Shirley Beck, 97

Funeral services for Shirley Beck, 97, Winner, were held June 18 at the Prairie View Gospel Barn, Gregory. Burial was at the IOOF Cemetery, Gregory.

Shirley Ann Brown was born June 22, 1924, at Mule Head Ranch on the Whetstone Creek, north and east of Bonesteel, SD. Shirley was the oldest child of eight children born to William and Mabel (Cornemann) Brown. As a young girl, the family moved several times. Shirley attended many rural country schools. After two years in Dallas and one year at Gregory High School, Shirley stayed home to help her mother who had contracted polio.

On July 10, 1942, in Springview, NE, Shirley married Emmett K. Beck. They were married for 52 years, before Emmett passed in 1994. To this union nine children were born to complete this family.

Not only did Shirley keep busy with her children, she had many other duties to do. Shirley was a great cook and known for many of her dishes. The children enjoyed her cinnamon and caramel rolls and fresh homemade bread. Shirley’s famous dressing and cheesy potatoes were always a hit. The family joke was to see who got the lucky french fries as Shirley was always substituting ingredients and using whatever she could find to feed her large family.

Shirley was an accomplished seamstress and could sew anything even without a pattern. She made our everyday clothing as well as our prom dresses and wedding dresses. Helping out on the farm was just part of being a farm wife. Shirley helped milk cows and pulled many baby lambs and pigs. Raising way too many chickens prompted the kids to “always be busy” when it was time to butcher. Shirley also worked outside of the home at different times as a cook and a waitress.

Shirley’s real enjoyment was getting together with her big family. She hosted countless birthdays, holidays, and special occasions. Shirley loved to visit and enjoy a good cup of coffee with friends and family. Grandchildren and great grandchildren were the highlight of her life.

Shirley loved to bake and decorate cakes. She baked many cakes for birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, and special occasions–we have albums of her cake pictures!! No one knows for sure how many cakes have been made. All you had to do was mention an occasion and she would bake a special cake. This was her true calling and artistic ability. Sometimes she would throw in a “prank” sponge cake to have some fun. Shirley was a prankster at heart!

Gardening and flowers were Shirley’s escape. She loved to grow more than she needed and enjoyed giving and sharing the extra bounty. Along with her garden meant canning hundreds of jars of garden produce.

Shirley was a life-long member of the Valley Reading Circle, a neighborhood women’s group that started in the early 1920’s. She was also a member of the Rice-Walker American Legion Post #91 Auxiliary of Dallas for over 40 years. Shirley was very patriotic and very proud of her family members that served in the military. She served many positions and headed many committees in the organization. The annual Fall Pheasant Smorgasbord was her pride and joy. (Don’t stir the dressing!)

Shirley Ann passed away peacefully on June 9, 2022, at the Winner Regional Health Care Center at the age of 97 years, 11 months, and 17 days.

She was preceded in death by her husband Emmett, her parents William and Mabel Brown, grandson Emmett Jay Smith, great grandsons Kolby Beck and Brendan Hopkins, son-in-law Brent Janak, daughter-in-law Linda Beck, all of her siblings Rex Brown, Louie Brown, Jim (Delores) Brown, Leitha (Vernon) Drey, Wayne (Deloris) Brown, Russell Brown, and Gary Brown, in-laws David and Agnes (Graesser) Beck, brothers- and sisters-in-law Helga (Robert) Pennington, Donald (Ruth) Beck, Lola (Howard) Whitley, Jean (Alden) Aakhus, and Max (Faye) Beck.

Shirley is survived by her nine children: Diane (Gerald) Smith, Gregory, SD, Frank Beck, Mills, NE, Dave (Emily) Beck, Mills, NE, Janet (Charlie) Knight, Papillion, NE, Ken (Kathy) Beck, Dallas, SD, Patricia (Monte) Hopkins, Central City, NE, Brad (Barb) Beck, Winner, SD, Bev Janak, Winner, SD, and Doug (Sandy) Beck, Colome, SD; 24 grandchildren, 67 great grandchildren, 23 great-great grandchildren with one on the way; sisters-in-law Anna Mae Brown, Gregory, SD, Bonnie Brown, Winner, SD, Maureen Brown, Rapid City, SD, and Mary Brown-Nelson, Scotland, SD; along with many nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

Her mind is at ease and her soul is at rest.

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