Shirley Conley

By Ellis Codjoe, February 05, 2019

Shirley Conley was a long-time resident of Ottumwa, IA died on 2/1/19, at 11:30 p.m., at the age of 83 at Hospice House in Ottumwa.

She is well known in the community for her work with Beta Sigma Phi, and activities with her husband at the Knights of Columbus.  She had just celebrated her 65th wedding anniversary on June 13, 2018.  She was admitted to hospice on November 30th, 2018.

She was born to Daisy and Harold Huddleson in Osceola, Iowa on June 2, 1935.

Shirley was preceded in death by husband Tom, who just passed away August 31 of this year, her son Stephen, her son-in-law John, siblings Norma, William and Robert.

She is survived by her Children:  Cindy Kunzendorf (Tim) and Vicky Perdue, Theresa Kratofil, and her grandchildren:  Matthew Conley (Matthew Jr, Marlie, and Landon), Mark Conley (Stephanie and Stephen), Mike Conley, and Tom Kunzendorf.

Earlier in her life, Shirley had worked as a waitress at the Paramount Cafe and Peggy’s Cafe in Osceola, IA while attending high school.  That is where she met her husband to be.  She gained his attention by giving him extra helpings on his meals when he would come to eat after his shift at the railroad.

Shirley Ann Huddleson married Thomas Edward Conley, at St. Bernard’s Catholic Church in Osceola, IA on June 13, 1953.  Their success and wealth were defined by faith and friendships that lasted a lifetime.   Shirley was a devoted mother and was very active in her community.  She had an honorary lifetime membership with the Beta Sigma Phi Sorority and had been a past President of the local chapters many times, in addition to receiving the honor of Woman of the Year.  She was a member of St. Patrick Catholic Church.

She is an excellent cook and used salt freely, so all of her dishes were delicious.  She owned and operated Shirley’s cafe in Osceola IA when she was first married until her family began to grow.  She then spent time being a homemaker and providing a wonderful home to her husband and children.  She always had hearty meals for her family and we would break bread and discuss our day at the dining room table.  Many of her recipes are treasured and there was always enough to share.  During the early years she would work at department stores during the holidays to make sure that they could afford Christmas toys for the children.  It was her favorite time of year and she made the house come alive with decorations and holiday spirit.  Later when the children were older she would also work at the Burlington Northern Railroad with her husband for about 10 years.  In 1977 she moved to Ottumwa, Iowa where she worked side by side with her husband as a business owner of Atomic Termite & Pest Control until her retirement.  During the entire time she had a professional career she always put her family first and was tireless in providing her time to nurse her family, cook and clean for others, care for grandchildren and great grandchildren, and sacrifice for others without complaint.

She had grandsons, great grandchildren and was called by many as Grannie or “Old Aunt Shirley”.  With their combined families she had over 150 nieces/nephews, great nieces/nephews and great great nieces/nephews.

She leaves a legacy of kindness mixed with witty remarks and candor.  She missed her husband terribly after his death, and is now reunited with him.

I can only imagine that heaven has gained two incredible angels and our losses don’t seem so great when we embrace the many treasured memories we had with them.

Her body has been cremated.  Memorial mass will be 1 p.m. Wednesday at St. Patrick Catholic Church with Fr. Patrick Hilgendorf presiding.  Inurnment will be in Calvary Cemetery.

The family will be at Reece Funeral Home from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday with a Christian Wake service at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Hospice serving Davis and Wapello Counties or Heartland Humane Society.




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