Nature 10

Geri (Fitzgerald) Shaw

October 5, 1917 ~ July 6, 2022 (age 104)



 “A Life Well Lived” is a common phrase to sum up when a life has passed.  But in the case of Geri Shaw, it was true in every sense!

 Molly Geraldine Fitzgerald Shaw (Geri), was born to John Hayden Fitzgerald and Minnie Josephine Mathison (Fitzgerald) on Oct. 5th, 1917 in International Falls, Minnesota. She entered her eternal rest on July 6, 2022 peacefully in her home.  Her Father was full-blooded Irish and her Mother full-blooded Norwegian; thus, Geri was exactly half and half of those nationalities.   Geraldine was the oldest of 4 children.  During her early childhood years, Geri lived in various places in Minnesota and Dalbo, South Dakota where they lived for a time on a dredge.  She attended Cambridge High School in St. Paul, Minnesota. At this time in her life, she became very ill with the beginnings of spots on her lungs and she was sent to bed for a year. 

 The move to Idaho was prompted by others from their church in Dalbo and her grandparents that had come out West and convinced Geri’s Dad that the dryer, milder weather would be better for both her and him as his health was suffering as well.  So, they sold everything and moved out West in the 1930’s. The family landed in Meridian and Geri and her brother Buzz graduated in the same grade from Meridian High School because of Geri’s loss of a year due to illness. Geri then attended NNU (then NNC) as a freshman in the 1937-38 year. 

 Following that year, Geri moved to McCall to accompany her mother that had gotten a teaching job in Lakefork.  Geri met John Shaw up in McCall and, as they say, the rest is history!  John and Geri were married in April of 1940 and began their life in Long Valley with John working in the sawmill and farming.  Geri was a hard-working farm wife and during those years, John and Geri had three children.  Mildred Ann was born on the McCall ranch in 1941; Thomas Gerald was born in Portland, OR in 1944 during the war when many of the family joined the War effort and went to work in the shipyards; and Susan Lynn was born in Cascade in 1954.

 In the mid-1950’s, John and Geri moved to Marble Front near Caldwell and shortly after moved to the Emmett area and bought a 70- acre farm on the Emmett bench.  They finished raising their three children in Emmett and had cattle and crops on the farm.  During these years, they bought the McCall ranch from John’s parents and after that, summers were busy between the two places.  John and Geri left Emmett in 1972 and spent a few years on a ranch at Sand Hollow with John’s brother.  Beginning in the early 1980’s, they split their time with summers in McCall and winters in Riggins.  The winters were much warmer there and they made many good friends in Riggins.   In the late 1990’s, John and Geri sold the Riggins property and bought a home back in Emmett.  This allowed them to be closer to family and they enjoyed watching grandkids in as many activities as they could.   John passed away in 2001.

 Geri was a woman of many talents!  Wherever they lived, Geri played piano and organ in the local church and school and gave many music lessons.   Geri was an expert pie and cobbler baker and she could do any kind of needlework you could think of – sewing, quilting, cross-stitch, needlepoint, crocheting, knitting, etc.  While in Riggins, Geri enjoyed artwork and belonged to the local Art Guild there.  The Riggins property was filled with fruit and nut trees, so even though, they spent the summers at the McCall Ranch, they went weekly to Riggins to irrigate and harvest fruit.  Then the work began for Geri!  She would can, dry, and bake with the plentiful cherries, peaches, pears, apples, etc.  after each weekly trip to Riggins.  Summers at the McCall were also full of work and fun for Geri and John.  Together and, without any hired help, they accomplished much in their lives and Geri was always at John’s right hand helping with each and every project.   In the fall, between cattle seasons, John and Geri did quite a bit of travelling, including trips to the Holy Land, Europe, and throughout the U.S.

 In her elderly years, Geri remained active in the Emmett Nazarene Church leading a Bible Study and attending regularly.  She was also a member of the Emmett PEO chapter. 

 Throughout her life and even in her elderly years, Geri was an inspiration.  She never passed up an opportunity to say thank you for any supper provided, trip to town, or any other kindness offered to her. Even as each talent and hobby slipped away as her eyesight and hearing became weak, she was still happy and contented with life.  One of her favorite things to do was to attend the Boise Philharmonic concerts which she did even past her 102nd birthday!

 Geri’s legacy in life, of course, is her loving family who benefitted greatly from her wonderful parenting, inspirational life, and example to us all on how to age graciously. She left each and every individual she knew with joy and great examples of how to be pleased with what you have, how to have a strong faith in God, and a solid confidence that He will take care of you in all circumstances.  When interviewed on her 100th birthday by the local paper, her advice to all was to do the very best you can and be satisfied with that!

 During the last few years of Geri’s life, she relied on in-home help and for this the family would sincerely like to thank Home Helpers of Middleton and Heart & Home Hospice of Emmett and the many wonderful staff members of each that tenderly took such loving care of her. 

 Geri was preceded in death by her parents; husband, John; one brother, Wm. D. Fitzgerald (Billie); two sisters, Thelma Sergeant (John) and Naomi Zibelli (Joe); her daughter-in-law, Vicki Shaw and her son-in law, Larry Sawyer.  She is survived by her three children: daughter, Millie Sawyer; son, Tom (Skeeter) Shaw, and daughter, Sue (Steve) Beitia; six grandchildren, Mike Sawyer (Jeanette), Lorie Pointer, Mindi (Eric) Seaney, Amy (Brian) Murphy, Becki (Jay) Woodbury, and Brian Beitia; 13 great-grandchildren, and 5 great-great grandchildren. 

 In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Geri’s name to the Emmett Church of the Nazarene at 1144 N. Washington, Heart & Home Hospice at 306 S. Washington, or a charity of your choice. 

 Funeral services for Geri will be held at the Emmett Church of the Nazarene on Wednesday, July 20 at 11:00 AM. A viewing will be held at the Potter Funeral Chapel on Tuesday evening, July 19th from 6:00-8:00 PM.  Services will conclude with burial at the Emmett Cemetery.

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July 19, 2022

6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Potter Funeral Chapel
228 E. Main Street
Emmett, ID 83617

Funeral Service
July 20, 2022

11:00 AM
EMMETT, ID 83617

Video is available for this event

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