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On Thursday afternoon, November 2, 2023, Shirley Mae Birkholz, of The Cottages at Cedar Run, found eternal peace in the arms of her Lord and Savior at the age of 90.
Born on April 13, 1933, the daughter of Arthur and Edna (nee Reul) Birkholz, Shirley grew up in Boltonville and lived there her entire life until relocating to Cedar Ridge in 2012. She attended Kewaskum High School, graduated in 1951, and then embarked on her very successful career journey.
Shirley defied the status quo of her era. Straight out of high school, she began working for West Bend Mutual Insurance Company and saw all the growth and changes there for over 44 years – and she had a large impact on that growth. Shirley entered the company in a clerical position, was then promoted as an Inland Marine Underwriter, then department supervisor, and then Administrative Coordinator.
Shirley was smart; there was no challenge too great within her career that she could not overcome and outsmart. As technology became more prevalent in society, it was Shirley’s responsibility to navigate that with her company – and she did great. So much so, that Shirley established the company’s Methods and Procedures Department, and became Vice President in 1988, and served in that role until her 62nd birthday, April 13, 1995, when she retired.
Outside of her professional life, Shirley was an extremely active servant of God within the United Church of Christ area churches. She was a member of St. John’s United Church of Christ in Boltonville, and when the congregations then merged with the UCC churches in Beechwood and Silver Creek, she was a proud member of New Horizon UCC in Boltonville.
As a take-charge type of woman, Shirley served as the first president of New Horizon and was a very engaged member of the congregation. She served on the Wisconsin Conference UCC Board of Directors from 1975 until 1981, when she moved over to the Conference Budget Committee until 1983. In 1999, Shirley was once again elected to the Board of Directors and served until 2005. Concurrently, she was a member of the Southeast Wisconsin Associated of the UCC, and became the elected Moderator of the Association from 1996 until 1998.
Shirley lived a very full and fulfilling life, always looking out for others with the best interest and God in her heart. Despite all of her triumphs and achievements in her life, she remained humble and dedicated to serving God and people in her communities. As we bid farewell to Shirley, we take solace in the memories we shared with her and the impact she had on our lives.
Shirley’s nephew, Jeffrey (Peggy) Ramel, will cherish the memory of his dear aunt. Shirley also leaves behind her great nephew, Josh Ramel, great niece, Sara (Justin) Weninger; great great nephews, Jaxson and Harrison Weninger; and step brother, Kenneth (Carol) Koth.
Preceding her in death include her parents; sister, Ruth Ramel; nephew, Steven Ramel; sister-in-law, Audrey Bartelt Jaraczewski; and step brother, Ralph (Shirley) Koth.
VISITATION: Shirley’s family will greet relatives and friends on Friday, November 10, 2023, from 10:00 am until 11:00 a.m. at New Horizon United Church of Christ, 9663 WIS-144, Kewaskum, WI, 53040.
SERVICE: A memorial service will follow the visitation at the church with Pastor Bridget Hill officiating the service.
INURNMENT: Shirley will be laid to rest at Boltonville Union Cemetery, next to her parents, on Friday, November 10, 2023.
Shirley’s family would like to thank the staff at The Cottages at Cedar Run, for their care and compassion over the past few years.
Memorials directed to New Horizon UCC Church, instead of sending flowers, would be of great appreciation from the family.
Myrhum-Patten Funeral & Cremation Service has been entrusted with Shirley’s arrangements. Additional information and Tribute Wall may be found at www.myrhum-patten.com.
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