Elisabeth (Beth) Gibans, born Jan. 22, 1963, died at home June 18, 2021, in Joseph, Ore., after a seven-year battle with ovarian cancer surrounded by her family and many friends from all over the country (see caringbridge.org/visit/bethgibans).
The family is grateful for all of their loving support.
Beth was the daughter of Nina Freedlander and James Gibans; sister, Amy McGlashan (Roland), (Ripton, Vt.); brothers, David (Littleton, Colo.), Jonathan (Aspen, Colo.) (partners, Betty Petrek-Ron and Katrin Luyten); and cousins, Wendy Abrahms Fishhman (Gary) of Cleveland; Dan (Sue) Abrahms and Paul (Debbie) Abrahms.
Launching her appreciation for community, the environment and people at Hawken School, where she was honored with the prestigious Bolton Award in 1980 bestowed by faculty and students, Beth kept honoring her devotion to those values.
They were continued and expressed with special years learning, interning and then practicing sustainable agriculture including in Costa Rica, The Land Institute in Kansas and the agroecology program in Santa Cruz, Calif. She and her business partner and special friend Shari Satir established Sauvie Island Organics in Portland, and for the last 20 years, she owned and managed Backyard Gardens in Joseph, Ore., after her marriage to Leon Werdinger, a photographer and river guide.
Wes Jackson, president emeritus of The Land Institute with whom she worked in Kansas remembered her for creating a memorable conference when she was there; others remember her splendid community organic farm and produce and special catering events across the country and in St. Croix, one of the U.S. Virgin Islands. She delivered greens to restaurants in Portland where she touched base with Doug Katz, Cleveland’s entrepreneurial chef.
There will be a celebration of Beth this summer in the Wallawa Valley in Oregon.