Germaine Bartlett-Graff was born on June 18, 1984, in Las Vegas, New Mexico. She grew up in Guadalupita and Taos, where she spent time when not in school participating in ballet, camping, rafting, and skiing. She graduated from Taos High School in 2002 and then completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in religious studies and psychology at the University of Colorado Boulder in 2006.
She loved deserts, forests, mountains, and rivers and combined this love with a passion for community, culture, and youth education. In 2004 Germaine joined Field Institute of Taos – a nonprofit providing outdoor and environmental education programs for kids – first as an Assistant Instructor, and later serving as the Community Programs and Lead Instructor until 2020. She was Course Director for Where There Be Dragons – an experiential study abroad program – based out of Kathmandu, Nepal from 2007 to 2014. Her impact on the lives of young people can be measured in the hundreds, in Taos and around the world.
She worked as waitstaff and bartender at the Edelweiss Lodge and Spa and Hotel St. Bernard to satisfy a ski-bum lifestyle and fund a graduate degree. She pursued studies in counseling from Highlands University, intending to practice wilderness therapy as the natural alignment of an interest in ecotherapy and mental health. Several months into this program Germaine received a breast cancer diagnosis. Despite this, she earned a master’s degree in 2020.
Germaine’s life was a testament to living fully: she was an avid and accomplished skier and boater, enthusiastic about travel, gardening, cooking, reading, and writing. She married her long-time partner, Mattey, on October 11, 2021, under a brilliant autumn sky, officiated by Yoga Tara and witnessed by family and friends. They celebrated their honeymoon in Hawaii.
Germaine died due to metastatic breast cancer after a five-year fight on February 18, 2022. She passed in the evening, moved from rest to death beside a fire, loved ones lifting a glass of champagne in a toast to her existence, brilliant sparklers trailing off into the darkness. Stars twinkled, the waning but nearly full moon rose, and a meteorite passed over not long after her spirit left her body.
She is survived by her mother, Judith Bartlett; father, Bruce Graff; stepmother, Dawn Brown; sister, Patia Bartlett Isaacs, sister-in-law, Baleigh, and nephew, Robin; husband, Matthew “Mattey” Bergmann; aunt, uncle, and cousin Suzanne, Steven, and Emma Kaitz; and uncles Rob and Kevin Bartlett. She leaves behind other family members and a community of people around the world – especially in Taos and Nepal – who loved, respected her, and will carry on her legacy of magic and miracles.
In lieu of flowers and those wishing to make a contribution on behalf of Germaine can donate to their local breast cancer support organization or FITaos.
The family of Germaine Bartlett Graff has entrusted the care of their loved one to DeVargas Funeral Home of Taos. www.devargastaos.com 1-866-657-4019