Sixty-three days shy of her 100th birthday, Shirley Muriel (Zuercher) Denesen passed away in
Livingston, MT on August 3, 2022. Wife to Richard Denesen, who preceded her in death in 1993, Shirley
was born October 5, 1922, in St Paul, MN. She married Dick in June of 1941. They raised four children
in Minnesota until 1958, when Dick’s job as auditor for the Burlington Northern Railroad took them to
Montana. They lived in Livingston until 1966, then moved to Missoula. After they retired, they lived
briefly in Stevensville, MT, close to their son, Jim, and his family. They returned to Missoula a few years
Shirley remained in Missoula after Dick passed, and later moved Hamilton and finally to
Livingston where Jim now lives as well. Her last years were in a retirement home with Jim close by her
side every single day, sharing ice cream with blueberries and reminiscing over her old photographs.
Shirley will best be remembered for being a first-rate homemaker, mom and mother-in-law,
grandparent to many, and a green-thumb gardener. Home-grown, fresh raspberries with angel food cake
were a specialty, and no one made better Swedish pancakes.
Her love for her Swedish heritage was expressed through her and Dick’s participation in VASA in
Missoula. A lifelong dream to go to Sweden was realized when her oldest daughter, Diane, accompanied
her there when Shirley was 80-years old.
Like many in her generation, she lived through some tough times including several wars, the
Great Depression, more than one viral outbreak, (she survived Covid at age 99), the deaths of three of
her four children, as well as the death of a grandson and a great-grandson. Shirley was practical, “tough
as nails”, generous yet frugal, humble, and compassionate. She guarded her resources well, but never
failed to help those in need.
Shirley is survived by her son, James R. Denesen, and his wife, Sandy, of Livingston. Her
daughters, Diane Fay, Carol Phillips and Janet Marshall preceded her in death. She has 8 living
grandchildren, 13 great grandchildren and 7 great-great grandchildren. She was a fighter. Anyone that
can live to the age of 99, just simply is. She will be greatly missed.
Franzen-Davis Funeral Home and Crematory has been entrusted with arrangements.