Geraldine Fairfield

geraldine fairfield

Gerri Fairfield (Geraldine Faye Maasjo), a proud Norwegian, passed away on September 28th, 2022, at her home in Fargo, ND, surrounded by her daughters. She never passed up Norwegian food and loved to spend time with her friends and family.

Gerri was born on May 29th, 1945 (she never told anyone her age, so please forget you read that) at Mercy Hospital in Valley City, ND, and grew up on the family farm in Nome, ND, where she lived until she graduated high school in 1963.

She attended Valley City State University and graduated in 1966 with a Bachelor of Science in Education and an Elementary Education major with a minor in Social Science Education and Home Economics. She later attended Moorhead State University in 1986 and earned her K-12 Learning Disabled teaching license (SLD-LD), and in 1988 a K-12 Emotionally Disturbed teaching license (SLD-ED).

Gerri married Lynn Fairfield on December 22, 1968, in Fargo, ND. Two daughters were born into that union.

She taught at various schools in Minnesota and North Dakota until moving to Fargo and finding a full-time position. She taught at Luther Hall, Red River Victory Ranch, and McKinley Elementary in the Special Education areas of Learning Disabilities and Emotional Disabilities. She retired in 2008 from the Fargo Public School District. She felt so strongly for her students and wanted them to succeed beyond the boundaries of their current life situations. She maintained contact with some of them after they left her classroom. In looking at the correspondence she had with a handful of former students over the years, it was clear they appreciated her as much as she cared for them.

If you knew Gerri, you knew that she simply was who she was. She was a character that so many people enjoyed spending time with. She had a particular allegiance to the NDSU Bison football team. She was a season ticket holder and a diehard fan. She traveled to Frisco with her oldest grandson to watch her favorite team. The game was great. The bus was decidedly not. She loved sports. She didn’t care to watch TV, but if football or high school basketball was on, her TV was on, too.

If you fell on the ice, Gerri was going to laugh. It would have been a full-on, uncontrollable giggle that likely went on for far too long – so long, in fact, that she would have had tears streaming down her face, and you would have probably begun to feel bad. When she was done, she would have checked to make sure you were ok. But, make no mistake, she would have laughed first.

Gerri found some wonderful groups of people to spend time with over the years. The ladies in card club, Mahjong players, the marijuana legalization group, Obama and Bernie political canvassing parties, vegan groups (she wasn’t vegan but liked “natural” food), college friends, and the Presentation Sisters. She thought it was so great that she could be Lutheran and Catholic. Who would have predicted that one?

Gerri was known for leaving pins inside the multitudes of quilts and various items she had sewn over the years. It was inevitable that one of her daughters would find them. Sewing brought her great joy. She had a lot of fun making pajama pants for her entire family, booties for her teaching friends, quilts for anyone, stuffed animals, and the list goes on.

She enjoyed dressing up as Santa over the years and gifted many people things she thought they would like. She also gave people an array of “funny” gifts that may have bordered on inappropriate. But, they made her laugh, and she had so much fun giving and making people smile.

Gerri had a particular brand of politics and would talk to anyone about it, whether they were interested or not. If you disagreed with her, it is possible that she would have gotten up and walked away from you mid-conversation, unfriended you on Facebook, or both. She was passionate about going door-to-door and telling everyone about Bernie. She liked talking about him in the line at the grocery store, at family events, on the phone, at the bank… She and Bernie had a lot in common – the hair?

She enjoyed traveling to different countries and around the US. Visiting family, spending time with her grandsons, and seeing the sites was an annual event. She never got to Norway but was hoping to do that with her oldest grandson around the time Covid arrived. If you ever go, think of her and shout “Skål” in her memory. And eat lots of lefse, Kjøttkaker, Rømmegrøt, and Krumkake. She was a member of the Sons of Norway Kringen Lodge in Fargo for years and always looked forward to Pie Day.

Dancing and listening to music that could be heard from down the street with the windows wide open were frequent events. Gerri appreciated the crooning of Elvis, Bing Crosby, and Daniel O’Donnell. She was active and walked in her living room with YouTubers.

She had a soft spot in her heart for dogs. She would say “Oh for cute” in a certain tone and give them gentle pets. When she went for walks she would always stop and talk with the dogs through the fence.

She never passed up the opportunity to check out a garage sale. She had a very keen eye for antiques and other items of value and made sure the sellers didn’t know what she’d stumbled upon. She had a great poker face. She was known to bargain hard. Refinishing found furniture from the boulevard was a hobby, and she was quite skilled in that arena.

Gerri had fun in her garden. It was so exciting that she decided to make her entire backyard into a garden for a couple of years. The raspberries and tomatoes were particularly abundant. So were the weeds. She was far too busy with everything to pick the weeds. After a while, she began to spread her garden to the side of her house. If you visited, you know.

Taking care of her home was not a big priority because activities demanded far too much of her time. For a while, she was devoted to water aerobics and golf. And then golf became her motivating force for many years. She golfed daily and was very competitive.

And then came Pickleball. (Cue the angels singing.) She could not get enough of it. Gerri was very, very, very competitive in this sport. She played for hours each day with different groups of people. She may have been known for how competitive and unrelenting she came to be. She yelled at the newcomers at times because they did not meet her standards. Sometimes she wouldn’t eat or drink water until 2:00 pm or even 4:00 pm because Pickleball was the ultimate pursuit each day. Gerri even brought her paddles and a couple of balls with her when she traveled, regardless of court availability. She was never able to play at the new Pickleball court near her home. She would have loved it.

Gerri fought a consuming and destructive battle and beat Cushing’s Disease and everything that went along with it, even though she dealt with the effects of its aftermath throughout her entire life. And then came a facial skin cancer diagnosis that she beat, too.

When her former school in Nome, ND was purchased and renovated she was beyond proud. She told anyone who would listen all about how wonderful it was. She went there several times and took everyone she could to see it. She talked about going over and over again. She was able to visit again a little over a year ago. She found contentment just being there.

Gerri was passionate about helping others and would routinely bring needed items to local shelters and her church. She always picked the angels on the Christmas trees and donated toys to children in need.

Ice cream, popcorn, cookies from Gate City Bank, coffee, and Twizzlers were particularly delicious. Quite frankly, she loved sweets. Chocolate cake was a favorite, too. If there was a carton of ice cream in her freezer, it quickly became the next meal. When it was finished, she would call and say, “I’m never doing that again” or “Don’t buy me ice cream again” or “Why did you give me that?” And then she’d go buy some more, and the cycle continued.

Whenever one of her daughters would come over she would forgo any pleasantries and say, “Do you have any gum for me?” They’d reply with a hello, and Gerri would say, “Do you?” When it was time to get off the phone, or rather when she was done talking, regardless of what was being said on the other end, she’d simply hang up because she was done talking with you.

When she was getting ready to complain she would clear her throat multiple times before starting. Sometimes she would shift her eyes from side to side beforehand, too. If this is familiar to you, then you know what was to come.

The last years of Gerri’s life were overshadowed by Alzheimer’s-Related Dementia. She was a cantankerous, feisty patient that gave everyone a tough time. She loved to talk to her friends on the phone and spend time with them more than anything. Going out for coffee, pancakes, or ice cream were highlights. To those friends who came and listened, danced with her, sat with her, and were generally just there for her – thank you.

Gerri asked to stay in her home once it became apparent to her that she wasn’t going to get better, even though she sure tried. She was ever-grateful to be able to putter around her house and garage, go for walks around the block, and sit in her front yard waving at all passersby whether she knew them or not. By the way, the walker was never hers. She would want you to know that. It was her daughter’s, and she was just borrowing it.

When she finally left us, she may have been thinking, “To hell with that.” We heard that a lot when she was done with something.

The next time you encounter a friend or family member who is acting out of the ordinary, don’t discount them as crazy. They may have an endocrine disorder such as Cushing’s Disease.
If your loved one behaves erratically or becomes irresponsibly forgetful, treat them with dignity instead of calling them quirky or again – crazy. Gerri called one of her friends “Juice” for a couple of years. It wasn’t because she forgot their name. It was because she couldn’t remember it.

Be their advocate and push their doctors to do more and do better to get a proper diagnosis. They can’t help what’s happening to them, but you can help them by caring.

Gerri is survived by her two daughters Kristi Fairfield, Fargo, ND, and Kerri Fairfield Freeman, Fargo, ND, three grandsons whom she adored, Alex Fairfield-Johnson, and Bodhi and Kai Freeman; and brothers Dennis (Becky) Maasjo, Sun City West, Arizona, Darrell (Judy) Maasjo, Madison, MN, Dale (Becky) Maasjo, Nome, ND, along with numerous nieces and nephews, extended family and many friends.

Gerri is preceded in death by her parents Clifford and Martha Maasjo, and niece Darla Maasjo Rich.

A memorial service will be held at Hope Lutheran Church, North Campus, Fargo, on Saturday, October 15th at 10:00 am with lunch to follow. Visitation will be on the same day beginning at 9:00 am. All who knew Gerri are welcome to attend. Since Gerri appreciated bright clothing, athletic wear, and her essential Bison hoodies, please feel free to wear what you want or dress in your NDSU attire. And if you don’t feel like brushing your hair, that’s ok, too.

Burial will be held at St. Petri Lutheran Church, Nome, ND at a later date.

Arrangements were by Boulger Funeral Home, Fargo, ND. Memories and online condolences may be shared by visiting

Should family and friends desire, in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Nome Schoolhouse in memory of Gerri.

View current weather.

Memories Timeline


  1. I would love to come to Fargo but I’ve got a cold and hardly drive across the street. I will continue to think about you and how different life will be for you. Life is different but you have to make each day count.

  2. I would love to come to Fargo but I’ve got a cold and hardly drive across the street. I will continue to think about you and how different life will be for you. Life is different but you have to make each count for you.

  3. Gerri was my neighbor from the day I moved into my house with my young family. We shared many meals and my entire extended family had the chance to know her as well. I am grateful for my time with her and I wish all the strength for her family. She will be missed.

  4. Thank you for the great obit for Gerri, it made me smile many times. She was my neighbor and we would go to Bingo, the Horse Races, card club and Costco. I am sorry that didn’t take more time to visit her in the later months. She was a very interesting person and as kind as ever. God Bless Gerri!

  5. My prayers are with you both and the entire family over the passing of your mom 💜 much love always
    Cousin Anne Jones (daughter of Judy Sterling and granddaughter of Jo Johnson)

  6. My condolences to the family. You fought the long fight right along with Gerri. Bless her memory among all of us. We will miss her.
    Linda Johnson Almas

  7. My prayers and sympathy are with the Fairfield family. May you find comfort in your memories and consolation in your faith. I wish I had know this delightful woman better than I did…
    Mary Margaret Mooney, PBVM

  8. It was my great privilege to be Gerri’s companion on her Associate journey. .During COVID lockdown we hollered “Hallelujia” from our porches from North Fargo to South Fargo. She outpaced me in our walks around her block and I would have to remind her to slow down. She outdid me in our verbal alphabetical states competitions and she loved our dancing around the living room. I expect she is dancing and prancing and cheering in heaven. You go girl.

  9. So sorry Kristi and Alex. I know she was ever present in your lives. We talked quite a few times when I worked in Menards. Hope you are well.

  10. I met Gerri, shortly after moving to West Fargo. She invited me to her garage meets, to discuss the latest political issues. I have not seen her in a few years. I loved how she was Always passionate about our brand of politics! RIP Gerri

  11. This was the most wonderful tribute to this unique and strong woman, a woman of MANY talents. She would be delighted and embarrassed by the straightforward and loving way that you captured the essence of all she was and will continue to be in our memories. As an FPS colleague, I found her to be a champion for her students. Bless you, Gerri, I hope that heaven is ready for you and your special sense of joy.

  12. What a beautiful tribute! I met your Mom at Pickleball and played with her a few different times. I wish I could have known her better! She sounds like an incredible person.

  13. The first words that come to mind when I think of Gerri are “true to herself” – a good thing. She was so strong and passionate about her beliefs. We played pickleball and even a little mahjong. The last time we played pickleball was the summer of 2020. My sincere sympathy to her entire family.

  14. I feel so blessed to have been part of Gerri’s last few months here on earth. She was such a special lady who I think of often and when I do, I laugh and smile at some of the conversations we had. I will always chuckle at the memory of her walking to youtube videos or showing me her dance moves! Thank you again for allowing me to be part of her life. I apologize that I won’t be able to attend the funeral but please know you all have been in my thoughts and prayers.


  15. Deepest sympathy & heartfelt condolences to Gerri’s family. You are all in my thoughts & prayers. Gerri was my daughter Lisa’s neighbor. She was invited to our family’s celebrations & we quickly connected. What a delight she was to chat with having both a humorous & serious side. As I knew Gerri…she had a young free spirit, was open minded, well versed, interesting & fun to be around.I attended a couple of her political garage gatherings. Gerri will certainly be missed! I’m sure she’s dancing in Heaven. Hold on to your faith that you will see her again. May God send Gerri’s family His blessings of strength comfort & peace.

  16. Dear Kristi,
    dear Alex,

    I would like to express my sincere condolences. I was deeply touched and saddened by your message and I read this wonderful tribute to your Mum. My thoughts are with you and your family in these difficult times.
    your friend from Germany

  17. I always wondered what happened to my old teacher from the victory ranch. My condolences to the family. She was really great! I was a foster child most of my childhood. I was caught with cannabis at 17 years old and got kicked out of foster care and put in the Victory Ranch roughly october 1999. She looked out for me knowing I quit school and was headed back to live on the streets after my 18th birthday. She convinced me to get my GED and helped me study for the tests. im forever greatful for the universe put us together. I oassed my test april 2000 and was released to go live on my own. My GED opened many doors for me. from military service to corporate jobs and living abroad for many years now. People like her leave this world debt free becuse of the work they did. so many of us in the foster system or boys homes have ended up in prison or dead from violence or drugs. my 6 months at the ranch 23 years ago, 10 or more out of the 20 youths there are dead now and most served long prison sentences. We were unwanted children by most of society, but Gerri wanted us and looked out for us. She deserves the highest reward for caring for and helping unwanted children. she knew where most of us were headed. god sent an angel just for us. Again im so sorry for your family, death is difficult to process for most of us. I hope you smile reading this knowing Gerri was a hero. She helped save children! Im so lucky have her as a teacher. my life would have gone another direction if it wasnt for her help.

Sign the Guestbook, Light a Candle

Accessibility Tools