project coordinator

Jean cared so much about the MSW students that she advised and taught, and it showed in the relationships that she built. She had a huge impact on hundreds of MSW graduates who are practicing today to improve the lives of individuals and communities. She also built a community within the School of Social Work. Several of us would regularly join Jean for lunch in her office, which we called the “Jean Cafe.” Jean provided wonderful support to students, colleagues and friends. She had a listening ear and a sharp sense of humor, and I still use a few of her sayings such as “never turn down the opportunity to use the bathroom” and “frack” when you drop something. She was a light in this world and is sorely missed. — Ronni Zuckerman, clinical associate professor