Shirley Anne Kunkel Elser passed at Community Memorial Health Center on Wednesday, September 23, 2020 at the age of 85. Shirley was born August 5, 1935, the daughter of Martin and Loretta (Konz) Klein in Alton, Ia. Shirley attended schools in Granville and Remsen, graduating from St. Mary’s Catholic High School in Remsen, IA in 1953. The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Hartley, IA on Wednesday, September 30, 2020 10:30 a.m. with burial at Pleasant View Cemetery.
On August 4, 1955, Shirley married Duane Kunkel at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Remsen. They lived on a farm in Remsen until 1960 when they moved to a farm north of Hartley. Duane and Shirley were blessed with six children. Duane died June 23, 1987 at home.
On July 25, 1992, Shirley married Donald Elser at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Hartley adding to her family seven step daughters. Following her marriage to Don, she moved to the Elser farm and joined St. Louis Catholic Church in Royal. Don passed away September 22, 2008 at home.
In September of 2009, Shirley moved back to Hartley and lived on her own before moving to Community Memorial Health Center in January 2018. Shirley’s greatest love was spending time with her family and traveling for their celebrations. She enjoyed baking cookies and cinnamon rolls for everyone (family, neighbors, friends, and auxiliary) and planning and preparing family meals. The more the merrier for Shirley! She enjoyed entertaining friends and playing cards anytime. She was delighted by her regular routine of morning coffee and Sunday night popcorn with her long time special friends. Shirley also enjoyed working and retired from Community Memorial Health Center in 2004. She loved to serve others by being an active member at St. Joseph’s and St. Louis. Shirley relied on her faith in God; she was faithful, prayerful, and devoted to God. She continually prayed for her family and dear friends.
Left to cherish her memory are her children and their families: Julie (Galen) Sampson, Primghar, IA, Dan (Mary) Kunkel, Mount Pleasant, SC, Tom (Linda) Kunkel, LeSeuer, MN, Randy (Debbie) Kunkel, Colorado Springs, CO, Phil and Mary Kunkel, Overland Park, KS, Mark Kunkel, Balaton, MN, Rita Elser, Sioux City, IA; Marie Elser and Bob Blumenshine, St. Louis, MO, Ruth (Chris) Hagedorn, Everly, IA, Donna (Mark) Baysinger, Fairview, TX, Judy (Mike) Pezzetti, Lee’s Summit, MO, Peggy (Scott) Johnson, Spencer, IA, along with 42 grandchildren; 25 great-grandchildren; and 1 great-great-grandchild due in November; her sisters: Marlene Westphalen, Audrey Stromberg, and Betty (George) Wittkop; brother-in-law, Jim Boever; sisters-in-law: Colleen Kunkel, Shirley Ellensohn, Janet (Gene) Wurth, Mary Jo (Jim) Peters, Joan Elser, as well as many nieces, nephews and friends.
Shirley is preceded in death by her parents, Martin and Loretta Klein; her step-mother, Clara; her husbands: Duane and Don;, grandchildren: Johnny Cribb, Josh Yording and Evan Strom; sister, Jeannette Boever; brothers and sisters-in-law: Mark Stromberg, Orville Kunkel, Marvin and Darlene Kunkel, Don Ellensohn, Martin Elser, and Mary Lou and David Fennessey.