Former Durango resident Nyla Ruth Shafer, 90, died in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2009. The cause of death was complications from several strokes she suffered in 2006.
Mrs. Shafer was born to Louis and Amelia (Swanson) Mahlstedt in Oakland, Calif., on Jan. 13, 1919. She graduated from Oakland High School, earned an associate degree in nursing from San Francisco Junior College in 1942 and did her student nurse training at Samuel Merritt Hospital in Oakland.
From 1942 to 1945, Mrs. Shafer was a nurse at the Alameda Shipyards in California.
In 1946, she was a polio nurse at County Hospital in Salt Lake City.
A marriage to Tillman Bishop ended in divorce.
On March 23, 1946, she married Paul Shafer in Salt Lake City.
The Shafers lived in Durango from 1946 to 1960.
Mrs. Shafer was a part-time nurse at Mercy Hospital during the 1950s. She volunteered with Harriet Burg, an occupational therapist, with special-needs children during the summers at Needham Elementary School and helped give polio vaccinations in the late 1950s here.
Mrs. Shafer enjoyed baking, making dolls, quilting, crocheting, swimming and ice skating on Huck Finn Pond in Durango. She was a member of the First United Methodist Church in Oakland and Durango.
Family members remember her having a cup of coffee and listening to the "Coffee with Johnny" radio program in Durango on KIUP-AM on weekday mornings during the 1950s.
During the 1960s, after the Shafers returned to Salt Lake City, she worked at the Shriners Hospital.
She belonged to the Presbyterian Church in Salt Lake City.
Mrs. Shafer is survived by her husband of almost 63 years, Paul Shafer, of Salt Lake City; daughters, Pamela Wageman of Durango and Patricia Shafer of Salt Lake City; sons, Robert Shafer of Lake Forest, Calif., and Richard Shafer of Grand Forks, N.D.; brother, William Mahlstedt of Oakland; seven grandsons, one granddaughter and two nieces.
Cremation has occurred. At Mrs. Shafer's request, there will be no services. Her ashes will be shared between her beloved Bay Area and Moab, Utah.