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Published June 08, 2013, 12:00 AM

Geraldine Gibbens Shafer

Geraldine Gibbens Shafer died in the early morning hours of Friday, May 31st, at her home in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She was ill for less than a day, and died in her own bed, with her youngest daughter, Janie, holding her hand. She was 100 years old. She is preceded in death by her husband, E. Maine Shafer, her mother, Isabelle Dennis Gibbens, and her father, Frank Gibbens.

She was born March 6, 1913 in Grand Forks, North Dakota and was raised there and in New Rockford, ND. She attended the University Of North Dakota during the depression and worked to help put herself through school. She was a member of the Pi Beta Phi Sorority, and graduated as a history major. She wrote for the Dakota Student, UND's newspaper, and it was during an exchange with NDSU's (then the AC) newspaper, The Spectrum, that she met her future husband, Maine Shafer. When Maine saw her get off the train, he traded with another staffer so he could escort her around. He "liked the look" of the Gibbens girl.

Geraldine Gibbens Shafer

Geraldine Gibbens Shafer died in the early morning hours of Friday, May 31st, at her home in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She was ill for less than a day, and died in her own bed, with her youngest daughter, Janie, holding her hand. She was 100 years old. She is preceded in death by her husband, E. Maine Shafer, her mother, Isabelle Dennis Gibbens, and her father, Frank Gibbens.

She was born March 6, 1913 in Grand Forks, North Dakota and was raised there and in New Rockford, ND. She attended the University Of North Dakota during the depression and worked to help put herself through school. She was a member of the Pi Beta Phi Sorority, and graduated as a history major. She wrote for the Dakota Student, UND's newspaper, and it was during an exchange with NDSU's (then the AC) newspaper, The Spectrum, that she met her future husband, Maine Shafer. When Maine saw her get off the train, he traded with another staffer so he could escort her around. He "liked the look" of the Gibbens girl.

They were married in Washington DC, where she worked as a journalist until she became pregnant with her first child. After the war, she and Maine moved to Fargo, where they settled and raised their 4 children.

She was, as many of her generation, a zealous volunteer, doing a variety of things--- working with the Opportunity School, helping to mount numerous Junior League projects, putting on puppet shows in conjunction with Fargo's schools. Both she and her husband loved jazz and many an after-hours party was held around the Shafer piano. She loved to put on an elegant dress for Qui Vive (the dance club), to play golf (a few couples club tournament trophies on the shelves), to swim (during ADULT swim only), to ski (until she smashed her leg in a skiing accident), and to paint with water colors. She was still going to art class to paint those water colors well past 100. She loved books - both the reading of and the physical fact of them. Her husband Maine bragged far and wide about her award-winning roses and she took so much pleasure from just being in the garden.

She was a wonderfully eccentric mother. Who else in the 1950's was a reading Peter Rabbit to her children in French? Gave them a book featuring a black Santa Claus? Was making cheese soufflé and ratatouille for weekday dinners? She was a smart and creative woman who died content and happy. She will be dearly missed by her four children: Gerri Shafer-Smith, Albuquerque, NM, E. Maine Shafer, Jr., Santa Fe, NM, Treacy Shafer-Schmidt, Denmark and Janie Shafer, Santa Fe, NM; two grandsons, David Allen Smith, Columbia Falls, MT, Scott Maine Smith, Piedmont, CA; seven great grandchildren; as well as her younger sister and brother, Patricia Gibbens Carson, and Treacy Gibbens.

She liked her toast buttered to the edges.

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