Jean Boostrom Blackwell Roberts


Jean Boostrom Blackwell Roberts, age 97, passed away on December 17, 2022. Jean was born January 3, 1925, at home on the west side of the Grand Marais harbor. She was the second of two children of Alec and Josephine Zimmerman Boostrom. In 1943, after graduation from high school in Grand Marais, she went to Chicago for training as a meteorologist for the federal government. This was during WW 2 and weather bureau stations were being established throughout the nation. She was assigned back to Grand Marais.

After the war she married Jack Blackwell and together they raised three children, Jack, Mary (Harrelson) and Billy. These were happy years. Following Jack’s death from cancer in 1964, she married Don Roberts in 1970. They lived together for many wonderful years with Don catching many fish and Jean cooking them. Don died from cancer in 1996. Jean volunteered tirelessly for the American Cancer Society.

Her greatest joy was being a mother and loving her family. She watched with pleasure as her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great great-grandchildren grew up. She made many trips to visit all of them.

Jean was a member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe and an enrolled member of the Grand Portage Band of Chippewa. She was very proud of her Indian heritage and always tried to participate in Rendezvous Days and spend other time at Grand Portage.

She lived in Grand Marais her entire life and was a very proud and strong defender of her town and its beautiful harbor. She was a lifelong member of St. John’s Catholic Church and served as a catechism instructor and Eucharistic minister. She is believed to be the last person baptized in the old Chippewa City Church.

Jean was preceded in death by her parents, Alec and Josephine Boostrom, her husband Jack Blackwell, her husband Donald Roberts and her sister Betty (Soderlund). She is survived by her three children Jack (Patricia), Mary (George Harrelson), Billy (Yvonne) and stepson Dan Roberts. In addition, she is survived by 9 grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren, and 3 great great-grandchildren.

A Memorial Mass will be held on Saturday, July 29th at 11 AM at St. John’s Catholic Church in Grand Marais.