Cover photo for Shirley Willemssen's Obituary
Shirley Willemssen Profile Photo
1936 Shirley 2010

Shirley Willemssen

May 22, 1936 — March 23, 2010

Shirley Ann King was born in rural Rothsay, MN, May 22, 1936. Shortly after, her family packed up and moved to California where she lived the first 9 years of her life. In 1945, they made their way back to Minnesota and took up residence in Foxhome, where she attended school. Merlyn DeFries won her heart, and they were joined in marriage June 30, 1952. Shirley and Merlyn continued to live in Foxhome where they raised their 12 children.


In 1975, Shirley began working at MinnDak Farmers Beet Plant in Wahpeton, ND in the house keeping department. On November 18, 1976 another happy and memorable event took place-Donald Willemssen and Shirley exchanged wedding vows in the Foxhome Lutheran Church.


Shirley’s friends and family would often find her in the kitchen baking bread or canning. Other than her happy hours spent in the kitchen, she also loved the serenity of the lakes and built many memories around her camping experiences. The door was always open, the coffeepot was always on, food was always cooking, mouths were always fed and the phone was always ringing to see what was on the menu. Hours and hours were spent visiting with her family and friends that she cherished so much. Her philosophy of life was “come one, come all” and everyone was always welcome, even if it was to give them a ‘little hell’.


Shirley is survived by: Her children : Diane (Lester) Haugen, Fergus Falls, MN; Sherry (Glen) Mills, Barnesville, MN; Gayle (Bruce) Olson, Breckenridge, MN; Cindy DeFries (Rick    Burhans) Breckenridge, MN; Dennis DeFries (Dana Anderson) Breckenridge, MN, Gary (Paula)     DeFries, Foxhome, MN; Connie (Jim) Deal, Doran, MN; Jeff (Kari) DeFries, Jamestown, ND; Jody (Mike) Hanson, Gilbert AZ; Shawn (Dwight) Steele, Jamestown, ND; her 35 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren; her sister : Alberta ‘Dolly’ (Gordon) Kowalski; sister-in-laws : Bev King, Rachel King and Donna Willemssen; her brother-in-law : Arnie Henderson; son-in-law : Ken Muller and special friends : Barb Marquardt and Shane Miller


Shirley was preceded by her parents : James and Bernice (Monk) King; her daughters : Shiralyn (Kate) Subish and Pat Muller; her husbands : Merlyn DeFries and Donald Willemssen; her granddaughter : JaCinda Muller; her sister : Mary Ricks; her brothers : James King, Charles King and Thomas King; and her special friend : Ronnie Moore.

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