Marijo Shide, lifelong volunteer, dies at 86
Longtime community leader and Grand Forks native Marijo Shide died Monday at the age of 86. The constant volunteer was known throughout the region for her work with a host of organizations both large and small. Those who knew her best say her leg...
Longtime community leader and Grand Forks native Marijo Shide died Monday at the age of 86.
The constant volunteer was known throughout the region for her work with a host of organizations both large and small. Those who knew her best say her legacy is one of tireless dedication to bettering her community and the world at large.
Earl Strinden, former Grand Forks lawmaker and past president of the UND Alumni Association and Foundation, knew Shide for many years, partly as a result of her time serving on the foundation’s board of directors. Strinden described her as a “very dedicated, unselfish individual.”
“She really made her life count for the benefit of so many others in so many meaningful ways,” he said. “She was a remarkable lady.”
Shide’s dedication to community wasn’t limited to UND. Her long track record was noted in January by the local Chamber of Commerce with the Henry Havig Award for Community Service, the highest recognition given to local civic society leaders.
Though much of her work was based in North Dakota, Shide’s volunteer work took an international scope when she served from 1980 to 1982 as president of the General Foundation of Women’s Clubs. That post took her to Washington, D.C., to lead what was then a 10 million-member-strong organization with a presence in 46 countries.
When she returned to her home state, Shide served in a series of higher education leadership roles in higher education. She began a six-year tenure on the State Board of Higher Education in the mid-1980s, serving as president of that board for a year, beginning in 1989.
Shide attended UND as a pre-med student but didn’t complete her four-year degree. The Herald reported in 1991 that she left school when her father became sick, at which point she managed his grain-testing laboratory in Grand Forks. She met her husband, multiterm lawmaker and Larimore, N.D., farmer Don Shide, sometime after that. Don died in 2006 at the age of 79.
Beyond higher education, Shide was involved in several other community efforts. She was a founding board member for both the North Dakota and greater Grand Forks community foundations and served as chairwoman of the transition team for former North Dakota Gov. Ed Schafer.
Sheila Bruhn, who currently leads the Community Foundation, gave an account of Shide as a “truly community-minded individual.”
“‘Here to serve,’ that was her mantra,” Bruhn said, remembering her late friend as “very engaged, very vocal on what she saw that needed to be done and not afraid to roll up her sleeves and work right alongside you.”
While doing everything else, Shide was also a constant supporter of Grand Forks Air Force Base and traveled the country to advocate for the base. Her partnership with the military led the Air Force to recognize her work with the National Service Award Medal.
But for Shide, the accolades she received during her life were just a part of a professional dedication to volunteering.
In January, during her Havig Award speech, she described community service more as a personal and societal obligation than any special choice.
"Volunteer service is the rent we pay for the privileges we enjoy,” Shide said. “We owe it to the generations to come that they have the privileges they do.”