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Josephine Gesner

December 4, 1930 - March 21, 2021


Josephine  GesnerJosephine  GesnerJosephine (Hildebrand) Gesner, 90, died at her home on March 21, 2021.  She was born and raised in Dallas, Oregon, but spent her adult years in Salem, Oregon.  She met her husband LeRoy Gesner when they were students at Salem Academy, and they were married until LeRoy died in 2008. 
 
Josephine was a remarkable woman who stayed active until the end.  She walked daily when she could, and in fact she walked 2 miles on the day she died.   She raised eight children.  To keep them fed, she harvested and canned thousands of jars of peaches, pears, applesauce, tomato juice, cherries, and apricots during many years of poverty.  As a young woman she would load all eight of her children in the station wagon and go out to pick cherries to earn money.  She was the tiny little woman climbing the tree to get the cherries in the middle while her children surrounded her on their ladders and the baby slept in an empty cherry box in the shade.
 
Josephine spent much of her life raising children, but she had always wanted to be a nurse.  At age 49 she graduated from Chemeketa Community College’s nursing program, and she worked as a nurse until she retired at age 65.  Most of her work was for Salem Hospital, where she made many friends and was active in the Salem Retirees Group.  She loved singing, and she was an active singer in the Salem Community Chorus for several decades, until Covid prevented them from meeting.  Her relationship with God was at the center of everything she did, and she took great comfort from reading and reciting scripture.  She was a member of Rosedale Friends Church, and before that, South Salem Friends Church.  She attended most of the Friends Yearly Meetings.
 
Josephine was a generous woman, and despite her own limited financial resources, she donated time, effort, and money to many organizations that assist the needy.  She volunteered as a reader in the SMART program.  She taught piano to many children over the years.  During early retirement she played the piano to entertain nursing home residents, and was both pianist and organist in her church for many years.
 
Josephine is survived by her seven children: Mike Gesner, Jane Harter, John Gesner, Kathy Munn, Dan Gesner, Connie Barnett, and Don Gesner.  She was preceded in death by her daughter Merry Gesner and her grandson Dale Munn Jr.  She had 12 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren.
 
Due to Covid restrictions there will be a small private service at graveside followed by a memorial service at Rosedale Church on Monday, March 29.  In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Union Gospel Mission or another organization that serves the needy.

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I count it a privilege to call Josephine "friend". We had various contacts - at church, at camp, at women's retreat. Great memories [and Rice Krispie treats] !



I am so sorry for your loss. Your mom was a great woman. Every time I was over to visit with her and Kathy, she always made me feel welcomed.  I will miss her.  My thoughts and prayers are with all of you at this time.