Geraldine L. “Jerry” Meyer, 83, Berthold, N.D., died Thursday, July 22, 2010, in a Minot hospital.
Geraldine Louise Birdsall was born April 23, 1927, in Berthold, N.D., to Herb and Mildred (Wixer) Birdsall. She was raised and educated in Berthold, and graduated from Berthold High School in 1944. She then graduated from Minot State Business College.
On Dec. 30, 1946, Geraldine married Darrel Meyer in Randolph, Neb. They farmed and ranched near Berthold and Watford City (Figure Four Ranch) with her father, Herb, and their children. Jerry also had apartments in Watford City and Berthold.
Jerry was an inspired Democratic Party activist from the first time her uncle, Leon Birdsall, took her to meetings in the 1950s. In the 1970s, once her older children were grown, Jerry became a leader in her own right. She contributed her knowledge of Robert’s Rules and Order and her attention to details as a long-time member of the State Convention Rules Committee. As a District Chair, she excelled as a leader by bringing together Party activists from Renville County and all of rural Ward County to successfully elect Democrats to all District 3 Legislative seats.
From 1982 to 1989, Jerry was an elected State Senator from District 3. She served on the Human Services, Veterans Affairs and the Judiciary Committees. During the 1987 and 1989 sessions, she chaired the Senate Judiciary committees - one of only a couple of non-lawyers on the Committee. Jerry developed great respect among legislators with a special interest for advancing the status of women and the interests of rural communities. She was always concerned about demonstrating respect for diverse opinions and helping disadvantaged people find opportunity. Her speeches on the Senate floor were known to be well-researched, carefully-worded, and eloquent in their brevity. Jerry was very proud of serving in the North Dakota Senate along with her son, Dean Meyer.
Jerry was a member of Zion Lutheran Church, Berthold. She was active in 4-H, and in the Berthold School. She was a member of the Farmers Union, and she served as president for the District and State Cattle Women’s Association. For many years, Jerry helped serve as secretary for the Figure Four Rodeo Company.
Her grandchildren and their friends knew that the door was always open at Grandma Jerry’s if they needed a place to stay or hang out. She loved to read, travel, and enjoyed going on trips with her niece, Barb. Her whist and bridge club friends were very important to her. Jerry was a proud farm wife who was always there for her family. She never worried about herself, but wanted to make sure her family was taken care of.
Those who shared in her life: husband of 63 years, Darrel, Berthold; sons, Dean (Shirley) Meyer, Dickinson, N.D., Lynn (Guynell) Meyer, Rugby, N.D., and Gary (Toni) Meyer, Berthold, N.D.; daughter, Gayle (Dennis) Hanna, Berthold; grandchildren, Carmen (Matt) Gilbert, Will (Jennifer) Meyer, Ryan (Susan) Hanna, Brady (Jessica) Hanna, Dane (Erika) Hanna, Nici Clarkson, Alexis and Aubree Meyer; great-grandchildren, Gracie and Gage Gilbert, Evan and RJ Meyer, Hayse, Maysa and Lohgan Hanna, Brextin and Holden Clarkson; special nieces, Barbra Kraft, Berthold, and Michelle Bradley, Billings, Mont.; stepbrother, Joel (Joyce) Haugen, Downers Grove, Ill.; sisters-in-law, Virginia Cromwell, Norfolk, Neb., Jeannette Cook, Boise, Idaho, Gladys Gubbels, Randolph, Neb., Marilyn (John) Carlstrom, Fremont, Neb., Judy Reed, Omaha, Neb.; brothers-in-law, Bob (Velma) Meyer, Randolph, Neb., Bill (Pat) Meyer, Fairfield, N.D., Jerry (Carol) Meyer, Gooding, Idaho, and Doug Stevick, Berthold, and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
Jerry was preceded in death by her son, Dale Meyer; an infant daughter; grandson, Garrett Clarkson; parents, Herb and Mildred Birdsall; sisters, Eleanor Trondson and Merle Kalenze Stevick; stepmother, Daisy Haugen Birdsall; father-in-law and mother-in-law, Herman and Ella Meyer; sisters-in-law, Donna Witzel and Lois Schnoor.
The funeral was held on Monday, July 26, 2010, at 11:00 a.m. at Zion Lutheran Church in Berthold. Burial followed at Wildrose Cemetery in Berthold.
Those wishing to sign the online guest register or share memories of Jerry may access the online obituaries at www.thompsonlarson.com.