Shirley Doretta Stelmachuk, 85, of West Fargo, North Dakota, passed away peacefully on January 4th with her family at her side.
Shirley was born on October 8, 1934 in Kansas City, Missouri. She graduated from Southeast High School and attended Kansas State University as a music major. Her love of music continued throughout her life as she played violin in both the Kansas City, MO and Bismarck, ND city orchestras.
Shirley was married to Ray Stelmachuk in Tokyo, Japan on April 26, 1962. They were married 56 years. Her marriage to a career military man meant many moves to include living in Tokyo, Japan and Ethiopia, Africa. After living in several states throughout the United States, Shirley and her family finally resided in West Fargo, North Dakota.
Shirley’s working life included jobs with Avon Cosmetic Company, King Radio Corporation, Central Intelligence Agency, American Red Cross, Southwestern Bell Telephone Company, TWA Airlines, and the State Historical Society of North Dakota. But her proudest and final working life contribution would be at North Dakota State University (NDSU), where she worked as a beloved departmental secretary at the Department of Communications for 19 years.
While working at NDSU her love for young people was evident. She was a friendly and caring face to many students and regarded highly by the faculty staff. This regard was noted by several years of nominations for the Gunkelman Recognition Award, established to recognize a faculty or staff member who has made the most significant and unselfish contribution to creating a happy environment for the enjoyment of the students at NDSU. In selecting Shirley as nominee, one faculty member put it, “We are blessed to have such a caring person in our lives.” Another faculty member stated, “Students love her, faculty and staff value her and friends respect her.”
Her proudest life achievements included raising 3 children and instilling values of solid work ethic, patience by example and unconditional love. She was grateful to be a present grandparent in her grandchildren’s lives and was delighted to be a great grandmother.
Shirley enjoyed theater, music, reading, playing 5 crowns and spending time with family and friends. She rarely if ever missed a “Dancing with the Stars” episode. In retirement Shirley and Ray spent a great deal of time traveling while also enjoying their homes in West Fargo, ND; Leech Lake, MN; and Tucson, AZ.
Shirley is survived by daughter Jerri Rust (Dale), son Matt (Sonya), daughter Christa Haskins (Scott), grandchildren Brandon (Ally), Austin, Brode, Jasper, Toby, and great granddaughter Nora.
Shirley is preceded in death by Raymond Stelmachuk (husband), Jerry Lehman (brother), and Nina and Martin Lehman (parents).
In lieu of flowers, memorials preferred to Hope Lutheran Church (Good Samaritan and Prayer Cross Ministry Fund) and Hospice of Red River Valley. The family of Shirley Stelmachuk especially wish to thank the staff of Touchmark (at Harwood Groves) and Hospice for their compassion and outstanding care.
Memorial Service: 1 p.m. Monday, January 13, 2020, at Hope Lutheran - North, in Fargo
Visitation: An hour prior
Burial: Fargo National Cemetery, Harwood, ND
West Funeral Home & Life Tribute Center
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