Shirley Hunkins, 85, of Breckenridge, MN, was a beautiful and caring wife, mother, grandmother, sister, and friend. She went to her Heavenly home on Wednesday, May 4, 2022, at Twin Town Villa in Breckenridge, MN, surrounded by her loving family and under the care of CHI-Health at Home and Hospice. Visitation will be held on Friday, May 6, 2022, from 5 PM to 7 PM, followed by a prayer service at 7 PM, at Joseph Vertin and Sons Funeral Home, Breckenridge. Visitation will continue Saturday, May 7, 2022, from 10 AM to 11 AM, followed by the funeral service at 11 AM, at Breckenridge Lutheran Church in Breckenridge. Reverend Jamie Parsely and Reverend Deacon Barbara Olson will be officiating the service. Burial will be held in Riverside Cemetery in Breckenridge at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests all memorials be made to help Ukrainian Families at support.episcopalrelief.org.
Shirley was born to Fred and Theresa Martin on April 20, 1937, in Breckenridge. One of ten children, Shirley had many adventures on the farm East of Everdell, MN. Specifically, playing by the river, making tree forts, and raising baby animals fostered her love of nature and a life of adventure.
Shirley attended high school in Breckenridge, MN. Her love and compassion for people steered her to earn a LPN degree from NDSSS and Valley City State University. Marrying Jim Hunkins, her high school sweetheart in 1958, she began a 23-year nursing career at Breck Clinic and St. Francis Hospital. Shirley’s care and empathy for her patients were equaled only by her admiration and respect for her fellow nurses.
Shirley and Jim raised two daughters and through the years they have experienced many family excursions including multiple trips to the Black Hills and Badlands where rock hunting challenged them to find the perfect agate. Their favorite days were those spent at Eagle Lake fishing, swimming, and snorkeling! Winter months would find Shirley on a pair of cross-country skis embracing the northland with zest and vigor.
When they became empty nesters, the real ventures began. Shirley and Jim canoed the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, purchased wooded land in Hubbard County, went bear hunting, traveled the East coast, and visited their loving daughters.
Widowed in 1985, Shirley pulled herself up by her bootstraps and indeed, hiking boots. With dear friend, Evie (Beeler) Fox she continued her enthusiasm for the outdoors and for life. Hiking Glacier National Park, tracking wolves in Ely, and driving on many a highway and trail on yet another quest.
Shirley was an accomplished and talented artist. From watercolor to oil, Shirley’s work has gifted family friends, and many charities. Her legacy lives on in the murals of Chahinkapa Zoo Nature Center where Shirley depicted the “Wonders of Water”. As a naturalist she was an ideal educator and conducted classes and workshops throughout the 90’s. She is fondly remembered by children well into their adulthood as the “Zoo Lady” who took them on many explorations.
Shirley was so very blessed to find the second and final true love of her life marrying Charles Cherry in 1992. They made their home in south Breckenridge where they enjoyed hosting backyard barbeques for their family, gardening, photography, and watching songbirds. Shirley and Charles were famous in the family for providing laughter and antics. Grandchildren were very important to Shirley and she has influenced each of their lives in the best ways.
Shirley leaves behind her husband, Charles Cherry (Breckenridge); daughters, Tamala (John) Seebach, (Wisconsin), Kathy (Tom Schmaltz) Diekman (Wahpeton); step-daughter, Cassandra (Steve) Brosvik (Salt Lake City, UT); grandchildren, Joshua (Jessica) Diekman, James (Amanda Lock) Diekman, Anne Marie (Chris) Foy, Alexa (Dustin) Bills, Amy Jo (Carson) Laney, Andy (Stephanie) Benson, Alex (Nicole) Hunkins, Alexandra Brosvik, Isabella Brosvik, and Katarina Brosvik; four great-grandchildren; sisters, Doris Burhans, and Monica Lahren; and many nieces and nephews.