Germaine Chipault died on January 23, 2006, at the University of Michigan Hospital of complications from the lung cancer she had fought for ten years. The first child of Jacques and Dorothy Chipault, Geri was born in Austin, MN, on April 2, 1944, and grew up there with her brother, Raymond. She earned a B.A. in art history at Carleton College (1966), followed by an MSW at the University of Michigan (1968).
Her professional career in clinical social work focused on children and families. By 1985 her attention had turned to issues of interpersonal conflict. Convinced of the value of introducing peer conflict management in grade schools, Geri became a consultant and in-service trainer for teachers and parents in schools in Ann Arbor and elsewhere in Michigan. Geri spearheaded multicultural celebrations at Burns Park School.
She was awarded the Golden Apple Certificate for Exemplary Achievements by the superintendent of the Ann Arbor School Board, and the Women Who Make a Difference award by Church Women United. She was active in the peace movement. With her husband, Frederick C. Neidhardt, she was the local coordinator for many events in the national program, Beyond War. Geri worked tirelessly as member and president of the board of the Ecumenical Center and International residence in Ann Arbor. She was an active member of St. Clare’s Episcopal Church, cherishing its participation with Temple Beth Emeth in Genesis of Ann Arbor. Geri’s spiritual being was continually renewed and enriched by time in wilderness areas. She was a strong Minnesota woman who paddled and portaged her own canoe through life. Loons spoke to her. Living far from the woods and lakes of the Minnesota North Country, Geri took extra pleasure in her vacation home in Michigan’s Leelanau Peninsula. Her love of nature was passed on to Geri and Fred’s son, Marc.
Germaine and I grew up together in Austin, MN where her father worked at Hormel’s. Her parents were French cousins of Mrs. Jay Hormel and Germaine was named for her. Germaine was a lovely and thoughtful friend.
Mimi Garbisch Carlson ’66