March 19, 1923 ~ December 4, 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.