Shirley A. Kraeger, age 83 years, of Shawano (formerly of the Marion area) passed away Saturday, December 7, 2013 at her home.
The former Shirley Anne Felts was born August 29, 1930 in the Town of Seneca, Shawano County, to William and Olga (Giessel) Felts. As a young girl, her parents attended and "lived at" many county fairs, especially in Shawano and Wausau. Shirley always loved farming and Jersey cattle. Shirley caught a Holstein calf at the first Shawano County 4-H Club Calf Rodeo when she was 16, and raised it with all of the families Jerseys. The 4-H Club even honored Shirley with the "Healthiest Girl in Shawano County" award. She was chosen as a State Farm Bureau representative at the convention held in Madison also at the age of 16. She attended Bowler High School and stayed busy with many extra-curricular activities, which included singing in the Chorus, playing clarinet in the band, was a FFA member, and the pitcher on the softball team. Shirley was on the Panther staff for 2 years and became Editor of the school newspaper during her senior year. She graduated in 1948 as salutation and was chosen to receive the DAR Award as a senior. She went on the School of Beauty Culture in Green Bay, graduating in 1949, and started working for Edna Lockwood at Vanity Fair in Clintonville where she earned her Manager's License. Shirley was united in marriage on January 30, 1952 to Medard C. Kraeger at the Catholic Parsonage in Gresham. The couple farmed, worked, and lived around this area in different locations all of their married life. Over the years, she worked for Jean Dieck in Clintonville, June Hildebrandt in Marion, and later for Pat's Ladyfair, until she retired after 40 years as a beautician.
Shirley volunteered as a Shawano County 4-H Leader for about 25 years and a General Leader of McKinley 4-H while she raised her family in Marion. In 1999 she received 1st place for writing the "Fairest Fair Story" for Shawano County. Shirley only missed one fair in Shawano due to her first child's birth. She helped her dad, and then her husband, do the janitorial work at the Tilleda Community Hall. Her husband preceded her in death on October 19, 2004. Shirley was honored to serve as Parade Marshall for the Tilleda parade in July of 2013. Shirley remained a lifetime member of the Tilleda Advancement Club, was secretary of the Senior Citizens Card Club in Tigerton, and was a long time member of Peace Lutheran Church, Tilleda. She sang in the choir since she was young, served as congregation President, Vice President, Secretary of Peace & Elias parishes, Student Council, Church Council, Historian, AAL Recorder, and was currently secretary of education of the Peace Church ladies. Dancing, camping, and fishing were her favorite pastimes. The family has beautiful memories of sitting around the campfire, singing, roasting marshmallows, and making pudgy pies and smores. Beside God and family, she loved music, reading books, watching old movies, doing crafts, ceramic painting, writing letters, sewing, swimming for exercise, knitting and crocheting. Shirley traveled most of the country, learned to use the computer late in her life, and rode her bicycle until the age of 68 years.
Survivors include six children; James (Cindy) Kraeger of Weston, Allen (Kay) Kraeger of Waupaca, Kathleen (Otto) Maves of Bowler, Mark (Kathy) Kraeger of Marion, Sherry (Leroy) Voelz of Leopolis, and Tom (Sheryl) Kraeger of Caroline. There are 13 grandchildren; Elizabeth (Andrew) Schultz of Slinger, Adam Kraeger of Weston, Andrew Kraeger of Merrill, Mandy (Kanaysa) Heath of Phoenix, AZ, Peter (Caroline) Kraeger of Howard, Austin (Jamie) Kraeger of Wausau, Chad (Heather) Maves of Hatley, Christopher Voelz of Leopolis, Justin Kraeger of Clintonville, Courtney Kraeger of Marion, Trevor Kraeger of Weston, Rachel Voelz of Leopolis, and Elyssa Kraeger of Weston. There are 12 great grandchildren; Tyria Heath, Alea Marecek, Jasper Ingalls, Emerald Heath, Jyles Kraeger, Quinn Schulz, Kyla Schulz, Ethan Kraeger, Evan Kraeger, Auwynn Kraeger, Jeremiah Kraeger, and Nora Maves. Shirley is further survived by a sister-in-law, Colleen (friend Don) Kraeger, a step brother, Albert "Buddy" (Betty) Buelter, many other relatives and friends. She is preceded in death by her husband, Medard, a brother, Lavern (Helene) Felts, and two sisters, Gladys (Ray Kraeger & Claude Maahs) and Fern (Ken Gullickson & Bud Villand).
Funeral service will be held on Tuesday, December 10th at 11:00 AM at Peace Lutheran Church, Tilleda, with burial to follow in the parish cemetery. Friends may call on Monday from 4:00 to 8:00 PM at the Beil-Didier Funeral Home, Marion, and on Tuesday from 10:00 AM until time of service at the church.