On Saturday, April 14, 2018, our mother, wife, grandmother, and great-grandmother, Shirley Dianne Elizabeth Larsen, passed away peacefully at La Verendrye Hospital in Fort Frances, Ont. with loved ones by her side.
Shirley was 72. We are saddened by her passing but find comfort in knowing she has gone to her heavenly home to be reunited with her Heavenly Father, parents, family members, and dear friends.
Shirley was born on May 6, 1945 in Rainy River, Ont., the oldest daughter of Floyd and Lillian Nelson. Shirley attended McCrosson-Tovell School. For her first job, she worked at Hank and Dab's tourist camp.
Leonard and Shirley were married in Fort Frances on May 19, 1963.
For many years, Shirley stayed home to take care of her children. Her home often was a gathering place for the children of the community. When the time came for her to work outside of the home, she took a position as a Red Cross Homemaker. Shirley's compassion resonated with the clients she took care of and she treasured their friendships.
Shirley was a strong community member who served for more than 20 years on the Bergland Recreation Board. Shirley and her mother, Lillian, spent many hours cleaning and caring for the Bergland Hall. They were very well-known in the community for their catering skills, and loved to share their cooking talents with family and friends.
Shirley also was on the planning committee for the Bergland Homecoming reunions. As well, she was an instrumental member of the “Water Under the Bridge” history book committee. She was wealth of knowledge about our family history and the history of the area.
Shirley had a love of her Savior, Jesus Christ, and had a strong testimony of the power of prayer. She was a testament to the many miracles she received over the years. She was an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and enjoyed serving in many positions, including Relief Society president and Relief Society secretary.
Even though her health was declining over the past couple of years, she always would do what she could to help others in need. She had a big heart and took the time to listen.
Shirley found peace and comfort in doing family history work. She continued to work on family history even while she was in the hospital.
She also loved to laugh and had a great sense of humour. Even in the hours before her passing, she was making jokes and laughing. Shirley loved music and often could be seen tapping her toes as she sang along to the music Leonard played.
Shirley was predeceased by her parents, Lillian and Floyd Nelson; brothers, Dennis and Stanley Nelson; sisters-in-law, Dodie Nelson, Jean Lofstrom, and Kathy Nelson; brother-in-law, Hugh Ferguson; and son-in-law, Thomas Berry.
Shirley leaves behind her husband of 55 years, Leonard Larsen; sons, Richard (Dan'ette) Nelson of Edmonton, Alta. and Donald Larsen of Bergland, Ont.; daughters, Dianne (Troy) Perry of Sugar City, Idaho, Arlene Berry of Spruce Grove, Alta., and Evelyn Larsen of Kenora, Ont.
Shirley's six grandchildren were her crowning jewels, Amanda Berry, Matthew (Hilary) Berry, Bryce (Rachel) Perry, Brian (Tarry) Perry, Brandon Perry, and Dakota Nelson; along with six great-grandchildren, Ethan, Bentley, and Blake Berry, and Austin, Anthony, and Cora Perry.
She also is survived by her brothers, Roger Nelson, Jerry Nelson, and Allan (Paulette) Nelson; and sister, Judy Ferguson. Shirley also has numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins whom she loved and adored.
Shirley had many family friends whom she loved like her own, including Kevin and Kathryn Abbott and Monica Vellieux.
Funeral services will be held Friday, April 20, 2018 at 1 p.m. at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Bergland.
Visitation will be held on Thursday, April 19, 2018 from 6-8 p.m. and one hour prior to the funeral service.
Shirley was a humble, strong woman who loved the Lord and everyone she came in contact with. They say you may not always remember what people say, but you always will remember how they made you feel. Shirley always made you feel cared for, welcomed, and, most importantly, loved. We will miss your sweet smile.
You always will be with us until we meet again. Families are forever!