Born November 17, 1929, in Morris, Minnesota, to Stanley “Tiny” and Ethel Johnson, Shirley was the valedictorian of Morris High’s class of 1947. She enrolled at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, where she completing a double major in Art and Music and sang with the St. Olaf Choir. A member of Phi Beta Kappa, she graduated magna cum laude in 1951.
After a two-year stint teaching in Hardin, Montana, she married Roald A. Kindem, a Luther Seminarian, on June 8, 1953, and they moved to Kalispell for Roald’s internship year. The following May, they welcomed the first of eight children: Randi, Peter, Erik, Kari, Kristofer, Mark, Mikal, and Joel.
Following Roald’s seminary graduation in 1955, they served pastorates at American (later Christ) in Whitefish; First in Havre, Montana; Grace in Albert Lea, Minnesota; and California Lutheran University, before making Apple Valley their home from 1978–2019.
At age 50, Shirley enrolled at Luther Northwestern Theological Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, fulfilling a desire for advanced theological education and the opportunity to serve the church in a new capacity. Graduating in 1983, she served as an Associate in Ministry at Hosanna Lutheran Church in Lakeville, Minnesota, and St. John Lutheran Church in Rosemount, Minnesota, and was a volunteer chaplain at Fairview Ridges Hospital, Burnsville, Minnesota.
Alongside her volunteer and professional work Shirley expressed her creativity in other outlets, including community theatre and various choral ensembles. After retiring from professional church work she found a new passion: writing detailed family histories as well as a three-volume memoir, Growing Up Shirley.
Shirley is survived by her husband of 65 years Roald, her children and their families: Randi (Albert) Siu, of Carlisle, Massachusetts; Peter (Gabrielle) Dion-Kindem, of Agoura Hills, California; Erik (Christine) Kindem, of Seattle, Washington; Kari (Thomas), of San Jose, California; Kristofer Kindem, of Eagan, Minnesota; Mark (Miriam) Kindem, of Bemidji, Minnesota; Mikal (Diane, deceased) Kindem, of Blaine, Minnesota; and Joel (Susan) Kindem, of San Diego, California. Their 19 grandchildren and one great-grandchild include: Maren, Jacob (Maryel), Lars (Stephanie), Anneliese, Soren, Nathan (Deyhdra), Megan (Tyler), Kai, Naomi, Lukas, Kirsten, Jonathan, Stephen, Daniel, Sarah (James) with Micah, Cole (Kelly), Matthew (fiance´ Ariel), Noah and Harleigh. She is also survived by her sister Carol DeCastro (Fred) and their four children, numerous nieces and nephews; and by brothers and sisters in Christ, colleagues, cherished friends and neighbors who have shared this “one wild and precious life” with her. Shirley’s spirit lives on in all of our hearts as a life-long example of deep Christian faith, generosity, kindness, perseverance, patience and devoted service to others.
A memorial service will be held at Grace Lutheran Church in Apple Valley, Minnesota, on April 12, 2019. Visitation at 10 a.m.; Worship at 11 a.m., following by a luncheon hosted by the congregation. Interment of Shirley’s ashes will take place at Oakwood Cemetery, Northfield, Minnesota, on April 13, 2019 at 10 a.m. Family only.
In lieu of flowers, we invite gifts to the Shirley L. Kindem Choir Endowment Fund at Grace Lutheran Church, Apple Valley.