Shirley Busche died quietly in her sleep on May 27, 2020 at Villa Maria Nursing home in Fargo, three days before her 94th birthday. She had been denied visitors since March 11 because of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 and was found to be positive to the virus on May 21, 2020.
Shirley Mae Bratland was born on May 30, 1926, at the home of her grandparents Olga and Jens Jensen in Island Park Township, Ransom County, near Lisbon, North Dakota. She was the daughter of Art and Emma Bratland, who lived in Hanson Township, northwest of Englevale, North Dakota.
Shirley attended grade school at Hanson Consolidated School. Her first year of high school was at Englevale, where she played basketball, sophomore and junior years Verona High School, and her senior year and graduated from Lisbon High School in 1944.
Shirley married Allen Busche at St. John’s Lutheran Church, Verona, ND, on June 18, 1944. They farmed two miles north of Verona. Along with keeping up her home and gardens, Shirley did field work during the early years.
Shirley was very involved in community activities. She taught Sunday School and Bible School at St. John’s from 1952-1975. She sang in the church choir for several years in the 1950s. She played on an all-women’s basketball team, called the Verona Athletic Club, in the early 1950s. She hosted and attended pinochle parties with local neighbors. She was a member of the Greenville Homemakers club for many years. Shirley influenced the lives of many girls of the area when she organized and was the leader of the Verona Belles 4-H Club from 1957-1972.
Shirley was very artistic. In the 1940s and 1950s she crocheted doilies and embroidered pieces of art to adorn her home. In the 1970s she joined art classes and made beautiful ceramic pieces and painted lovely scenery pictures.
Shirley and Allen began driving a Verona school bus route in 1957, picking up children near their farm with their memorable DeSoto limousine. In 1959 they bought and Shirley drove a big orange school bus, picking up the children on the bus route far north of Verona, from 1959 until 1964.
Shirley became more financially independent when she became secretary for the LaMoure County Agent from 1964 to 1990. She developed many close friendships with those who also worked at the LaMoure County Courthouse. She received the LaMoure County “Friend of 4-H” award in 1971 and a 25-year service award from NDSU in 1989. She received the LaMoure Chamber of Commerce “Outstanding Employee of the Year” award in 1990.
Shirley was known for her artful display of flower gardens at the farm along Highway #1 beginning in 1983 for the Verona Centennial. She created a new flower display along the highway each year. Her last display was in 1989 for the North Dakota Centennial.
One of Shirley’s great loves was creating displays at the LaMoure County Museum at Grand Rapids. She and Joe Laney began work there in 1983. She developed all the beautiful displays at the museum during that time. Shirley continued to work there in the evenings and on weekends until she retired in 1990. Many of the displays are still intact. She donated many family heirlooms to the museum. She took a hiatus then returned to work there as she was able from 2006 until 2011. She truly regretted that she was unable to continue that work.
Shirley loved to travel and began her adventures in 1964 with a train trip to visit her brother, Roy, who was her kindred spirit, and his family in Corvallis, Oregon where they lived at that time. She visited them again in 1968 when they were living in Downers Grove, Illinois. Most summers Roy traveled through North Dakota making a stop to visit Shirley at Verona. Shirley also visited Roy in Illinois many times.
Shirley organized many trips and traveled with various family members throughout north central United States. In 1992 Shirley and Sharon joined a tour group for a three-week excursion throughout Alaska and Canada. In 1993 Shirley went with Roy and Ann for a month-long camper trip exploring the Oregon Trail. From 1996 through 2002 she went to Harlingen, Texas, for the winter. For twelve summers beginning in 2002 she spent a week with Roy and his family during their vacation at Leech Lake near Walker, Minnesota.
Shirley moved from the farm and lived in LaMoure from 1989 until 1994. Then she moved to an apartment in Fargo. She gave up her Fargo apartment in June 2016 due to failing health and memory loss and moved into Parkside Lutheran Home at Lisbon, North Dakota. In 2018 she moved to Maple View Memory Care in Fargo. On December 31, 2019, she moved to Villa Maria in Fargo where she resided until her death.
Shirley dearly loved and has dedicated her life to her family. She is survived by her daughter, Sharon Busche of Fargo, and her son Sherwin and his wife Joyce (Doll) Busche of Harwood; grandchildren Shelly (Ric) Dias of Aberdeen; Wesley (Jerrilyn) Busche of Fargo; Lori (Marshal Sullivan) Busche of Fargo; Stanley Busche of Jamestown; and Lance Grammont of Appleton, Wisconsin. She has eleven great-grandchildren (Danielle, Matthew, Brittany, Jordan, Jeffrey, Caleb, Brody, Cody and Cassidy, and Calvin and Dylan).
Nieces and nephews who also morn her death are Jay (Michelle) Bratland and children, Romeoville, Illlinois; Marc (Jackie) Bratland and children, Chicago, Illinois; Alethe (Jerry) Sannes, Allen, Texas; Larry (Joan) Synstelien, Chanhassen, MN; Michael (Jean Montaneal) Synstelien, Moorhead, MN. Other nieces and nephews are: Randy (Candace) Busche, Cedar Falls, Iowa; Douglas (Lana) Busche, Fountain Hills, Arizona; and Rawla Joy (Terry) Adkins, Rochester, Minnesota.
She will also be missed by many other friends, cousins, and other relatives.
She was preceded in death by her husband Allen H. Busche (1916-1990); parents, Emma Kristine (Jensen) and Arthur Roy Bratland, Senior; her sister Ruth and brother-in-law Olin Synstelien; her brother Arthur Roy Bratland, Junior; and a sister Dolores V. Bratland, who died in infancy in 1934. Brother-in-law Rawlynn and his wife Louva Joy (Ballinger) Busche and their son Dale Busche.
Private services will be held on Tuesday, June 2, 2020 at Armstrong Funeral Home, Lisbon, ND.
Interment: Oakwood Cemetery, Lisbon
Video of service will be posted after service takes place.
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