Georgene (Gene) Dunn Paige, age 99, died August 21, 2018, only a few days prior to her 100th birthday. Gene was born August 30, 1918, in Yankton, South Dakota and moved with her parents and siblings to Gainesville, FL while she was still a child. She considered Gainesville her home.
She is survived by a son, Ralph Paige, Jr; three daughters, Karen, Patti, and Debbie Paige; one grandson, Russell Paige; two granddaughters, Christine Jorgensen and Keely Bird; two nephews, Ellery Dunn, Jr. and Louis Dunn; three great grandsons, Garrett Jorgensen, Cade Jorgensen, and Paul Bird; and three great granddaughters, Morgan Jorgensen, Reese Jorgensen, and Linnea Bird.
She was predeceased by her husband, Col. Ralph E. Paige, her parents, and her two brothers, Edgar and Ellery Dunn.
Gene graduated from the Florida State University when it was a women’s college. She enjoyed a brief career as a teacher before she married and became the wife of a military man, traveling with him across the United States and to post-war Japan. She served this Country as she supported her husband while he was in the U.S. Army.
Her husband retired from the Army after being given a terminal medical diagnosis. She returned to her Gainesville home facing the prospect of raising her children as a widow. While her husband survived that medical condition, living decades longer, his illness placed additional burdens on her which she carried with grace.
Gene was a strong woman, both emotionally and physically. She taught her daughters to be the same. She was thrifty as women of Scottish heritage often are, and saw to it that all her children graduated from college without student loans. She was selfless in her devotion to her family.
She enjoyed working in her yard. She trimmed her own hedges, even after they were almost twice as tall as she was. She stood on a picnic table as she wielded her electric hedge-clippers. Picture that, if you will.
Once at the age of 80, she climbed a ladder to clean-out the gutters of her home which she insisted on doing for herself. In the process of cleaning the gutters that day, she grabbed what she thought was a stick, only to discover that it was a live snake. She screamed and threw it a far as she could. We are not certain who was frightened more, mother or the snake. The neighbors came running, thinking that she had fallen from her ladder. She hadn’t, but it was the last time she cleaned her own gutters.
She would not have considered her life that exceptional. She always felt that she only had played the hand that life had dealt her. The fact that she played that hand so well is what made her so exceptional to all of us.
Her family will mourn her loss by celebrating her life.
There will be a gathering in the Chapel at Forest Meadows Funeral Home, 725 NW 23rd Avenue, Gainesville on Thursday, August 23, 2018 at 6pm followed by a service at 6:30 pm. The funeral will be kept very simple and the interment will be private per her request.
In lieu of flowers, it was Mom’s request that people consider donations to her favorite charity, Operation Smile which provides free corrective surgery for children with cleft lips and palates. The charity’s contact information is: 3641 Faculty Boulevard, Virginia Beach, VA 23453 or 1-888-OPSMILE or https://www.operationsmile.org.