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Shirley E. (Fruechte) McGinnis, 89

Shirley E. (Fruechte) McGinnis, 89, passed away peacefully in her sleep on Friday, Feb. 28, 2020, at Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

She was born on June 7, 1930, near New Albin, Iowa, to Carl and Winnifred (Meyer) Fruechte, the second of six children. She attended a one-room country school and shared memories of walking in the cold winter months with hard boiled eggs in her mittens to keep her fingers warm.  In

Shirley E. (Fruechte) McGinnis, 89

addition to her regular studies, she recalled that art and patriotism were highly stressed. Often, she would help her dad in the fields by holding the reins of the horses from the wagon; these were among her fondest memories. She left the family farm at 15 to attend high school in Caledonia, Minnesota, staying with the town doctor and his wife to look after their children in her spare time.

After graduating from Caledonia High School in 1948, she worked at the local drug store as a pharmacist’s assistant, managing the soda fountain as well. She later worked for the telephone company as a switchboard operator. She married Robert E. McGinnis, also of Caledonia, and moved to Austin, Minnesota, where Robert was employed at the Austin Daily Herald. They were blessed with five children. Shirley enjoyed singing and playing the guitar at St. Augustine’s Church and area nursing homes for many years.

She is survived by four children, Theresa Winkels (Richard), James McGinnis (Laurent), Julie Fiala and Thomas McGinnis; four grandchildren, Jennifer Johnson (Jacob), Bethany Winkels (Alex), Danielle Bertrang (Jesse) and Derek Fiala; six great-grandchildren, Jude, Marek, Maeve, Alexis, Britten and Lydia; and four sisters, Delores, Marlys, Janice and Barbara. She was preceded in death by her husband, ‘Bob’; her son, Joseph; her great-grandson, Robin; and her brother, Aldred.

Shirley will be remembered for her love of nature, especially flowers and trees, but most of all for her love of birds — their song, their colorful feathers, their unique habits — and she passed this love on to her children and grandchildren. We will all think of her when we hear Red-Winged Blackbirds singing in the reeds, a Jenny Wren outside a window, a Downy Woodpecker drumming on a tree, or a crow cawing in the morning. She lost her dear husband late last summer, and their memory will be celebrated with Irish songs at a private family service at Fort Snelling National Cemetery.