Geraldine “Geri” Esther (Walters) Gilbert died Dec. 28, 2019 at the age of 98 in Green Valley, AZ. Geri was born March 26, 1921 in Columbus, NE the daughter of Oliver and Ettna (Linstrum) Walters. She graduated from Kramer High School in 1938 and then attended Nebraska Wesleyan University and Bryan Nursing School in Lincoln, NE where she graduated in 1942. She met Louis Gilbert at Wesleyan and they were married in 1943. Geri worked as a nurse while Louis completed his medical training and military service. They later lived in Hot Springs, SD and Rochester, MN before settling in Lincoln, NE where Louis began a urology practice in l952.
In 1962, Geri and Louis bought an old farm along the Platte River and converted the property to a nature preserve. Later the Nebraska State Historical Society recommended a conservation and historic preservation easement to protect the land, which includes the most sacred site of the Pawnee Indian Nation. It is now on the National Register of Historic Places and is known as “Pahuk.” Geri and Louis lived at Pahuk until they began spending winters in Green Valley, AZ in the 1990s.
In 2007, Geri and Louis began residing at La Posada in Green Valley. They were very involved in the daily activities, often visiting with old and new friends. They enjoyed attending classes, taking nature walks, traveling “home” to Nebraska, and spending time with their family. In March 2013 they celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary.
Geri is survived by her sons William (Bill) and Richard (Rick), her grandchildren Ryan and Kaitlyn, her great-grandchildren Fletcher and Willa, and her sister Lucille. She was preceded in death by her parents Oliver and Ettna, her husband Louis, her son Joel, and her siblings Davida, Wendell, Mildred, Richard, and Lloyd.
Geri was a kind and thoughtful person who touched many lives. She was a spiritual person and had an especially deep connection with the land, plants, and animals at Pahuk. Geri was a gifted writer and her great love of nature was reflected in her essays, poetry, and personal journals. She tended a large garden of vegetables and herbs, and her excellent natural foods cooking was enjoyed by many. She was an avid reader and acquired a strong knowledge of nutrition which she shared with family and friends. Her talents were numerous, including pottery, beekeeping, and wildlife rescue. Geri influenced the lives of many through her altruism, art, and connection with nature.
Friends who want to make a memorial contribution may send it to Prairie Plains Resource Institute (www.prairieplains.org) or Friends of Madera Canyon (www.friendsofmaderacanyon.org).