Cover photo for Shirley E. Harms's Obituary
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Shirley E. Harms

d. February 8, 2019


Shirley Ellen Harms

Shirley Ellen Harms passed away on Friday, February 8, 2019 at Showalter Villa in Hesston, KS. She was born June 28, 1934 in Hillsboro, KS as the fourth of six children to Rev. Arnold E. and Edna Ruth Funk. She was raised on a farm northeast of Hillsboro. She attended Brudertal Elementary School and Hillsboro High School. As a youth she was active in 4-H and music groups. In May, 1950 she was baptized by her father at the Brudertal Mennonite Church.

In 1952 she started at Bethel College and entered into the RN program which she finished at Bethel Deaconess Hospital in 1956. In the spring of 1953 Shirley and Paul Harms started dating. They were married at the Brudertal Mennonite Church near Hillsboro, KS on September 10, 1956. The first years of marriage were spent in Iowa and Kansas. During this time their three children Douglas, Adley, and Gwendolyn were born. While in Kansas Shirley and Paul transferred their memberships to Bethel College Mennonite Church. In 1971, after four years in Rolla, MO, the family moved to Upland, IN where Shirley worked as an office nurse for local doctors and over a decade as the school nurse for the Eastbrook school district while Paul taught at Taylor University. During this time cancer became part of her life experience, but for 30 years after 1985 she lived cancer free. In 1999 they retired to North Newton, KS and enjoyed being part of the community. Cancer and various health challenges came again during the last years of her life diminishing her living experience but not her spirit.

Shirley enjoyed singing in church choirs and attending the activities of her children and grandchildren. In Upland her interests included tole painting, cross stitching, sewing, quilting, golfing, and socializing with friends. Later in life, health permitting, she especially enjoyed flower gardening, reading, card making, playing games, celebrating birthdays with friends, listening to classical music and watching/attending her grandsons’ wrestling matches. During all of her life she really enjoyed traveling. Shirley had many friends and family who loved her deeply and will miss her dearly. 

She is survived by her husband of 62 years, Paul M. Harms of North Newton, KS; son Douglas and wife Dawn of North Newton, KS; son Adley and wife Jenifer of Englewood, CO; daughter Gwendolyn and husband John Mattice of Grand Marais, MN; grandsons Matthew Harms of Chicago, IL, Christopher Harms of Ravenna, KY, Tanner Harms and Mason Harms both of Laramie, WY; sister Barbara Reimer of Fort Collins, CO; sisters-in-law JoAnn Funk of North Newton, KS and Joyce Funk of Viroqua, WI.  Shirley was preceded in death by her parents; sisters, Marjorie Schroeder and Celeste Funk (stillborn); brothers, Frederick Funk and Francis Funk; and brothers-in-law Roy Schroeder and Dean Reimer.

A memorial service will be held at 11 am on Tuesday, February 26 at the Bethel College Mennonite Church in North Newton, Kansas.  Memorials may be given to Bethel College Mennonite Church or Bethel College Department of Nursing. Petersen Funeral Home is in charge of a

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