Gertrude Schaffeld De Long will be honored by the Vale Alumni Association banquet Saturday at Four Rivers Cultural Center. (The Enterprise/Pat Caldwell).

VALE – Gertrude Schaffeld De Long has no regrets.

De Long, who will turn 81 in a few weeks, encountered plenty of triumphs throughout her life and Saturday she will add one more achievement to a long list when she is honored at the Vale Alumni Association banquet. The event will be at the Four Rivers Cultural Center beginning at 5 p.m.

De Long graduated from Vale High School in 1957 and spent her life in the Vale and Willowcreek area. After working for a local dentist “for about a year as a receptionist” she married Dwayne De Long in 1958. Eventually, she went to work for the Willowcreek School District – now the Vale School District – where she served as a cook for 35 years. She retired from the district in 2002.

Locally known for her cinnamon rolls and homemade bread, De Long is an active member of the community and St. Patrick’s Catholic Church.

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She is also a devoted Vale Viking fan.

Last Thursday, De Long sported a Vale Viking t-shirt and reflected on her induction into the Vale Alumni Association Hall of Fame.

Her work at the Willowcreek School District, she said, remains one of her favorite memories.

“That was something I really enjoyed doing every day I went to work. I loved the kids and got intermingle with them. I really enjoyed it,” said De Long.

De Long, who said she was an “average student” in high school, also contributed to extracurricular activities as a student, serving in the Girls Athletic Association and was the sergeant-at-arms for the senior class.

She said her advice to the current crop of seniors at Vale is to “study, study hard and don’t drop out.”

“Get through high school. It is a fun part of life, but you still need to study and then get a career. If you can, go to college,” said De Long.

According to the Vale Alumni Association nominating form, De Long was chosen because of the example she sets in the community.

“There are those within our midst, whose contributions do not relate to position, power or possessions, but rather are exemplary by exhibiting personal traits that ties together threads of our social fabric. Gertrude Schaffeld has always lived within and been a part of the Vale community and throughout her life has exhibited the traits of concern for a conscientious desire to live their life for the benefit of others,” said the nominating form.

De Long said the secret to a successful life isn’t complex.

“Get along with people. Just do things that make you happy,” said De Long.

De Long said she is satisfied with the arc of her life in the Vale area.

“I am happy where I am at,” said De Long.

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