Shirley Messmore Minderhout: 1920-2019
Last updated 1/22/2019 at Noon
Shirley Messmore Minderhout passed away at home with her family on January 7, 2019. Shirley was born in 1920 to Dr. Harry and Ella Messmore as the second child of eight siblings. She was schooled in Atkinson, Geneseo, Oneida, and Altona, IL, graduating from Altona HS in 1938.
She graduated from Brown’s Business College in 1942. She married Elmer Minderhout in 1948, and he preceded her in death. She was also preceded in death by her parents, six siblings, and three step-siblings.
Shirley’s mother died in January 1938, and so she stayed home after graduating from high school to care for her younger siblings. In April 1940, her father remarried and Shirley left for Chicago. In Chicago, she worked as a nanny, but soon returned home to Altona to nanny for her sister Lucy’s first child.
During WWII, Shirley returned to Chicago for a clerical position at the U.S. Treasury, which had just decentralized and moved to the Merchandise Mart. After marriage, she and Elmer moved to Park Forest, IL, where they were original members of the planned community there. They were charter members of Faith United Protestant Church in Park Forest.
Shirley entered into a real estate career in 1962 and moved her family to Downers Grove, IL, in 1969. In 1977, she and Elmer moved to Sun City, AZ, where she was a broker/owner of a Century 21 franchise.
Her husband died in 1990, and she relocated to Washington State to be with her daughter and son-in-law for the birth of her first and only grandchild. She spent the next 20-plus years as a retired grandmother, pursuing her passion of sewing, family genealogy and staying connected with family with her prolific activity of sending cards for all special occasions.
A memorial service is planned for August in western Illinois with her large extended family. Internment is at Walnut Grove cemetery, Altona, IL.
She is survived by one brother, Merton, her daughter Dr. Vicky, granddaughter Devon, and many nieces, nephews and great nieces and nephews.