Esther “Shirley” Forde

Esther “Shirley” Forde, age 91, of Decorah died Saturday, March 2, 2019 at Northgate Care Center in Waukon. A Celebration of Life and Memory was held Wednesday, March 6 at Big Canoe Lutheran Church, Decorah with Rev. Kurt Bockoven officiating. Interment was in the Iowa River Cemetery.

Esther Shirley Forde was born July 12, 1927, the daughter of Theodore and Amanda (Sande) Berge near Springwater. She attended Pleasant #8 and Pleasant #1 country schools. After finishing school, Shirley helped her parents on the farm.

She married Omer Forde June 2, 1948 at the Big Canoe Lutheran Church. Together they farmed near Sattre from 1949 until 2005. Shirley was a lifelong member of Big Canoe Lutheran Church. She enjoyed gardening, canning fruits and vegetables, sewing, collecting cookbooks, raising her chickens and sheep, and most of all, just being on the farm.

Shirley is survived by two daughters, Barbara (Rich) Hammel of Decorah and Julie (Rick) Bakken of Decorah; one son, Robert Forde of Decorah; three grandchildren, Jeremy (Deanna) Bakken, Ashley (Alex) Imhoff and Sarah Hammel; one great-grandson, Memphis Imhoff; two sisters, Bernice (Paul) Arneson of Decorah and Lucille (Norman “Jake”) Jacobson of Loveland, CO; a brother-in-law, Arlan Forde of Decorah; a sister-in-law, Marie Forde of Alburnett; and many nieces, nephews and great-nieces and great-nephews.

Shirley was preceded in death by her husband, Omer, in 2011; her parents, Theodore and Amanda (Sande) Berge; her sister, Irene Gulrud; her brothers-in-law, Forrest Forde, Merle Forde, Gordon (Evelyn) Forde and Floyd Forde in infancy; and her sisters-in-law, Inez (Ted) Gjere and Marge Forde.

Honorary casketbearers were David Bigler, Dennis Bigler, Paul Arneson, Kermit Nordheim, Jan Sweeney, Joe Sweeney, Jake Sweeney and Jerry Sweeney. Casketbearers were Richard Bakken, Richard Hammel, Tom Arneson, Bud Gavle, Jeremy Bakken and Kenny Johnson.

Schluter Balik Funeral Home of Decorah assisted the family with arrangements.

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