Shirley Ann (Towner) Raths was born in Morris Township, Stevens County, Minnesota to James and Gladys (Richards) Towner. She graduated from Alberta High School and attended communication school in Minneapolis to master the use of a telegraph. In 1945, she moved to Verona, Illinois and worked as a telegrapher and a day agent for the Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe Railroads during WWII. Shirley returned home and attended a dance in Donnelly, where she met a Rudolph Raths from Herman.
Shirley was united in marriage to Rudy Raths on October 1, 1946 at the Federated Church in Morris. The couple was blessed with five children and lived on a farm 6 miles North of Herman. The family farmed where Shirley was a hardworking homemaker, taking care of the children; helping with all aspects of the farm, especially the bookkeeping, milking cows, and driving tractor. In 1983, their son, Paul, took over the farm and Shirley and Rudy moved into Morris and in 1995 they moved to Alexandria, to enjoy the life on Lake Latoka.
Shirley was very involved and had many different roles in the Catholic Church when they lived in Herman, Morris and Alexandria. She belonged to the Christian Mothers, Altar Guild, President of the Church Council, Mission Circle, Ladies Circle, and had 40 years of lecturing. One of the biggest highlights of her life was visiting St. Peters Basilica in Rome. She was also a 4-H leader, PTA president, a volunteer for Douglas County Hospital for thirteen years, and a member of the National Committee to preserve Social Security and Medicare. Shirley and Rudy helped start the Ridge Rider Saddle Club and the Monaco Motor Coach Club, who became like an extended family to them as they enjoyed going to rallies and traveling together for 40 years. Rudy and Shirley also enjoyed traveling to dances and Polka Fests. The family enjoyed annual camping trips to National Parks. She enjoyed gardening, (which she had three large gardens), canning, baking and cooking, horses, singing, and birds.
Shirley moved into Grand Arbor in Alexandria on May 5, 2014 and started receiving hospice care two days later from Hospice of Douglas County. After several months of being strong and courageous she went home to be with the Lord, surrounded by her loving family, on Wednesday, August 6, 2014 at Grand Arbor in Alexandria at the age of 87. She is survived by her loving husband, Rudy of 67 years; children, Sandra (Richard) Raths Grammar of San Diego, CA, Paul (Jane) Raths of Norcross, MN, Patricia (Lowell) Nelson of Hancock, MN, Julie (Donald) Larson of Blaine, MN, and Connie (Daryl) Amundson of Barrett, MN; 12 grandchildren: Warren Johnson, Chris (Micah) Raths, Angie Raths, Mike Raths, Jessica Nelson, Erik (Bre) Nelson, Amy (John) Sand, Clint (Janice) Larson, Gavin (Sarah) Larson, Cole Amundson, Brady Amundson, and Blake Amundson; 12 great-grandchildren; sisters-in-law, Elsie Schuman of Morris, Emma Asmus of Herman, and Irene Raths of Morris; and many nieces and nephews. Shirley is preceded in death by her parents, James and Gladys; brothers, James Towner Jr. and Dean Towner; and many other brothers and sisters-in-law.
A Mass of Christian Burial was held on Saturday, August 9, 2014 at The Church of St. Mary in Alexandria with Father Steve Binsfeld officiating. Interment was in St. Mary's Catholic Cemetery in Alexandria. Casket bearers were Shirley's grandchildren and honorary casket bearers were her great-grandchildren and all who called her friend.
Memorials are preferred to Hospice of Douglas County.
Arrangements are with the Anderson Funeral Home in Alexandria.