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Arbor Society Emeritus awards presented to White and Gilligan

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Marty White and Mary Gilligan stand with plants gifted to them on Friday, April 29 at the Gretna Arbor Day celebration at Harvest Hills Elementary School. Both women were recognized with the Gretna Arbor Society Emeritus Award during the celebration.

Marty White and Mary Gilligan have each been recognized with the Gretna Arbor Society Emeritus Award.

Both women received the award on Friday, April 29, during the Arbor Day celebration at Harvest Hills Elementary School. Each was recognized during the ceremony, presented with a certificate and a plant.

Marty White

Marty White started on the Gretna Arbor Society (Tree Board) back in 1994 and retired from the board in 2017. During this time, she held the positions of co-chairman, chairman and secretary of the Gretna Arbor Society.

White was born in Callaway, Nebraska on what her dad called a farming ranch in the middle of Nebraska. After high school, she enrolled at Creighton.

She met her husband, Gary, at this time and they married and had two daughters, Jill Dolberg and Kati McIlece, who are both nurses and both have two daughters. Now she has four granddaughters! She worked at the Gretna school offices while her girls went to the local schools.

White had a garden shop called Natures Garden and it ran for four years in Gretna but the town was not ready for a shop of this type. After Gary’s passing, she became more active in her church, St. Patrick’s in Gretna, and giving back to the local Gretna Community.

She also worked at Mulhall’s for years and then at Gretna’s Sun Valley, where she is still working.

Because of White’s efforts, numerous trees have been planted in Gretna’s parks. Her hard work on the Gretna Arbor Society (Tree Board) was one of the main reasons the City of Gretna has received numerous Arbor Day Foundation Tree City USA Awards and the Tree City USA Growth Awards.

White was one of the driving forces on the board, said current chairperson Jim Keepers. It is a great honor to present Martha “Marty” White with the award of Gretna Arbor Society Emeritus, he said.

Mary Gilligan

Mary Gilligan was the chairperson for the original Gretna Arbor Society started in 1988. She is the only remaining member of the board. She was a member of the board for a total of 10 years and worked hand in hand with Gretna Arbor Society Emeritus Ron Sawyer to plant trees in Gretna. Her son Michael remembers jumping over the small evergreens after they were planted.

Gilligan was born in Vail, Iowa on Feb. 25, 1943 and graduated from Kuemper Catholic School (Carroll, Iowa) in 1961.

She was originally a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) at Carroll Hospital. She became a Registered Nurse (RN) at St. Vincent’s School of Nursing School in Sioux City, Iowa.

In 1967-68 she was a Certified as a Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) at Sacred Heart Hospital (now Mount Marty) in Yankton, South Dakota.

She moved to Omaha in 1970 and married former Gretna Mayor Tim Gilligan on Dec. 12, 1971. They have been married for 51 years and have three children — Paul, Meghan and Michael — and five grandchildren.

In the 1990s, Gilligan volunteered for Army Reserves due to lack of Nurse Anesthetists; not realizing that she would later serve and be deployed during Desert Storm.

Technically, she was sent to Kuwait and was waiting to be sent to battlefield. She was honorably discharged from the reserves shortly after returning from deployment.

After retiring from anesthesia in the mid-’90s, she focused on her children and keeping Tim in line. She volunteered her time at her church, St. Patrick’s in Gretna.

She also loves to constantly plant something new in her backyard or watch the birds in her gigantic pines in their front yard.

Because of Gilligan’s efforts on the City of Gretna’s first Tree Board, she has set the standard for other Tree Board members to follow, said current Board Chairperson Jim Keepers.

It is a great honor to present Mary Gilligan with the award of Gretna Arbor Society Emeritus, he said.

Bio information provided by Gretna Arbor Society Chairperson Jim Keepers.


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