Shirley Marie Willers

Shirley Marie Willers

January 26, 1933 – January 20, 2022

Age 88.  VISITATION: Saturday, January 29th from 9am to 11am at Messiah Lutheran Church, 5015 S. 80th St. in Ralston, followed by MEMORIAL SERVICE at 11am.  In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to American Cancer Society or Messiah Lutheran Church.

To view a live broadcast of the Service, please go to and click the “View Live Cast” button on the home page.


Shirley Marie Willers, age 88, of Omaha, Nebraska, passed away January 20, 2022.  Survived by husband, Wendell; daughters, Linda Greiner (Bernie), Jan Schutz (Tim); sons: James (Robyn), Roger (Carlene Paulson), and Brian Willers (Jann); grandchildren: Wendy Cooley (Shane), Michael Willers (Kelley), Justin Willers (Nicole), Matthew Willers, Shane Willers (Juana), Andrew Schutz (Jody Menear), Danny Willers (Lauren), Joshua Willers (Katie), Sheila Hansen (Bo), Lowell Willers (Ivania), Jared Willers (Ashley), and Miranda Bohnenkamp (Jake); step-grandchildren: Jasmine Silva (Joe), Rachael Monico (Greg), Coby Greiner, and Erika and Kirsten Hoaby; great-grandchildren: Payton, Skyler, and Avery Cooley; Maddex and Alianna Willers; Jason and Clayton Willers; Amsley, Sage, Kaylor, and Kolton Willers; Parker Menear-Schutz, Bonnie and Stevie Willers; Harper and Emerson Willers: Dexter, Knox, and Zoe Hansen; Kendrick and Ethan Willers; Mia Marie and Dezmin Willers; and Jaxen and Macent Bohnenkamp; step-great-grandchildren: Garret Menear-Carda; Karen Rodrigues, Colston and Kieran Silva; and Natalie and Miles Monico. Preceded in death by parents, Gustav and Marie Gemelke; as well as brothers, Oscar (Jeanette) and Marvin Gemelke (Darlene).

Shirley enjoyed going to dances at King’s Ballroom in Norfolk, Nebraska where she met the love of her life, Wendell Willers.  She happened to be on a date with his brother, so being a wiseacre, he asked her to dance.  She said “Yes!” and that dance launched a lifetime of happiness.  They were married on August 27, 1950; and lived in a little rented cottage that featured a two-hole outhouse.  She was afraid to go out in the dark alone, so…those who “go” together, stay together.  They moved to Omaha in November 1955 and purchased their forever home in February 1958.  Over the years, they were blessed with 5 children, 12 grandchildren, 5 step-grandchildren, 25 great-grandchildren, and 6 step-great-grandchildren.

After her own kids were grown, she took a job at Arby’s.  Shirley quickly became a supervisor, and most of the grandkids (even a few great-grandkids) first job was helping her open the restaurant in the morning.  Even after a full workday, she made time to watch the grandchildren and great-grandchildren when their parents were busy.  

Wendell and Shirley enjoyed bowling with the same group of friends for over 35 years (they even won a championship), and they celebrated Fourth of July and New Year’s Eve with the same group for 50 years. They attended thousands of music concerts, dance recitals, and sporting events to watch grandkids, and later great-grandkids, participate.  Shirley had a passion for music and found room for a piano, even in their small home. She passed this love along to her grandkids and arranged for all of them to have lessons.

Sunday dinners were her specialty.  She loved company on Sundays, and her motto was the more the merrier.  It was truly amazing how many people could fit in their small kitchen.  Wall-to-wall with people, kids running from room to room, the nosier, the better.  Shirley prepared almost all the food, accommodated the picky eaters, and refused to sit down until everyone else had something to eat.  

She was amazed by the technological changes that occurred in her lifetime. From televisions, remotes, phones and more, Shirley never lost her curiosity. In the quieter moments, she loved evening walks around the block, hand in hand with her soulmate.  Her heart was big enough for everyone, and she always had more to give.  Shirley touched many lives, whether they were family, friends of grandkids, or someone she only met for brief moment.




  • Patti and Tim Langham Posted January 23, 2022 8:23 am

    You are missed love you sweet lady

  • Richard L Hart Posted January 24, 2022 7:54 pm

    Shirley was a very kind and sweet lady. We will miss her much.

  • Joni Craighead Craighead Posted January 25, 2022 9:07 pm

    So very sorry. Sending hugs love and prayers. No matter how long we have our parents it’s never long enough.

  • Ilan Blanck Posted January 28, 2022 4:28 pm

    What a beautiful remembrance of someone of a lovely woman. May her memory be a blessing.

  • Ilan Blanck Posted January 28, 2022 4:29 pm

    What a beautiful remembrance for a lovely woman. May her memory be a blessing.

  • Rotella drivers Posted January 28, 2022 7:33 pm

    So sorry for your loss Wendell and family.Shirley was one of the best.Every driver that delivered your Arbys new how special Shirley and Wendell were

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