Age 81 (of St. Louis Park) passed away peacefully on Friday, May 16, after a courageous 15-year battle with Parkinson’s disease. Preceded in death by parents, Oscar and Ruby Hellerud, parents-in-law Reed and Ruth Johnson, and stillborn daughter Barbara. Survived by loving husband of 59 years, Paul; children David (Jill) of Minnetrista, Mark (Laura) of Shorewood, and Dan (Mary) of Chanhassen, grandchildren Kayla-Connor-Karin-Charlie-Jacob Johnson, and Nick-Karl Johnson, Sister Eileen Sarber (Davis, CA), and Sister-in-law Kathy Cathcart (Sebastopol, CA). Special thank you to the staff at Park Nicollet Hospice and at Care Giving Services group for their loving care of Shirley during her final journey.
Shirley was born on January 9, 1933, and raised on her family farm near Nerstrand, MN. She graduated from Northfield High School in 1950, and from St. Olaf College in 1954. At St. Olaf she met the love of her life, husband Paul, and they set off on their remarkable life together when they were married in April of 1955. After stops with the US Air Force in Texas and Florida and Maine, Shirley and Paul settled back in Minneapolis in 1957.
Shirley was a devoted wife and mother to Paul and her 3 boys and their wives and families. She and Paul always went everywhere together, raising their sons, cheering on their grandchildren, and then seeing much of the world along the way. An amazing supporter of her sons, Shirley showed her support for the boys and their friends in all of their activities: academics, athletics, music, and their part-time jobs and businesses. She was the heart of their home, and her family fed off of her spectacular positive energy. Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Lake Harriet School, and Southwest Junior/High School PTAs were the beneficiaries of much of Shirley’s volunteer work. She gave her time simply because she loved everyone, and they loved her.
Once her boys had grown and left, Shirley created a great second act for herself, becoming a prolific merchandiser for many local Clothing Sales Reps who counted on her to market their clothing samples and organize periodic sample sales in Edina and St. Louis Park. Her friends from Church, St. Olaf, the workplace and her various neighborhoods and family friends would come consistently to see what Shirley had in store for them next. Shirley also cheered on her 7 grandchildren in their many adventures, and she loved each of them exactly for who they each were. She and Paul loved to play Bridge, and they competed joyfully at Duplicate Bridge for many years together.
While Parkinson’s disease was diagnosed many years ago, it never took her spirit. Shirley was always the life of any party, no matter where or for what reason. Anyone who knew her knows that with Shirley came a smile, and that smile was real and it represented how she felt about seeing you and being with you. She really knew people, and they knew her. Shirley died peacefully at home, surrounded by family, and clearly still loving the life she lived.
A memorial service will be held on Thursday, May 29, at Bethlehem Lutheran Church on 41st & Lyndale in South Mpls. Visitation at 10:00 am, Memorial Service at 11:00, and a luncheon at the Church immediately following. Interment will be private at Fort Snelling on a later date. Memorials preferred to the Struthers Parkinson’s Center in Golden Valley or to the Bethlehem Lutheran Church Music Series.
MINNEAPOLIS, MN 612 861 6088