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Elizabeth Rutten Gaffaney

March 19, 1923 - December 04, 2011


5-7:00 P.M. Thursday, December 8 at Sacred Heart Convent, Fargo.

12:30-1:30 P.M. Friday, December 9 at Nativity Catholic Church, Fargo.

Prayer Service:

7:00 P.M. Thursday, December 8 at Sacred Heart Convent, Fargo.

Funeral Service:

1:30 P.M. Friday, December 9 at Nativity Catholic Church, Fargo.


Holy Cross North Cemetery, Fargo.


Boulger Funeral Home, Fargo.

Elizabeth Rutten Gaffaney

March 19, 1923 - December 04, 2011


Elizabeth Rutten Gaffaney, age 88, died on Sunday, December 4th, 2011, at Villa Maria in Fargo, ND.

Born Elizabeth Annette Olson on March 19, 1923, in Minneapolis, MN, “Betty” was the daughter of Edward and Elizabeth (Peters) Olson.  After graduating from Minneapolis South High School, she then worked for Hennepin County Social Services. 

On June 11, 1949, Betty married Vince Rutten, in Minneapolis.  The two moved to Fargo where they raised their family, and Betty began work at the Fargo Clinic in the late 1950’s.  After Vince’s death in 1969, she married Robert Gaffaney in 1971.  The couple retired to Phoenix, AZ, in 1977, and resided there until Bob passed away in 1982.  Betty then returned to Fargo in 1985 to be near her grandchildren.        

She was an active member of St. Anthony’s Catholic Church, a volunteer at Shanley High School, and an avid supporter of her children and grandchildren’s activities.  She volunteered in the Meritcare Hospital Library for many years and delivered Meals on Wheels. 

Betty believed you were never too old to learn something new, so she enthusiastically became a golfer and a bridge player later in life and especially enjoyed the social side of both activities.  She even taught all of her grandchildren to play golf.

She was a loving and inspiring presence in the lives of all of her family.  Her optimism, unconditional acceptance and support, generous spirit and ability to see the good in those she encountered have profoundly influenced her friends and family.

She is survived by her daughter Cathy (Morrie) Schwinden, Fargo, her son Tom (Betteanne) Rutten, Phoenix, her grandchildren Sarah (Thomas) Walters, Fargo, Lisa Schwinden, Fargo, Chris (Rebecca) Schwinden, Durham, NC, and two great-grandchildren, Andrew and Sophia Walters, Fargo. 

Betty is also survived by two sisters Janet (Ed) Lentz, Litchfield, MN, Jeanne Boening, Minneapolis, MN, one brother Robert “Buddy” (Barbara) Olson, and numerous nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her sisters Irene (Russell) Kladis, Dorothy Olson, and her twin brother Earl Olson, all of Minneapolis, MN.

In lieu of flowers, please send memorials to The Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Fargo.

Betty’s family would like to thank the wonderful staff at Villa Maria for the loving and compassionate care given to her as she struggled with Alzheimer’s disease these past six years, especially Sarah, Holly, Peggy and Nancy. 


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0 responses to “Elizabeth Rutten Gaffaney”

  1. Mary Ann Weldon says:

    Hutchinson Minnesota
    Prayers & Love, to Cathy, Tom,her 3 Grandchildren she so adored, & of course Morrie & BettyAnn.Your Mom was an Abundance of Giving, Sharing & Energy to All she Touched!! It was impossible to meet her without feeling Cherished & Understood! I will always remember my Auntie Betty,as passing on JOY & POSITIVITY after visiting with me! This is the LEGACY, she left with her Family Friends & MYSELF! I can’t IMAGINE the SACRIFICE & LOVE it took for she and Uncle Vince to move into our home, after our own MOM died! We were 2 frightened children, in need of Comfort, & they gave it FULLY! When I was ill, she was like a gentle Florence Nightingale in the night,asking me if there was anything I needed!I just KNOW she is still SERVING US from the Heavens!

  2. Char Pauls-Laufman says:

    West Fargo ND
    Cathy, Tom and family. I knew your mother when I started work at Fargo Clinic, back in 1969. She of took me under her wing and was always looking out for me. What a wonderful caring lady. I will never forget her and the kind words she always had for me. May she rest in peace. Char

  3. Edith Rutten Lueke says:

    Rochester MN
    Our condolences to you Cathy and Tom. We’ve had Aunt Betty in our thoughts and prayers since we last saw her when visiting with Aunt Germaine.

    Edith and Hansjuergen
    Rochester, MN

  4. lRev Hilary Bitz says:

    Vancouver WATom and Cathy, I remember your Mom, even though it was 44 years ago since I last saw her. May she live fully and share in the resurrection life of Jesus and her loved ones who have died before her.

  5. Duane & Joann Koble says:

    Fargo ND
    Our prayers, love and blessings are with you and your families at this time of your loss.
    Peace and all good these days!

  6. Thomas J Setter says:

    AnthemA Az.WE SHARE IN YOUR LOSS. We will always remember her as very loving person. I remember Vince courting her.
    What a wonderful pair.
    She will be resting in PEACE now.

  7. DAN & MARY RUTTEN says:

    Moorhead Minnesota

  8. vivian and wes dunford says:

    fargo, ndTo Lisa and family: We wish to extend our
    sympathy to you all.

    Betty and I were in the same church circle
    years ago. Nice lady.

    Wes and Vivian Dunford

  9. Stacey Allard says:

    Fargo ND
    Lisa & family~ My sympathies in the loss of your loving grandmother. I hope you have MANY wonderful memories to help get you through this time. God Bless, Stacey Allard

  10. Kim and Jay Eisenbeis says:

    Fargo ND
    Dear Tom, Cathy and families, We are so sorry to hear about your Mom’s death. She had a full and long life, enjoying all her family. May God bring comfort to you all. Sincerely, Jay and Kim Nelson Eisenbeis

  11. Patty Nicklaus says:

    Fargo ND
    Cathy, Tom, Morrie, Lisa, Sarah and Chris…
    Our thoughts are with you in the loss of Betty…Mother and Grandmother.
    Praise God for all of the wonderful memories you have with her!
    One of the last times we spoke…it was so wonderful to see how proud she was and how her eyes lit up when she talked about Lisa, Sally and Chris.

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