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Mae Marie Blackmore

Mae Marie was born July 24, 1925 in Grand Forks, North Dakota to Alfred and Hilma (Youngdahl) Malm. She was raised in Emerado, North Dakota, graduated from Emerado High School as valedictorian in 1943. She attended the University of North Dakota, graduating in 1947 with a degree in Dietetics. In 1976, she attended graduate school at Wheelock College, Boston MA and received her master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from UND in 1978.

On June 10, 1947, Mae Marie married Byron H. Blackmore in Grand Forks. They were the parents of four children, Barbara, Robert, Jeannie and Richard. Captain Blackmore was recalled to the US Air Force and the young family moved fifteen times in the ten short years of marriage. Captain Blackmore was killed in a B-47 airplane crash in 1957. Mae Marie and her children returned to Grand Forks where she was one of the few single mothers in town. She dedicated herself to raising her very spirited, independent, and successful children.

Entering the workforce in 1959, she became the director of the University Nursery School. The University Children’s Center was formed in 1972 with Mae Marie as the Administrative Director. Hundreds of kids received hugs, encouragement and schooling under her guidance and support in these centers. In addition, she was a faculty member at the UND Center of Teaching and Learning, training, teaching, and advocating for young children. Mae Marie retired from the University in 1990.

During her tenure at the University, she served as a member of the Governor’s Task Force on Early Childhood Education and board member of: Midwest Association for the Education of Young Children (AEYC), National Coalition of Campus Childcare and North Dakota Social Service Day Care Advisory. She assisted with organizing the ND AEYC and served as its president as well as the Grand Forks Chapter of AEYC.

In college, Mae Marie was initiated as a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority. She remained active for over 75 years, acting in many capacities including Advisory chairman, House Corporation chairman, Chair of the Alumni Panhellenic and co-chair of the Fraternity Sorority Endowment Fund. Because of her involvement with the young people in the fraternity and sorority system, she collaborated with Bruce Gjovig on a book “Pardon Me Your Manners Are Showing” that has been used to educate young people in proper etiquette in social and business settings.

Mae Marie was proud of her lifetime of public service to the Grand Forks community. She was always willing to serve when called upon. She was past president of the Greater Grand Forks Inter-Agency Forum, charter member of the Greater Grand Forks Women’s Network and board member of the Greater Grand Forks Resource and Referral Network. She also served on the boards of the Greater Grand Forks Children’s Museum, Foster Grandparents, Greater Grand Forks Betterment Foundation, the YMCA Childcare Center and Prairie Harvest Foundation. She was a member of PEO AF Chapter, Thursday Music Club, Franklin Club and continued her love of education through various OLLIE classes at UND.

Politics has also been a part of Mae Marie’s life. She served for many years as the Chair of the District 17/18 Republicans and volunteered hundreds of hours. Mae Marie ran for the State Legislature in 1990, personally knocking on every door in her district. Although unsuccessful, her campaign once again demonstrated her willingness to serve.

The Arts and Humanities are another special area that Mae Marie donated her time and energy. As a member of the Arts and Humanities (AH!), she helped in the foundation of North Valley Arts Council. She served on the Summerthing Committee, Chautauqua Committee, Advisory Committee for the UND Chester Fritz Auditorium. She was vice chair of both the North Dakota Council on the Arts and the Greater Grand Forks Symphony Board. Mae Marie also served on the Grand Forks County Historical Society including the presidency.

Mae Marie has been honored throughout her career and public service. She was the recipient of the Ruth Meiers Service Award to Children in 1989, selected as Outstanding Greek Alumnus for UND in 1984, 1987 and 1991 and Honorary Local Chairperson of Child Care and Health Care week in 1986. In addition, Mae Marie was recognized by the Office of Women’s Programs for “Dedicated Effort on Behalf of Women”, the Sertoma Club of Grand Forks with the Service of Mankind Award, and by the Pi Beta Phi Society with the 2012 Carolyn Helman Lichtenberg Crest Award for outstanding professional of community service achievements.

In her free time, Mae Marie loved books and flowers. She was a member of the Grand Forks Horticulture Society and a local book club. Many people would go into her backyard to enjoy her garden and go home with plant starts. She spent 20 years arranging flowers for patients at Altru hospital with two lifelong friends.

Mae Marie was a long-term member of Augustana Lutheran Church. She was both confirmed and married in the church.

Mae Marie is survived by her three children, Robert (Mary), Chino Valley, AZ, Jeannie, Corvallis, OR and Richard, Beltrami, MN. She will also be missed by nine grandchildren, the joys of her life: Cristen, Teresa (Randy) Eisenzimmer, Thomas, Anna (Ken) Solanky, James, Nicolas, Justine (Cody) Garber, Michael Goetz, and Amy (David) Taylor and great-grandchildren Colton, Aubrey, Jade Eisenzimmer, Jonathan, Jethro, Jack Garber and Mathilda Taylor. Other special family includes Dean and Barb Goetz and Val Tuseth. She is also survived by her siblings John Malm and Gary and Carol Malm and many nieces and nephews.

Mae Marie was preceded in death by her husband Byron, daughter Barbara Goetz, her parents Alfred and Hilma Malm, sister-in-law Cleone Malm, son-in-law Pat Haley, niece Karen Schrade and special friend Cheryl Wegner.

Funeral services will be held at Augustana Lutheran Church in Grand Forks, on Thursday, June 17, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. with interment to follow at Memorial Park North Cemetery. A visitation will be held from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Amundson Funeral Home on Wednesday, June 16th.

The family asks memorials be directed to the Grand Forks County Historical Society.

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