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Shirley Raths, 87

Shirley Ann Raths, 87, moved into Grand Arbor in Alexandria on May 5, 2014 and started receiving hospice care two days later from Hospice of Douglas County. After several months of being strong and courageous, she went home to be with the Lord, surrounded by her loving family, on Wednesday, August 6, 2014.

Shirley was born in Morris Township, Stevens County, to James and Gladys (Richards) Towner. She graduated from Alberta High School and attended communication school in Minneapolis to master the use of a telegraph.

In 1945, she moved to Verona, Illinois and worked as a telegrapher and a day agent for the Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe Railroads during WWII. Shirley returned home and attended a dance in Donnelly, where she met Rudolph Raths from Herman.

Shirley was united in marriage to Rudy Raths on October 1, 1946 at the Federated Church in Morris. The couple was blessed with five children and lived on a farm six miles north of Herman. The family farmed where Shirley was a hard-working homemaker, taking care of the children; helping with all aspects of the farm, especially the bookkeeping, milking cows, and driving tractor. In 1983, their son, Paul, took over the farm and Shirley and Rudy moved into Morris and in 1995 they moved to Alexandria, to enjoy the life on Lake Latoka.

Shirley was very involved and had many different roles in the Catholic Church when they lived in Herman, Morris and Alexandria. She belonged to the Christian Mothers, Altar Guild, president of the Church Council, Mission Circle, Ladies Circle, and had 40 years of lecturing. One of the biggest highlights of her life was visiting St. Peters Basilica in Rome.

She was also a 4-H leader, PTA president, a volunteer for Douglas County Hospital for 13 years, and a member of the National Committee to preserve Social Security and Medicare. Shirley and Rudy helped start the Ridge Rider Saddle Club and the Monaco Motor Coach Club, which became like an extended family to them as they enjoyed going to rallies and traveling together for 40 years.

Rudy and Shirley also enjoyed traveling to dances and polka fests. The family enjoyed annual camping trips to national parks. She enjoyed gardening (she had three large gardens), canning, baking and cooking, horses, singing, and birds.

She is survived by her loving husband of 67 years, Rudy; children, Sandra (Richard) Raths Grammar of San Diego, CA, Paul (Jane) Raths of Norcross, Patricia (Lowell) Nelson of Hancock, Julie (Donald) Larson of Blaine, and Connie (Daryl) Amundson of Barrett; 12 grandchildren, Warren Johnson, Chris (Micah) Raths, Angie Raths, Mike Raths, Jessica Nelson, Erik (Bre) Nelson, Amy (John) Sand, Clint (Janice) Larson, Gavin (Sarah) Larson, Cole Amundson, Brady Amundson, and Blake Amundson; 12 great-grandchildren; sisters-in-law, Elsie Schuman of Morris, Emma Asmus of Herman, and Irene Raths of Morris; and many nieces and nephews.

Shirley was preceded in death by her parents, James and Gladys; brothers, James Towner Jr. and Dean Towner; and many brothers- and sisters-in-law.

A Mass of Christian Burial was held Saturday, August 9 at The Church of St. Mary in Alexandria with Father Steve Binsfeld officiating. Interment was at St. Marys Catholic Cemetery in Alexandria. Casket bearers were Shirleys grandchildren and honorary casket bearers were her great-grandchildren and all who called her friend.

Memorials are preferred to Hospice of Douglas County.

Arrangements are with Anderson Funeral Home in Alexandria;