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Shirley Mae Habeger

Kossuth County Advance - Staff Photo - Create Article


February 7, 1934 - September 11, 2023


Shirley Mae (Mitchell) Habeger, daughter of Melfred and Anna (Nelson) Mitchell, was born Feb. 7, 1934, and raised on the Mitchell farm near Lone Rock. She couldn’t wait to start school because her three siblings were already attending. She walked to the country school south of their farm and later attended Lone Rock High School, graduating in 1951. She continued her education at Iowa State Teacher’s College in Cedar Falls, graduating with her teaching degree in 1953.

Shirley met Duane Habeger at the Kossuth County Fair. They fell in love, married on Aug.  22, 1954, at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Depew and recently celebrated 69 years. Four children were born to this union, Kirsten, Sandra, Kent and Lori. Shirley taught 4th grade for one year in Northwood and following her marriage she taught a combined 2nd/3rd grade in Lone Rock, prior to becoming a mother and farm wife, which included everything from driving a tractor to delivering meals to the field.

Faith, family, farming and fun. Shirley had a strong faith and she was an active member of First Lutheran Church in Algona for 70 years, including being a Sunday School teacher, Vacation Bible school teacher, involved in her church circle, WELCA, quilt group and prayer groups. She would go to great lengths to make it to church, no matter the weather or location, including family vacations. Shirley was also a member of the Burt Women’s Club, Lone Rock Legion Auxiliary, Burt VFW Auxiliary and a KRHC volunteer.

Shirley especially loved being with her family and spending time together. She and Duane lived many years on the Habeger family farm near Burt and moved to Algona in 1992. They also enjoyed wintering in Arizona for 17 years. With two close friends, she baked Christmas cookies together for exactly 50 years. She also enjoyed social groups, sewing, quilting and had a special teacup collection.

Shirley died Monday, Sept. 11 at Kossuth Regional Health Center at the age of 89.

Shirley is survived by her husband of 69 years, Duane, of Algona; her children: Kirsten (William) Strack, of Pocahontas, Sandra (Timothy) Evan, of Rochester, Minn. and Lori (Eric) Von Muenster of Ankeny; a daughter-in-law, Marti Habeger of Burt; her eight grandchildren, Nicole (Kirk) Johnson, Kyle (RaeAnn) Strack, Amy Danielson, Chelsey (Brandon) Skogerbo, Ryan Habeger, Mitchell (Melissa) Habeger, Shaun Von Muenster and Scott Von Muenster; her 16 great-grandchildren: Cade and Ava Tjaden, Karson and Amiah Johnson, Bentley, Lyla, Pyper and Maveryck Strack, Abby, Austin and Adilynn Danielson, Ryker, Jaxson and Miles Skogerbo, Corbin Habeger and Waylon Habeger. Also surviving is Shirley’s sister-in-law, Mary Lou (Mitchell) Overton; and many special nieces and nephews.

Shirley was preceded in death by her parents, Melfred and Anna Mitchell; parents-in-law, Fred and Charlotte Habeger, her son  Kent Habeger on Dec. 8, 2008; an infant grandson, Jeffrey Von Muenster; sister, Phyllis Yelick; brothers, Aldon and Sanford Mitchell; infant siblings Karen, Ronald and Donald Mitchell; sisters-in-law, Frances Sarchet and Fern Furst; and brothers-in-law Pete Yelick, Kenneth Sarchet and Richard Furst.

A Funeral service was held Saturday, Sept. 16 at First Lutheran Church in Algona with Pastor David Grindberg and Pastor Walter Reemtsma officiating. Burial followed at East Lawn Cemetery in Algona. 

Online condolences may be left at

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