Shirley Ludeking, age 84, of Decorah, IA, died on Thursday, September 30, 2021, at Aase Haugen Senior Services in Decorah.
Shirley Ann (Dalziel) Ludeking was born on January 31, 1937, the daughter of Merle and Marguerite (Stevenson) Dalziel in Traer, IA. She graduated from Traer High School in 1954. She received her Music Education degree from Cornell College.
Upon graduating, Shirley began the first of many adventures in her life. She traveled to New York City and enrolled in the Neighborhood Playhouse where she was further trained in performing arts. While there, she performed off-Broadway and in summer stock theater in the Catskills and New Hampshire, often memorizing multiple plays and choreography in one season. Her singing voice and projection of lines was captivating.
She returned to Iowa and taught music at Traer High School. There, she was set up on a successful blind date with a chiropractor from Reinbeck. Shirley married Alfred Ludeking on November 22, 1966. In 1972, they moved to Decorah. It was here that Shirley devoted her time to the New Minowa Players, Farm Bureau Women’s Chorus, First Lutheran Church, Luther College Women’s Club and golfing at Oneota. She enjoyed reading, dancing and singing while cooking dinner, directing and acting in numerous New Minowa Players productions, and raising their three daughters, Heather, Heidi, and Rachel.
Alfred and Shirley continued their adventures together, enjoying travel, camping, and eventually a river expedition taking them down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico. After Shirley decided that she needed the land beneath her feet more than water, they spent time traveling by camper and RV throughout the southern states, visiting friends and relatives, and making more friends along the way. Once Shirley’s Parkinson’s needed more consistent care, they spent all seasons back in Decorah.
For over 6 years, Shirley has lived at Aase Haugen, dazzling the night nurses with her knowledge of making pies and coaching the aides on their harmonization of gospel music. She will be missed by her Aase family as well as by the many people touched by her enthusiasm for books, plays and performance.
Shirley is survived by her husband, Alfred Ludeking. Three daughters: Heather (Casey) Christensen, Carmel, CA, Heidi Ludeking (Jason Streed), Decorah, IA, and Rachel (Christian) Nielsen, Chanhassen, MN. Grandchildren: Kate Ludeking and Andie Gegax, both of Decorah, IA. Step-grandson: Noah Nielsen. Sister-in-law: Lavonne Larson, Fernandina Beach, FL. Brother-in-law: John Beghtel, Sarasota, FL.
She was preceded in death by her parents: Merle and Marguerite (Stevenson) Dalziel. Sister: Mildred (Carrol) Lunde. Father and mother-in-law: Alfred and Dorothy (Winke) Ludeking. Sister-in-law: Mary Jo Beghtel. Brother-in-law: Fred Larson.