Shirley (McClain) Peterson, passed away peacefully at her home in Mesa, Arizona, on November 1, 2018, only three short months after her husband Vernon’s passing where she was surrounded by her family.  Shirley was born on June 30, 1924, to Armour and Agnes McClain on their family farm in Tracy, MN.  After graduating in the summer of 1942 from Tracy High School, Shirley received a scholarship to attend Beauty School in downtown Minneapolis.  She worked as a beautician in Tracy, MN, for a short time and then traveled to Hood River, Oregon, where she lived and worked as a beautician for two years.

On January 7, 1946, she married Vernon Peterson and lived on a farm in Balaton where they started their family and later moved to a farm south of Marshall where they lived for 17 years.  In 1967, they purchased their current farm in Wendell, off Lightning Lake.  Working along with Vernon they raised livestock and grain with the help of their sons, and the girls assisted where the boys left off.

Soon after moving to Wendell, Shirley remodeled their home with the addition of a beauty shop.  She loved working as a beautician which allowed her to continue her independence as a working woman and also “minding the kids” and keeping them in line.

Shirley was one of a kind, a beauty inside and out, a fierce “Momma Bear” one who always stood up for her family and friends in need.  We kindly called her “Squirrely Shirley” as she was often on the “war path” while disciplining 12 kids (and many times their friends too). She was more than proud of her family, and bragged about them all the time!

Along with Vernon she enjoyed raising the family, farming, and driving around with Vernon on a Saturday night and ‘checking the crops’.  She served many meals to hired men over the years.  In their later years, Shirley enjoyed going to dances with their close friends, they even started bowling. Traveling was a delight for Shirley and having a large family allowed her to visit them around the country.  She also visited Japan, cruises to Mexico, the Caribbean, Panama Canal, and Alaska.  She encouraged her family to travel and would often say “There’s a big world out there.  Go explore it!” or “I didn’t raise you to stay home.”

Shirley retired to Mesa, AZ and enjoyed the warm winters, but loved returning to Minnesota in the spring.  She was a devout Catholic and a member of Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church.

Shirley is survived by her 12 children: Annette (Frank) Crowder of Vero Beach, FL; Alan (Lois) Peterson of Boise, ID; Corwin (Lorinda) Peterson of Boise, ID; Lamont (Becky) Peterson of Pine River, MN; Colleen (Bob) Eason of Boise, ID; Sherri (Tom Keatley) Peterson of Weimar, CA; Shelly (Keith) Kastenmeier of Blaine, MN; Owen (Angie) Peterson of Wendell, MN; Juliet (Robert) Bruno of Vero Beach, FL; Lisa (Michael) Raiola of Scottsdale, AZ; Kim Peterson of Louisville, CO; Tanya (Troy) Gillespie, Elbow Lake, MN; 38 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren; two sisters Beverly Tweedt and Delores (Curtie) Shaw, numerous nieces, nephews and many, many friends. A special thank you to her caregivers Afni, Myrna and Kiki – they were so good to her!

Shirley was preceded in death by her loving husband Vernon of 72 years; her parents; a brother, Welling, a son-in-law, Joseph Foerner, and great grandson Beckham Owen Peterson.

A memorial service will be held Friday, November 9, 10:30 am at Holy Cross Catholic Church, Mesa, AZ.  A celebration of Shirley’s life will be held in July 2019 at their home in Wendell, MN.  Additional details will be communicated at a later date.  In lieu of flowers, kindly donate to Savior Hospice, Phoenix, AZ, or the Grant County Humane Society. Cards of condolence may be sent to:  Owen Peterson, PO Box 4, 661 County Road 11, Wendell, MN 56590.


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