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Shirley Kleist (Smith) - Class Of 1947

Shirley H. Smith, age 87, passed away on Wednesday, September 27, 2017, at Agrace HospiceCare. She was born on December 6, 1929, in Kenosha, the daughter of Edward and Mathilda (Dauenhauer) Kleist.  She married Gerald “Jerry” Smith on September 6, 1958 at St. James Catholic Church in Kenosha, Wisconsin.  Shirley graduated from Mary D. Bradford High School in Kenosha, WI, and attended El Camino College in Torrance, CA, majoring in music education and voice. 

Music was a large part of Shirley’s life.  She was gifted with a beautiful voice from a young age, performing as a soloist at numerous weddings and funerals, and starring in several musicals.  Her favorite role was Fiona in Brigadoon.  She sang soprano with the Madison Symphony Orchestra Chorus for nine years. Shirley worked in the Waukesha and Middleton-Cross Plains School Districts while her children were in school.  As they became older, she transitioned to a career as an administrative assistant.  In 1991, she retired as Administrative Assistant to the Director of the UW School of Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital.  Shirley relished her many volunteer activities.   She was a lector and commentator at St. Bernard Parish of Middleton for over 40 years, and a lead volunteer at St. Mary’s Hospital in patient services for 20 years.  A person of deep faith, she was an active member of the Madison Catholic Women’s Club and the St. Bernard's Living Rosary. 

Shirley loved family get-togethers and was very proud of her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.  Holding a special place in her heart were the many vacations she took with her family over the years.  Those who knew and loved her will also remember her wonderful cooking and baking, and her unfailingly positive outlook on life.

Shirley is survived by her husband Jerry; two sons, Bryan M. (Ann Ustad) Smith of Middleton, WI, and Owen M. (Anne Collins) Smith of Nacogdoches, TX; daughter, Amy M. Smith of Lenoir, NC; five grandchildren, Emrys Smith, Emily Kalinowski, Sarah Smith, Eric Smith, and Benjamin Kalinowski; brother, Edward Kleist (Anna Kleist) of San Diego, CA; brother-in-law Peter Jespersen of Fallbrook, CA; and four great grandchildren, Xavier, Daxter, Liam, and Vivienne.  She was preceded in death by her parents, Edward and Mathilda Kleist, and two sisters, Marjorie Kleist and Dolores Jespersen. 

Visitation and funeral services were held at St. Bernard Catholic Church in Middleton on October 9, 2017, with Father Brian Wilk and Monsignor Douglas Dushack presiding.  Burial was held at Resurrection Cemetery.  Visitation was also held at Gunderson West Funeral Home on October 8, 2017.  Memorials in Shirley’s name may be made to St. Bernard Parish, P.O. Box 620187, Middleton, WI 53562-0187 or to MOM (Middleton Outreach Ministry), 3502 Parmenter Street, Middleton, WI 53562.