Shirley Keslinger Wennlund

By on February 7, 2013

Shirley Keslinger Wennlund, 94, of La Fox, passed away peacefully at her home in the early morning hours of Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013.

She was born Oct. 25, 1918, the daughter of Charles and Jennie (Johnson) Keslinger in Aurora.

Shirley grew up in La Fox and attended a local country school before graduating from Geneva High School in 1936.

Shirley met her husband, Ben Wennlund, in Rural Youth in 1935. On May 21, 1938, they were united in marriage at her parents’ home in La Fox. Ben and Shirley began their new life together in Virgil for a time before moving to Maple Park for a year. In 1940, they moved to their present home on Keslinger Road.

After graduating high school, Shirley commuted by train to Chicago to her first job keeping the books for an insurance agency. After she was married, Shirley put that experience to work by keeping the books for the farm and serving as the “chief cook and bottle washer” for all the hired hands—all the while making sure that their house truly felt like a home. The early 1950s brought Shirley out of the home and back into the workforce as the family tried to make ends meet. She worked as a book keeper for the Little Traveler in Geneva for over 20 years before her retirement.

In the early years, Shirley was a member of the La Fox Helping Hands, but spent many more years holding hands as with Ben dancing up a storm every Saturday night at the Blue Moon in Elgin, and later they kicked up their heels with the Sugar Squares.

Shirley was a very private person, but unfailingly polite and very thankful for all that she was given. Her closest friends were those in the Sugar Squares who also danced the night away.

Her hands were never idle as she did needle point and counted cross stitch. She also was very adept at card games, especially 31—a game that she claimed helped build a strong mathematical foundation of addition facts for her great-grandchildren.

She and Ben loved to travel to their lake home on Post Lake in Wisconsin, where hundreds of stories were born and thousands of memories were made. Also, many trips were made in her later years to South Dakota to visit her grandchildren, and to cheer on and support her great-grandchildren’s academic activities.

Another tradition was the addition of a four-legged friend of the Boston Terrier variety, and one that was passed down to each generation. The only exception being “Peanut,” a Cocker Spaniel that accompanied a caretaker and found not only a place by her side, but in her heart, as well.

She is survived by one daughter, Darlene (Dave) Schingoethe of Brookings, S.D.; two granddaughters, Darcy (Kevin) Haber of Huron, S.D., and Deanna (Corey) Gall of Freeman, S.D.; five great-grandchildren, Brandon Haber, Hailey Haber, Preston Gall, Kahli Gall and Riley Gall; one sister, Carol Winkley of Corpus Christi, Texas; and a number of several special caregivers, including Angel Callaghan and Karla Kuipers, who were instrumental in Shirley’s care.

She is preceded in death by her parents and her husband, Ben.

Visitation was held on Jan. 25 at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn, IL. A funeral to celebrate her life was held on Jan. 26, also at Conley Funeral Home. Interment followed at Blackberry Township Cemetery, Elburn.

A memorial has been established in Shirley’s name to benefit her favorite charities. Checks may be made to the “Shirley Wennlund Memorial” and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, 60119. Tributes may also be forwarded to the same address or on the web at where you can also find her full life story.