Shirley Mullen, 88, of DeWitt, died on Sunday, December 13, 2020, at Wheatland Manor in Wheatland, Iowa, after testing positive for Covid-19.
Shirley Ann Mullen was born to Harold “Hap” and LeVerna (Peters) Smith on September 28, 1932. An only child, she was raised in DeWitt, but her parents' extended families lived primarily in Clinton County and were an integral part of her life.
Shirley was an excellent student, and a gifted musician. While her Dad was serving in the South Pacific during WWII and her mother was working, Shirley spent her days "entertaining" neighbors while practicing her clarinet or saxophone. Her many hours of practice led to numerous awards including first in alto saxophone, clarinet trio, clarinet quartet, and student conducting at the state music contest. In addition to being an accomplished instrumental musician, Shirley was a talented vocalist.
After high school graduation she attended Drake University majoring in music and education, pledged Delta Zeta sorority and met a young man, Pat Mullen, who was using his GI Bill benefits to attend Drake. Shirley and Patrick Leo Mullen were married at St Joseph Catholic Church in DeWitt, Iowa, on August 7, 1954. Their marriage was blessed with five children, Theresa, Rose, Leo, Rita, and Harold.
Shirley loved Pat's raucous Irish Catholic family. Although she never converted to Catholicism, she played the organ for the St. Joe's mens choir and played the organ for weddings almost every summer weekend.
Her teaching career began as a remedial reading teacher at St. Joe's. Like many Iowa teachers who had received teaching certificates, she returned to school in the 1960s and completed her bachelor’s degree at Marycrest. She had a multi decade career teaching 6th grade social studies at Welton and 3rd grade at Ekstrand. She loved teaching children to read.
After Pat's death in 2003, Shirley was an active volunteer at her DeWitt United Methodist Church, Westwing Nursing Home, with the American Legion Auxilary, PEO and Clinton County Democrats.
She enjoyed visiting the Northwest to see children and grandchildren, traveling with Plus 60 to Chicago, Mackinaw Island, the Boston Pops and going on big adventures to Germany, Ireland, Canada, Alaska, Hawaii and Washington, DC.
Shirley became a serious music aficionado never wanting to miss a performance of Catfish Jazz, a Circa 21 production, the Bix Beiderbecke festival, Tunes in Town or a high school musical.
Left to honor her are her children, Theresa (Jeff) VerWey of Seattle, Washington, Rose of Wheatland, Leo (Martha) of DeWitt, Rita of DeWitt and Harold of Seattle, Washington; five grandchildren, John and Brian VerWey, Kristine (Tyler) Esbaum, Tom (Karisa) Mullen, and Reed Mullen; two great grandchildren, Leo Esbaum and Madeline Mullen.
The family would like to thank the staff of Wheatland Manor for the care and support they provided to Shirley.
During these difficult times, our typical rituals simply are not possible. A phone call or a card rather than your physical presence would be truly appreciated.
A limited visitation will be held at Schultz's Funeral home on Friday, December 18, 2020, from 1:00 until 3:00 p.m. Anyone choosing to attend is asked to wear a mask and maintain social distancing.
A virtual service will be led by Reverend Dianne Prichard at 3:30 p.m., Friday, December 18. For friends and family who would like to join a celebration of Shirley's life, please find the link at https:www.facebook.com/schultzfuneralhomes/live.
In lieu of flowers the family requests memorials in Shirley's memory be sent to the DeWitt American Legion Auxiliary, DeWitt Community Hospital Foundation or the Catfish Jazz Society.
To send flowers to Shirley's family, please visit our floral store.