29 Nov Shirley Gummer
Shirley Ann (Brown) Gummer, 87, went to heaven November 23, 2022, surrounded by family. Funeral services will be held at 11:00am Friday, December 2, 2022, at First Presbyterian Church, Mandan, with a visitation one hour prior to the service. For those unable to attend, the service will be livestreamed on the Bismarck Funeral Home Facebook page. Burial & celebration of life will be at 1:00pm Saturday, December 3, 2022, Mayville Cemetery, with the celebration of life to follow, from 1:30pm-3:00pm Larson Alumni Center – Mayville State University.
Shirley was born on January 12, 1935, to Aagot (Heramb) and Kenneth Brown in Mayville, ND. She graduated 8th grade from Blanchard no. 1, in 1949, and Mayville high school in 1953. While in high school she participated in band, choir, speech, drama, and the tumbling team. She then attended both North Dakota Agriculture College (NDAC), now North Dakota State University and Mayville State Teachers College, now Mayville State University.
Growing up on a farm near Blanchard, ND, everyone had to work. At seven years old, she was driving mules in the field; at age eight, she learned to drive the neighbor’s truck; age nine she was left at Lake Ashtabula to herd several head of sheep; and at age 10 she had a team of horses in which to rake hay and was hired out by neighbors to hay their fields. At age 10 she was also able to join 4-H and was a high-achieving member for 11 years. Her specialty was showmanship, showing registered purebred Brown Swiss cattle and registered purebred Suffolk sheep (along with other breeds of cattle) at many fairs, winning top awards at both the state and national level. She was also a barrel racer for many years. At age 16, she was crowned North Dakota State Dairy Princess.
Shirley married the love of her life, Gordon Gummer, on September 5, 1954, at Mayville Lutheran Church. This union was not by chance. When Shirley was a little girl, she told her mom that she was going to marry the boy who lived at a farm on the edge of Mayville because he owned a Shetland pony. And she did! They were blessed with two children, Gary and Rae Ann. Shirley loved farming with Gordon and her family and did so until 1992. She worked in the field, drove truck, and along with the grandmas, cooked up delicious hot meals, served buffet style on the tailgate of the pickup during harvest. After retiring from farming, Gordon and Shirley moved from Mayville to Mandan, ND in August of 1999 to be near their daughter and her family. Shortly after moving to Mandan, in 2001 she was nominated to serve on the North Dakota Milk Marketing Board. She served on the board as president for 16 years.
Shirley loved her community and volunteered, established, fundraised, and led the charge for countless organizations. She was a loyal supporter of Mayville State University (MSU), receiving the Distinguished Service Award in 1999. She served as President of both the Alumni Board and Foundation board, Vice President and one of the original founders of the MSU diversity organization, one of the founders of both the farmers bowl and M-300 fundraising initiatives, chairman of the MSU Quarterback Club, and hosted college events in their home, as well as hosting many foreign exchange students who came to MSU. She was active at Mayville Lutheran church, educating children, serving on the church council and ladies circle for 45 years, and served 20 years as the wedding coordinator. In Mayville, she served in many high school organizations, Sons of Norway, PEO, Eagles, Republican party, and was the first woman to serve on the Luther Memorial Home Board – and the list keeps going.
Summing up the life of our grandma is not easy to do in a few paragraphs, as she was so much more than what can be put on paper. Anyone that knew her has an abundance of stories to share. She had the most genuine interest in people, making a connection with absolutely anyone she met. And we repeat… anyone she met. She was a spitfire, hard-working, classy, smart, adventurous, fearless, determined, and loving woman with a mischievous sense of humor, and an infectious laugh. She was fiercely devoted to her family, friends, and community.