Shirley Thom, 96, died April 30, 2021. Shirley was also known as “Nanny” or “Nanny Shirley.” She was preceded in death by parents Bessie and Otto Klober, sister Dolores, brother Roger, beloved husband Arthur and son Richard.

In the words of her family: “We lost an amazing woman. Strong, independent, loving, kind and the matriarch of our family. She had such beautiful cursive writing, and wrote two self-published books about herself and her family. She wrote many letters to the edi­tor, while collecting comic strips and newspaper articles, which she mailed to friends and family.

“She worked at Minnesota Chemical, Northwest Airlines and as a teacher’s aide at Groveland Park School. In her later life, 90, she volunteered at Como Zoo, which clearly became her favorite job of all. She loved family camping, summer trips to the farm in South Carolina and going to Myrtle Beach.

She had a gift for gab and never met a stranger that she didn’t act like she’d known forever. She nurtured friendships, had a generous spirit and wanted everyone to feel welcomed and loved. She touched so many people. She was a pioneer ahead of her time.

She was very open-minded to non-traditional families. She had strong faith in God, love of family and saw the good in everyone. She met the love of her life, Artie, when she was 13 and he was 15. She took the train at age 18 by herself from Minnesota to Florida, where Artie was stationed with the Navy, to meet him at Fort Pierce for their wedding.

The family thanks Lyngblomsten and Allina Hospice caregivers for loving care of Shirley near the end of her life.

Shirley is survived by her children, Linda (Jack), Pam (Frank) and Dan (Jen); nine grandchildren; and 17 great-grandchildren. Memorials preferred to Como Friends or Emmaus Lutheran Church.

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