Just as peacefully and quiet as he lived, Ralph Fred Thisted, 91, of the Ninemile Valley, Montana, passed away Tuesday, May 9, 2017, of natural causes, at home, with his wife and family members by his side. Ralph is the husband of longtime member Betty Gaither Thisted.
Ralph was born Nov. 12, 1925, to Fred and Claudia Thisted in a small cabin on Birch Creek, near Valier, located on the Blackfeet Reservation. The family ran several bands of sheep while living on Birch Creek, enjoying life there until it was time for Ralph to enter first grade. The severe winter weather did not allow him to ride his horse the 4 miles to the one room schoolhouse, so the family moved to Raynsford, a small community near Great Falls, a whistle stop on the railroad, where the family raised a few cattle, did some farming, and were able to board their children with a family to attend school in Great Falls. Drought conditions prevailed in the Raynsford area the next few years, which prompted the Thisteds to begin their search for another place to farm and ranch — a place where there was abundant water. Ralph remembers the comments his mother made in 1937 after visiting the for sale ranch in the Ninemile, "we have found just the place, there is plenty of running water in the house and indoors plumbing." And so the ranch was purchased and to the Ninemile the family moved in 1938. Ralph attended school in Alberton and following graduation in 1944 he was drafted into the United States Army serving in the Pacific Theater as part of the occupational forces stationed in Kyoto, Japan. In November 1946 he received an Honorable Discharge from the Army. Continue reading
For the 35th Reunion, the family will return to Annapolis, Maryland, the city where the Society of John Gaither Descendants was formed in 1984 and to where John Gater fled in 1649 to escape the religious intolerance of Virginia. If you haven't registered yet, don't delay and don't miss the deadline. Click here for more information and registration.
Catherine Osborne Gaither, 94, passed away Sunday, February 11, 2018. Catherine was born in Rowan County on June 29, 1923 to Robert Charlie Osborne and Merlie Safley Osborne. She married Willie Lemuel Gaither, son of James Martin Gaither, grandson of John Martin Gaither and in the line of Greenberry, Jeremiah, John V, John IV, John III, John II, and John Gaither I.
She was a homemaker, a member of Midway Baptist Church and was preceded in death by her parents, her husband Willie Lemuel Gaither (12/08/2009), a daughter Beverly Lorraine Gaither and a grandson Mickey Durham. Surviving are her sons, Tony Gaither (Debbie) of Clemmons, Gene Gaither (Brenda) of East Bend, Mike Gaither (Debbie) of Winston-Salem; daughters, Irene Durham of Mocksville, Gerry Hartsell of Winston-Salem, Colleen Hunt (Winfred) of Winston-Salem, Nell Benoist of Reeds, Winona Gaither of Winston-Salem, Elaine Richardson of Lexington, Faye Gaither of Lexington; sisters, Blanche Misenheimer of Salisbury, Frances Ennis of Newton, Juanita Guessford of Salisbury; 32 grandchildren, 68 great-grandchildren and 26 great-great-grandchildren.
Elizabeth “Lib” Koontz Woodward, 87, formerly of Country Lane, Mocksville, North Carolina died Sunday, October 22, 2017, at Forsyth Medical Center in Winston-Salem. She was born March 11, 1930, in Davie County to Marshall Wilson and Laura Hesseltine Campbell Koontz. Lib was the grand-daughter of Mary Ellen Gaither, great-granddaughter of George Washington Gaither, in the Gaither line of Basil E, Walter, Basil, Edward, Benjamin, John II, and John Gaither I.
Mrs. Woodward was a member of First Baptist Church of Mocksville where she was very active as long as she was able. She was a member of the Mocksville Garden Club and loved to cook for her family and friends.
Past SJGD president Robert L. Kaplan passed away on December 3, 2017. Bob Serviced as president of the Society from 1993-1995. He was born October 5, 1928 in Long Branch, New Jersey. Bob married Jean Gaither on March 18, 1960 in Suffolk, Virginia. Burial will be at a later this year at West Point, New York.
Charter SJGD member Jerry Forrest Gaither, age 89, passed from this life on Wednesday, December 28, 2016 after a brief illness. Jerry is the son of Jesse Edward Gaither, grandson of Isaac Raines Gaither, in the Gaither line of Amos F, Edward, Benjamin, John IV, John III, John II and John Gaither I.
He was born on a farm in Auburntown, Tennessee as the youngest of ten children to Jesse Edward and Jodie Nugent Hawkins Gaither. He graduated from public school in Auburntown, graduating from Auburn High School in 1945. Immediately upon graduation he joined the U.S Navy and served until the end of WWII. He graduated from MTSU with his undergraduate and later Masters Degree in Education.
Marie Swiggett, 95, went to her heavenly home on Monday, January 1, 2018, freed from the debilitating effects of dementia. Her sweet smile and disposition will be missed by her family and friends. She was born in Greensboro on May 17, 1922, to Ellen Gaither Swiggett and Henry Grady Swiggett, Sr. and spent the majority of her life in Greensboro until moving to Kaukauna, WI ten years ago for care in an assisted living and dementia center. Marie was the granddaughter of William Henry Gaither, in the Gaither line of William Henry, Elijah, Zachariah, Benjamin, John III, John II, and John I.
John Francis Gaither, 98, of Evansville, Indiana passed away Tuesday, August 29, 2017, at St. Vincent Hospital. He was born October 26, 1918, in Louisville, KY, to Thomas R. Gaither and Maurice Francis Gaither. John was the grandson of Thomas Richard Gaither in the Gaither line of James Edward, John Richard, Edward Brisco, Greenberry, Edward, Benjamin, John II, and John Gater.
John served on the first Board of Directors of The Society of John Gaither Descendants, and was the third President of the Society. He has the distinction of serving the Society in official positions longer than any other member. The Society will miss his service and dedication.
As a teenager, John was a pilot in the early days of aviation. He graduated from University of Notre Dame in 1941 and was captain of the Fencing Team. He served in the U.S. Navy during WWII as a communication intelligence officer.
Paul Shew, 89, of Mocksville, N.C., passed from this life Monday, June 26, 2017. He was born March 25, 1928, in Iredell County to the late Mancy and Nora Parker Shew. Paul was the husband of Margaret Ann Cartner Shew, a longtime member of The Society of John Gaither Descendants.
Mr. Shew was a graduate of Harmony High School, Class of 1947. He was drafted into Military Service in 1950, serving in the Company A 175th Military Police Battalion in Germany during the Korean Conflict. Mr. Shew attended Barber School in Winston-Salem and began his career at Cooleemee Barber Shop in 1958, and retired in 2009. Continue reading