Shirley M. Koleske (née Jensen) passed away on March 10, 2023. She was 85 years old.
She was born in Racine, WI on August 20, 1937, daughter of the late Leroy and Irene (née Beauchamp) Jensen, the second of their three children. She and Daniel F. Koleske were united in marriage on August 16, 1958 at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Racine, WI.
Shirley was a graduate of Roosevelt Grade School and Horlick High School. She worked in banking for her entire career, first as a teller, before taking time off to raise her children. She later returned to work for Heritage Bank, now Johnson Bank, where she retired as a Vice President after over 25 years of service. Shirley especially enjoyed her interactions with her many customers.
Shirley accepted people as they are and made friends easily despite her shyness. In her earlier years, she was easily enticed into a game of catch or 2-on-2 basketball with her sons. Later in life, she loved to spend time with her grandchildren—organizing games, working on art projects, and reading to them, as well as spending time with her family and friends. Shirley also enjoyed crafting, baking cookies, making fudge, and dining out. She organized and kept the finances for an investment club with her friends for over 30 years. She generously volunteered for school and church functions and charities, including the Racine County Food Bank.
Survivors include her sons Matthew (Sharon) Koleske of Scottsdale, AZ, and Tony (Ruth) Koleske of Cheshire, CT; daughter-in-law Julianna of Albuquerque, NM; seven grandchildren: Claire Koleske (William Zimmerman) of Seattle, WA, Nicholas Koleske of San Diego, CA, Adam Koleske of Albuquerque, NM, Megan Koleske of San Francisco, CA, Milo Koleske of Albuquerque, NM, Benjamin Koleske of Baltimore, MD, and Emily Koleske of Cambridge, MA; brother Roy Jensen of Melrose, FL; her dear sister and brother-in-law Linda and Steven Rumachik of Burlington, WI; and many nieces, nephews, and friends.
In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband of 63 years, Daniel F. Koleske, her son, Daniel D. Koleske, and many brothers- and sisters-in-law.
A private memorial will be planned for immediate family.
The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, donations in her memory be made to the Racine County Food Bank (https://www.racinecountyfoodbank.org/contribute.html) or the Alzheimer’s Association (alz.org).
Shirley and Danny were long time friends of Tom and I. We are sorry to read that she had died. Please accept our sincere condolences.
Matt, I am sorry for you and your family. My condolences. At one time in the 1970’s your family held an important place in my life. I was sadden to hear that your brother died a couple of years ago, I was happy to hear that he exceeded in his field. Your mother did open my first ever bank account at Heritage Bank. I further apologize for taking so long to communicate this to you. My space is limited but my best memories are of us walking along the canal from the cabbage farm across September Drive and looking for beer cans. Your dad was a genius for using barn wood in your basement. Namaste my old friend. May peace be with you.