Cover photo for Shirley DeBates's Obituary
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Shirley DeBates

February 16, 1934 — February 24, 2023

Pipestone

Shirley DeBates

Shirley Ann DeBates was born on February 16, 1934 to Fred and Florence (McEnaney) Dickey in Rock Township, Pipestone County, Minnesota. She was the youngest of ten children. Her father died when she was eight years old. The family came together and continued to farm, with the children who were able, pitching in to help. Shirley helped with chores and gathered eggs. They eventually left the farm and moved to town. She and her mother and sister moved into a house in Pipestone, Minnesota, where Shirley continued attending school. As a child, she loved horses and bicycles. She loved chocolate, especially chocolate crème drops, (which she continued to receive as Christmas gifts right through this past year).

After school, Shirley worked as a roller-skating carhop at Lange’s Café. She met Francis “Spike” DeBates while out at Jerry’s Juke Joint, north of Pipestone. The couple began dating, and were united in marriage on January 20, 1951. In 1955, their young family moved to Roseville, Michigan and Shirley continued as a homemaker. In 1971, they returned to the area and moved to Hardwick, Minnesota. Shirley was a cook for a time at the grade school and waited tables and tended bar at the Green Lantern bar/restaurant, and at KJ’s. In 2014, Shirley moved into the Sunrise Village assisted living in Jasper, Minnesota. In 2020, she moved to Falls Landing assisted living in Pipestone. On Friday, February 24, 2023 Shirley died at the Pipestone Medical Center at the age of 89 years and eight days.

Shirley loved music and dancing. She was very proud of her Irish heritage, and you could often find her listening to the Irish Tenors, and to Daniel O’Donnell, whom she saw in person. She taught her children how to dance to the old-time music. Shirley liked playing cards, cross stitching, sewing and quilting, baking, and reading. She enjoyed cooking and loved to have gatherings with her family and friends for big meals. Shirley loved fishing for bullheads with her sister Gene. Her sons were both avid fishermen as well, and many walleye fish fries shared yet again with family and friends followed successful fishing trips.

Shirley was Minnesota Nice and came complete with a frequent “uff da”. Her children will fondly remember a couple of her responses, including when being asked, “Where are you going, Mom?” often she replied with, “Crazy! You want to come along?” When asked “How are you doing?” she replied with, “Same stuff, different day.” Shirley despised lies. She often said, “You can always remember the truth, but you can’t always remember the lies.” Although she loved music, she sometimes got the lyrics a little bit wrong. For instance, “Sweet Caroline” became “Please don’t cry.” Shirley knew her grammar and made sure each of her seven children did, too!

Shirley is lovingly survived by her five children, Debi (Rick) Ripper of Dell Rapids, South Dakota, Becky (Dave) Nankivel of Tea, South Dakota, Joni Keller of Broomfield, Colorado, Kim (John) Kendall of La Veta, Colorado, and David DeBates of Sioux Falls, South Dakota; daughter-in-law, Sandy DeBates of Loveland, Colorado; son-in-law, Tom Lehmann of Broomfield; 15 grandchildren, Jennifer Ripper, Miranda Ripper, Ricky Ripper, Michael Reisch, Chris Reisch, David Reisch, Carly Waldorf, Cammie Schwindt, Sheila Wayland, Jesse Hildebrandt, Cody Hildebrandt, Parker DeBates, Nick Lehmann, Robert Lehmann, Elizabeth Lehmann; 14 great-grandchildren, Maxwell Pomeroy, Alexis Ripper, Caden Waldorf, Cassidy Waldorf, Mya Schwindt, Beckett Schwindt, Sydney Sullivan, Taylor Reisch, Oliver Reisch, Elsa Reisch, Mira Reisch, Madeline Reisch, Peyton Reisch and Carlos Valdez; four great-great-grandchildren, Damien Sullivan, Cade Sullivan, Stetson Bohnenkamp and Leyla Valdez; and several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband, Francis; son, Jim DeBates; daughter, Jeanie Lehmann; and son-in-law, Conrad Keller; and all nine of her siblings, Frances Adams, Freda Terhark, Edith Marquardsen, Verna Dickey, Ruby Hansen, Gene Wittrock, Vernon Dickey, Joyce Hansen and Betty DeSchepper.

To send flowers to the family in memory of Shirley DeBates, please visit our flower store.
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Visitation

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

4:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

St. Leo Catholic Church - Pipestone

415 S. Hiawatha Ave, Pipestone, MN 56164

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Mass of Christian Burial

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

10:30 - 11:30 am (Central time)

St. Leo Catholic Church - Pipestone

415 S. Hiawatha Ave, Pipestone, MN 56164

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Wednesday, March 1, 2023

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