Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Shirley Jean Delimba

PINGREE GROVE, Ill. — Shirley Jean Delimba passed away peacefully on Wednesday, June 3, 2020, in Pingree Grove, after a lengthy illness, with her children at her bedside.

The former Shirley Wheeler was born on Dec. 7, 1929, to George and Marie Wheeler in Gile, Wisconsin. She attended kindergarten through eight grade in Montreal, Wisonsin, and later graduated from J.E. Murphy High School in Hurley, Wisconsin, in 1947.

Following her graduation, she worked briefly for her father at the family restaurant in Ironwood, Michigan, where she met her future husband, Frank J. Delimba, who was then part-owner of the Jessieville Grocery with his father and brother.

In 1949, Shirley journeyed to Kansas, where she joined her fiancé, who had re-enlisted in the U.S. Army and entered the Officer Candidate School at Fort Riley. Within weeks they were married at the First Presbyterian Church of Junction City, Kansas, on May 4, 1949.

Frank and Shirley returned to Hurley, in June of 1950, following the March birth of their first child, George. Frank immediately began work at Geneva Mine, while Shirley returned to work for her father at the old Pineaire Café in Ironwood. In the summer of 1951, they moved to Frank’s boyhood home on Geneva Street in Jessieville, where they raised four children — George, Kathleen, Frank and Jane — until her husband joined the U.S. Interior Department in 1968.

Over the next 25 years, Shirley successfully shepherded her family five times: first to Vincennes, Indiana (1968), then to Washington, DC (1974), then to Pittsburg (1976) and back to northern Virginia (1981), where Frank finally retired from the U.S. Labor Department in 1993. Their final move in 1994 was to their retirement residence on Mountain View Road in Ironwood, where their children, grandchildren and friends visited them for more than 15 happy years.

Shirley’s final move was to the home of her two daughters in Illinois, immediately after her husband of 64 years passed away in November 2013. Shirley continued to live in Pingree Grove with her eldest daughter, Kathleen, following the death of her youngest daughter, Jane, in 2015.

Shirley was also preceded in death by her mother, Marie (1975); father, George (1992); and her two sisters, Lorraine (2009) and Delores (2013). Shirley leaves behind a daughter, Kathleen; and sons, George and Frank; as well as 18 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren

Per her request, Shirley has been cremated. An Ironwood memorial service is being planned for the summer of 2021.

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