Clarice Elwood Geersen passed away November 15, 2012 at Gordon Countryside care at age 94. Memorial services will be held at Grace Lutheran Church in Gordon at 10:00 AM on Monday November 19, 2012.
Clarice Marine Gunderson was born on September 15, 1918 near Quinn, SD, the 3rd of eight children of Guy and Millie (Erickson) Gunderson. The family moved to Warner, SD when she was 3 years old and then into Aberdeen, SD in 1929. She graduated from Aberdeen Central High School and attended Northern State Teachers College in Aberdeen where she was awarded a State teaching certificate. She got a job in Batseland, SD for $80 a month which was a pretty good salary in 1938. She rode the train, arriving in Interior, SD during the night. The next morning the depot agent told her the mail man would take her to Porcupine, SD and then a school board member would take her on to Batesland. The next morning she was teaching fourth and fifth graders.
She loved to tell that the people of the town never asked her if she could teach school but if she could play bridge. She said no and they replied “You are going to learn”. And so began her teaching career and her bridge playing days.
Soon after getting to Batesland, she met a handsome young farmer by the name of Elmer ‘Pert’ Elwood. He and his family farmed near Batesland. The next year they were married. They farmed in the area and had three children. In 1943 they moved to Aberdeen. Clarice and their three children stayed there and in California while “Pert” served in the U.S. Navy during WWII. In 1947 they returned to a farm near Batesland where they lived for the next 30 years.
Clarice taught for a few years and took care of her family. She continued her educations receiving her Bachelor’s Degree from Northern State Teachers College and her Master’s Degree from Black Hills State College. She worked for Shannon County Schools for more than 20 years as a teacher, librarian and assistant administrator. She started the bookmobile on the Reservation and set up many libraries in the schools. She gave many students a love of reading and of books including her grandchildren. Family time was very important to her and every child and grand, great and great-great child was very special in her eyes.
She was a lifetime member of the National Education Association and the American Legion Auxiliary and a member of the Bennett County Teachers Association. She was also a member of Grace Lutheran Church of Gordon.
“Pert” died very suddenly in 1975 at age 59. Clarice remained on the farm until 1978 when she married Albert Geersen and moved to his farm in Bennett County. She continued to work at Shannon County Schools until 1982. Albert died in 1991 and in 1992 she purchased a house in Gordon, NE and moved to town. She moved to Assisted Living at Gordon Countryside Care in October of 2010 and resided there until her death. She played many games of bridge while she lived in Gordon, sometimes playing 4 and 5 times a week.
She is survived by her three children: Sharon and Ken Hardin, Gordon; Robert and Shirley Elwood, Metairie, LA; Shirley and Loren Paul of Gordon; sister: Elaine Roth and Ruth and George Casanova of Aberdeen, SD; sisters-in-law: Lula Elwood and Odessa Elwood of Gordon; 8 grandchildren; 20 great-grandchildren and 11 great-great grandchildren, many nieces and nephews and a host of friends.
She was preceded in death by her parents; husband Elmer “Pert” Elwood; husband Albert Geersen; great-grandson Wade Ginkens; brothers: Russell Alexander, Stan Gunderson; sisters: Beatrice Goulette, Jeanne Dingman, Gloria Hartzell; sister-in-law Helen Gunderson and brothers-in-law: Francis Elwood, Troy Elwood, and Wesley Elwood.