In Memory of Shirley Helen Hemer

Shirley Helen Hemer
Shirley Helen Hemer
Born: June 13, 1931
Died: November 5, 2017
Age: 86
Send Condolences
Shirley Helen Hemer
June 13, 1931 - November 5, 2017
From: Arthur, IA
Shirley Hemer, age 86, was called home by our Lord, Sunday, November 5, 2017 from her farm home near Arthur, Iowa, where she had been blessed to reside for more than 66 years.

A Funeral Service will be held at 10:30 a.m., Friday, November 10, 2017, at the Faith Lutheran Church of Odebolt, Iowa.  The Rev. Trish Underberg will officiate; with committal service following in the Hayes Township Cemetery of rural Arthur, Iowa.  Visitation will be held from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., Thursday, November 9, 2017 at the Faith Lutheran Church of Odebolt, Iowa. The Christensen-Van Houten Funeral Home of Odebolt, Iowa is in charge of the funeral arrangements. Condolences may be sent online at

Shirley Helen Oxendale was born on June 13, 1931, the second child and only daughter of Joseph James "Jim" and Margaret Anna "Peg" (Fries) Oxendale. Shirley lived in the Arthur area almost all her life. 
At the age of nine years, she became very ill with a high fever, the source of which was never known.  She was hospitalized for a full month, lost all her hair and had to learn to walk again. Her father was determined to help her regain her strength and stamina and would work with her every night, helping her to learn many simple tasks that progressed to gymnastic-like maneuvers. Thanks to her dad's concern, Shirley not only recovered, but went on to be a stand-out basketball player for AHS.  She received all her education in Arthur, graduating from Arthur High School in with the class of 1949.

Jim and Peg Oxendale lived on a couple different farms before settling permanently on the farmstead about a mile and a half east of Arthur. A quarter mile further west was the Hemer farm and when handsome young Roy Hemer came home from serving in the Army Air Corps during World War II, he found the love of his life in the beautiful, blonde girl next door.  In warm weather, Roy often called for Shirley on the 1947 Indian motorcycle he purchased when he came home from the service. In future years, many, many rides were given on that motorcycle to the children who loved these little adventures and turned them into a family memory.

Shirley married Roy in Ida Grove on January 29, 1950 and their love affair endured for more than 50 years before Roy passed on April 29, 2000.  On their first anniversary, they brought home from the hospital their first child--a daughter--who would be followed by twelve more children, alternating girl-boy-girl-boy all the way down to their last child, another girl. The seven girls and six boys born to Roy and Shirley made  her dream of being mother to a "baker's dozen" of children come true.

Life on the farm was full and rich, especially if you didn't count your treasures in money. Shirley spent her days as a farm wife, making a home for her family, tending to the huge garden grown every year, canning and freezing the produce for family meals.  Roy and Shirley were up at dawn to begin each day, passing on a strong work ethic to their children. Whether there were cows to be milked, cattle to be fed, hay to be made, weeds to be pulled, or snow to shovel, each day was filled with honest effort and lessons taught by example of how to live a good life. But balance was also important and the family enjoyed many fun activities together, playing ball games, riding horses, sledding in winter, making homemade ice cream and popcorn on cold winter Sunday afternoons, or an afternoon at Black Hawk Lake in summer. She enjoyed the family's interest and participation in sports, and she played women's softball alongside some of her daughters in the Arthur Church League for many years. 

Raising a family of 13 children was not easy or simple, but for Shirley, her family was her life and she always looked for the sun to be shining in her world every day, and if it wasn't shining, there certainly was a silver lining to be found!

Shirley enjoyed growing flowers and tending the beds of perennials that grew all around the edge of the green lawn that surrounded the little white house in which her family lived.  She was an excellent seamstress, often making  clothing  or a warm blanket for her family, as well as expertly mending any rip or tear brought to her. She worked side by side with her family walking beans (oh the stories that can be told!), working in the garden, or being a helping hand whenever one was needed on the farm. In her later years, she continued to enjoy all family-oriented activity. Children and grandchildren stopped by the farm often just to spend time with her, which made her very happy! Shirley was feted with a family gathering for her birthday each year, but a special party for family and friends was held for her 70th, 75th, 80th and 85th birthdays. It was family gatherings and celebrations that she treasured. She loved her husband, her family and her life on the farm near little Arthur, Iowa. In addition to being the mother of 13 children, she could easily be persuaded to talk about her 42 grandchildren, or her 41 great-grandchildren and share the news of expected babies on the way.  She just adored babies and it was a given that Grandma Shirley would soon be holding any and all babies present when her family was together. She will be so dearly missed by her family and friends alike.

Left to cherish her memory are 12 children: Ann (Bernie) Onnen of Schaller, IA, Joe (Eileen) Hemer of Waverly, IA, Peggy (Garry) Anderson of Sierra Vista, AZ, Lee (Karen) Hemer of Odebolt, IA, Jan (Charles) Schug of Ida Grove, IA, Jay (Sue) Hemer of Arthur, Kris (Rick) Schroeder of Odebolt, Don (Tami) Hemer of Arthur, Carl (Roxie) Hemer of Odebolt, Bonnie Hoefling of Sioux City, IA, Dave (Diane) Hemer of Arthur, and Jean (Hagen) Ludwig of Breda, IA; son-in-law, Brad Aschinger of Wall Lake, IA; 42 grandchildren and 41 great-grandchildren, including three great-grand babies soon expected. Shirley is also survived by her younger brother, Jim (Pat) Oxendale and her sister-in-law, Lois Oxendale, as well as nieces, nephews, many friends and extended family.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Roy Hemer, her daughter, Mary Aschinger, two granddaughters, Colette Hemer and Quincy Ludwig, her parents, Jim and Peg Oxendale, her parents-in-law, Clarence and Amanda Hemer, two brothers, Roland Oxendale and John Oxendale, two sisters-in-law, Virginia Boggs and Ila Oxendale, and a brother-in-law, Earl Hemer.

Shirley left the legacy of a large, loving family who will miss her immensely and always remember and honor her memory.


10:30 a.m., Friday
November 10, 2017
Faith Lutheran Church
Odebolt, Iowa


Rev. Trish Underberg


Shirley's Grandchildren


4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Thursday, November 9, 2017
Faith Lutheran Church
Odebolt, Iowa



"The Old Rugged Cross"
"Church In The Wildwood"

Margaret Ann Buller, Organist


Hayes Township Cemetery
Rural Arthur, Iowa


Tuesday, November 21, 2017 at 1:06 PM
“To the Hemers.
Just saw on Facebook that your mother passed away. What fun lady to be around. Sympathy to all of you.”
- Eldo Moeller
Wednesday, November 15, 2017 at 11:22 AM
“Sue was a Red Hatter and I always enjoyed our getting together. We had fun. So sorry for your loss. ”
- Vera Varner
Wednesday, November 15, 2017 at 11:22 AM
“My thoughts and prayers to your family. ”
- LuAnn Lunkenheimer Knobbe
Friday, November 10, 2017 at 10:16 AM
“My sympathy to the Hemer Family. Was friends with Shirley for many, many years. May memories help you through these sad times.
- Shirley Ruser
Thursday, November 9, 2017 at 11:39 AM
“I remember that big Hemer family, but especially, Ann (the closest in age to me). I also remember our times with other Arthur families at Blackhawk Lake--picnics, games, and just being together. I also remember running into Shirley many times in Storm Lake where she had driven some of the older Arthur ladies to do their shopping. I remember thinking how much those ladies must appreciate her. They always seemed to be having such a good time because Shirley was always smiling and happy:-) Sending my sympathy to all of the Hemers--know that she will be greatly missed!”
- Jean Boerner
Thursday, November 9, 2017 at 11:20 AM
“Sending love from Corey, Sarah, Oliver, and Lucy! Our thoughts and prayers are with the whole family. We love you Opa and Oma!”
- Sarah Onnen
Thursday, November 9, 2017 at 11:20 AM
“I'm so sorry for your loss. I know loosing a mother is hard but I know that my mother, Lois Howell Cox and her are having a great time catching up and maybe playing some cards. They are not alone now.”
- Kathy Staggs
Thursday, November 9, 2017 at 9:20 AM
“My thoughts and prayers are with you all at this sad time.”
- Jerry Boger
Thursday, November 9, 2017 at 9:20 AM
“Sorry to hear of the family's loss. My prayers and thoughts are with you all. May she rest comfortably in the Savior's arms. God Bless”
- Mary Borunda
Thursday, November 9, 2017 at 9:20 AM
“All of you the ( gang ) have our deepest sympathy , sure will miss Shirley , she was a great lady always willing to help someone in any way she could . She did a lot for my mom and they were good friends as well a Dad and you Dad they were class mates and friends . Praying for her and all of you .
- Larry and Joan Hoalgund
Wednesday, November 8, 2017 at 2:35 PM
“We met Shirley when our daughter Megan married into this loving family to grandson Corey Peterson. Shirley was a spit fire and someone we loved. Good memories. Rest In Peace Shirley you will be missed.

- Mary Ann and Mike Cooper
Wednesday, November 8, 2017 at 11:05 AM
“My deepest condolences to all of you. I know mom (Margaret Albertsen) and Shirley were close and I'm sure they are giving hugs in heaven to each other. I have fun memories of being at the Hemer farm as a young girl and it was a game I played trying to remember all your names in the correct order :) . May God's loving arms be around you at this time. ”
- Sue Albertsen Bergamo
Wednesday, November 8, 2017 at 9:09 AM
“Sorry for your loss,your family is in our prayers.She was a nice lady,she always took the time to chat when you would see her.”
- Sandy Lichter
Tuesday, November 7, 2017 at 11:15 PM
“Prayers go out to the Homer family. Your mom was one who welcomed us into Arthur when we 1st moved back from Texas. She always had a smile & a big heart.”
- Matt & Chris Wunschel
Tuesday, November 7, 2017 at 11:15 PM
“A beautiful Saint has gained her reward in heaven. She had a radiant smile and was a very foxy lady. She helped raise an awesome family who know how to work and have respect for others. What a great reunion there was in heaven. we send our love and sympathy”
- Jack and Carol Nuetzman
Tuesday, November 7, 2017 at 11:15 PM
“Sorry to hear about your mom, you have our sympathy and prayers, Your families now have 2 angels watching over you.
- Marla
Tuesday, November 7, 2017 at 11:15 PM
“We are so sorry to hear about the lot of Shirley. Your family is in our prayers”
- The Lane Family
Tuesday, November 7, 2017 at 6:10 PM
“I've always remembered Shirley's devotion to her children and their events at school. She was such a loyal fan of all of their undertakings and a good example of how it should and could be supporting her family and community. She will be sorely missed. ”
- Carol Raasch
Tuesday, November 7, 2017 at 2:12 PM
“Shirley was such a happy lady. She was a good friend to my mother, but then all the Arthur people were friends. We are sorry for your loss. Philip and Gloria Sykes”
- Gloria Sykes
Tuesday, November 7, 2017 at 2:12 PM
“I am so sorry to hear this. We were farm neighbors for many years and I remember when everyone used to be at Blackhawk Lake in the evenings. My sympathies to her entire family.”
- Sandi Einspahr Lickteig
Tuesday, November 7, 2017 at 10:21 AM
“Our thoughts & prayers are with your family.”
- Nolan & Mari (Ehler) Kreft
Tuesday, November 7, 2017 at 10:20 AM
“May she enjoy eternal peace and light perpetual shine upon her. She was a very special lady. My family, especially my dad, my niece Elizabeth and I, enjoyed her while she lived and treasure her memory.”
Tuesday, November 7, 2017 at 10:20 AM
“Our thoughts and prayers are with all of the Hemer kids and family. Shirley was a 'special' lady and so influential in the Arthur community and in making the legacy of what Arthur was & is. She will be missed, but hopefully celebrated as well.”
- Nate & Pam Kitterman
Tuesday, November 7, 2017 at 9:14 AM
“So sorry to hear of your mother's passing. I remember many of the fun times we had with her, especially when we had the Arthur woman's softball team - what a blast! It's fun times like that in which we need to hang on to those wonderful memories, realizing that life is short, and we all need to make the best out of each and every day!
God bless,
- Kay Arbegast Johnston
Tuesday, November 7, 2017 at 9:13 AM
“Roy and I send our sincere love and sympathy in the loss of you mother, grandmother and great grandmother. She had great pride and received great pleasure in her "gang" as she lovingly called you. You are to be complimented in the love you returned to her making hers a good and long life. Praise God for blessings given to her in her beautiful life. God's love and peace to all of you now in your grief.”
- Roy and Virginia Vinkemeier
Tuesday, November 7, 2017 at 9:13 AM
“RIP Shirley. I have so many great memories of visiting the Hemer family. May God comfort each of you.”
- Keith Albertsen
Monday, November 6, 2017 at 4:59 PM
“Our sincere sympathy to Shirley's family,Shirley was a joy to know. God's blessings to her family.”
- Chuck and Joanne (Rasmussen) Clark
Monday, November 6, 2017 at 4:59 PM
“We 'd like to extend our sympathy to the Hemer family for their loss. God will take care of her now as her family took care of her in the the last several months. I don't think I need to tell you how proud she was of her family and the happy days you gave her. We are sorry we won't be there for her services to tell you in person but you will be in our prayers and God be withyou

Mary Jane & Don Oxendale”
- Mary Jane & Donald Oxendale
Click Here If You Would Like To Leave Your Condolences