Shirley Peters

Shirley Peters Shirley A. Peters, 86, passed away Monday, Feb. 27, 2023, at Prairie Senior Cottages, Willmar, Minn., with family by her side. Funeral services for Shirley will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 11, at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Redwood Falls. Visitation will be one hour prior to services at the church. Interment will be at the Cottonwood Community Cemetery at a later date.

Online condolences may be sent at Stephens Funeral Service - Redwood Valley Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.

Shirley Ann (Tilbury) Peters was born on Oct. 18, 1936, to Clarence and Alice “Lizzie” (Laabs) Tilbury in Freeland Township, Lac qui Parle County, Minn. She was raised on the family farm near Canby, Minn.  She reminisced often of her life on the farm, most notably riding horses between farms with siblings and cousins. Shirley attended country school, Canby High School, and proudly earned her GED in 1981.

Shirley married Marlin Ekstrom on Dec. 31, 1953. They were blessed with seven children.

Shirley held many jobs over the years including nurse’s aide, warehouse worker, road construction flag person and carbonation operator. Shirley worked at SMBSC for 20 seasons and retired on Aug. 11, 2000. Never one to stay idle, Shirley worked part-time in retirement in the garden center and as a greeter at Walmart in Redwood Falls.

Shirley was a member of the American Legion Auxiliary for 50 years and received a Continuous Member Certificate in 2019. Shirley was known for her cooking and baking skills. She loved dancing, gardening, playing cards, spending time and chatting with family and friends with a PBR or Black Velvet Pepsi in her hand.

Shirley and her sister Lois shared a love of camping and traveling and planned to travel the United States together. Their first trip in 2000 was to visit their brother, Gene, in Indiana. In the short three years they were allotted together, they drove many miles in their RV. After Lois’s death, Shirley continued to travel in the RV. In between trips, Shirley could be found camping at her son’s resort on Henderson Lake or simply camped out in an open space with her children and grandchildren close by. Shirley also enjoyed many campground hosting positions around the United States.

Shirley was always busy enjoying life. She went to numerous live country music concerts, her grandchildren and great-grandchildren’s sporting events and activities. She was so proud of all of their accomplishments.

Shirley loved and appreciated her life, the family and friends she shared it with and all the little things that made her life and her memories so precious to those she left behind.  

Shirley is survived by her children, LuJean (Steve) Panitzke of Belview, Stanley (Susan) Ekstrom of Montello, Wis., Pamela Ekstrom of Taunton, Brian (Kirsten) Ekstrom of Sauk Rapids, Nancy Hebrink and Cynthia Sanchez of Willmar, Terresa Westerman of Clara City; many grandchildren, step grandchildren, great grandchildren, step-great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren; sister-in-law, Janice Tilbury; step-brothers, Rick Marczak of Las Vegas Nev., Donavin Marczak of Fergus Falls and Clarence (Jill) Marczak Jr. of Glenwood; step-sisters, Heather Jongeward of Glenwood and Micholene Marczak of Johnson City, Tenn.; and nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.

She is preceded in death by her parents, Clarence Tilbury and Alice Loretta “Lizzie” (Laabs) Marczak; step-dad, Clarence (Bobbi) Marczak; husband, Marlin; grandson, Ryan; great granddaughter, Madeline; and siblings, Lowell, Eugene (Phyllis), Robert (Linda), Lois (Gerald) Payonk; step-brother-in-law, Bradley Jongeward.

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