Shirley Ann Diekman was born May 22, 1936, the first child of Alton and Eva (Boettcher) Steinbring. She was born in North Branch Township and raised on a farm in Isanti. During her time as a young child she had memories of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, dark shades on the windows, young men being drafted, and the world in turmoil. The war was going on. It was a hard life. She had a great faith. Church was an important part of her life every Sunday and this helped her navigate life.
Her love for cooking, baking, gardening, sewing and playing the piano all came from early childhood experiences, most of these skills needed to get through life at the time. 4-H was a big part of her life as she got older. Shirley remembered turning 12 and being eligible to go to the Minnesota State Fair. Her father had a superior herd of Brown Swiss cattle. She won her first trip showing a Brown Swiss calf and continued to win many trips each year after.
After graduating from high school in Cambridge MN, 1954, Shirley continued her education and received her BA in teaching at River Forest in Illinois. While student teaching in Alexandria, 1956-57, she met her husband, Dale William Diekman. They married July 5, 1959 and were blessed with four children, Paul, Rachel, Brian, and Thomas.
Shirley continued to teach in the Alexandria School District for many years. She had a passion for teaching and enjoyed the young children she taught. Throughout the years she had remained friends with many teachers that she had worked with. They had a special place in her heart.
Since 1997, Shirley and Dale, until his passing, have spent winters in Green Valley, AZ. As the years went by, her winters became longer- sometimes starting in September and ending in May! She enjoyed the warm weather, swimming in the pool, and sunshine. Her days would start with coffee and the Sudoku puzzle and later on in the afternoon watching Jeopardy. She enjoyed challenging her son, Tom, to a game of scrabble each evening when he was visiting during the Christmas holidays.
Shirley was a member of The Lutheran Church of the Risen Savior in Green Valley AZ, attending the Saturday night Bible study, worship, and LWML. She used her music background to play with the bell choir and was commissioned as a Stephen’s minister. She baked many loaves of rye bread for the annual bake sale each year. They were sold out shortly after the sale opened year after year. She also supported the S.O.U.L lunch program by being one of the “cookie bakers”. For many years Shirley volunteered at the White Elephant thrift store sorting and pricing items for the holiday department. She also enjoyed attending the German Club potluck each month with her sister and sharing her cooking skills with more people.
On Monday, November 6, 2023, Shirley died at the age of 87 years old. She is preceded in death by her husband, Dale Diekman and her parents, Alton and Eva Steinbring. Shirley is survived by her children: Paul (Deb) Diekman, Rachel (Phil) Reim, Brian (Michelle) Diekman, and Thomas Diekman, grandsons: C.J. (Kate) Reim, Victor Reim, and William Reim, great granddaughter: Sienna, her sister and brother, Yvonne Steinbring, John (Sandra) Steinbring and many cousins.
Visitation will be held on Friday, November 17, 2023, 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM at Zion Lutheran Church in Alexandria with a Funeral Service at 11:30 AM. Burial will be at Kinkead Cemetery. In lieu of flowers memorials are preferred to Douglas County Habitat for Humanity, Hospice of Douglas County or through Risen Savior Church S.O.U.L. Lunch Program in Green Valley, AZ.