Obituary: Shirley Swartzendruber |

Obituary: Shirley Swartzendruber



June 10, 2021

Shirley Maxine Swartzendruber passed away peacefully on June 10, 2021, with her husband Leo and her son, Jim by her side. She was born to Paul and Nettie Hershberger in Milford, Nebraska, in 1927. The family moved to a farm near Kalona, Iowa, during the Dust Bowl days and the 1930’s, to be closer to Nettie’s family. Shirley loved farm life, especially the animals. She was a lover of animals her entire life.

Shirley met Leo at a Mennonite gathering in Iowa in 1944. Both families were devout Mennonites and social functions were about the only times to meet new people. They planned to marry in June of 1946, but Leo was drafted in April of 1946. Since he was a Mennonite, and one of the “peace churches”, he was allowed to do public serve instead of going to the army. He was assigned to a conservation camp outside Ft. Collins, Co. He was given leave in June, and they were married on June 26th, 1946. Shirley went back to Ft. Collins with Leo until the camp closed, and then they were assigned to service in Puerto Rico. After completing his service, Leo and Shirley returned to Iowa where their four sons were born.

Leo was asked to return to Puerto Rico in 1955, so Shirley took their four young children and returned to Puerto Rico. Although their time in Puerto Rico was difficult, they had many fond memories. They returned to Iowa, Shirley had again come back to the farm life that she loved but in 1958, the family moved to Glenwood Springs, Colorado, where Leo was offered a job at the hospital. He later became the hospital administrator. Shirley raised her boys in Glenwood and was “Mama Swartz” to the hundreds of school children she fed as a cook at Glenwood Junior High and High School.

Shirley loved antiques. She knew what to look for at yard sales, beautiful things that she enjoyed displaying in her home and selling to others. She made many life-long friends through her “antiquing”. Although she loved her antiques, her main love was her family and her wide circle of friends. Shirley’s kitchen always had room for the boys’ friends. Going to their sporting events was the highlight of her life. She was a devoted wife and mother, a companion who loved life and lived it the fullest.

She is survived by her husband of 75 years, Leo, son, Jim (Adrian) of Silt, son, Steve (Cindy) of Paonia, son, Jon (Sherell) of Loveland, ten grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren, her sister Glennis of Arvada and several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her son, Dan, her parents, Paul and Nettie, and her brother, Bernard.

A memorial service will be held at a later date.

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