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Marietta Die '68 April 2, 2021 11:40 AM updated: April 8, 2021 1:44 PM

Marietta Gaffney Die
November 10, 1917 - July 16, 2020

Marietta passed on July 16, 2020 in Austin, Texas. She was 102 at the time.

Marietta earned her bachelor’s in English in her home state before moving to Florida for a teaching position.

Marietta was teaching in Florida, and eventually applied to be a teacher in Texas and was accepted in Beaumont, and that is where she met her husband. He had come home from Bryan and she met him, and they ended up in Bryan.

Her husband, Donnie Lee Roy Die ’50, taught at Allen Academy in Bryan where Marietta kept teaching English in public schools when she felt the call to the A&M campus.

She wanted to go back to school and she spent the better part of a decade taking classes largely with male members of the Corps of Cadets half her age. It took her 7 or 8 years and she was taking classes after teaching all day. One of her professors got her a parking permit to park in the teachers’ parking lot so she wouldn’t be late after teaching all day. In the summer she got more hours. There was very few women; they didn’t take anybody but local teachers for a few years there, and the daughters of professors.

There were never more than three or four women in a class. When she first started, there were times when she was the only women in a class. And of course she didn’t live on campus, she lived in Bryan with her husband and children.

Die was 50 when she earned her degree from A&M, five years after the school formally opened its student body to women.

She and her family eventually moved back to Florida, where she taught for the next 20 years. Die made her way back to Texas after her husband passed away, moving to a retirement community near family in Austin and closer to Aggieland where a child, grandchildren and great-grandchildren have followed in her footsteps.

Marietta was featured in the Aggie magazine two years ago when she turned 100 and the family had gifted her an Aggie ring, which she had not ever owned one.

She is survived by her daughter, Mary Lynn Johnson and husband Charles H. Johnson, Jr, Son, Kirk Die, Allen Mark Die ’79, Grandson, Jim Sheffield ’85, Boyd Sheffield ’91, Travis Sheffield ’11, Camille Sheffield 15, Tyler Sheffield ’16, Dan Die, Joe Die, John Die, and Jim Die. Also her granddaughters in law, Carmen Sheffield ’85, Kim Sheffield ’88, Great granddaughter in law, Paige Sheffield ’12, as well as great-grandsons Michael Sheffield '21 and Myles Sheffield '21 . 

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