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Shirley Pflughoeft

March 1, 1927 — October 13, 2017

Shirley Pflughoeft


Shirley J. Pflughoeft, age 90, of Winona, passed away on Friday, October 13, 2017, at Lake Winona Manor.

Shirley was born on March 1, 1927 to Lillian Carpenter in Sauk Center, MN. She was later given up for adoption. William and Lutcy Boettcher of rural Nodine, MN took her home when she was just shy of 3 years old. They had also adopted a boy, Edward, just a few months before. Growing up on the farm in Nodine meant country school, chores, church at St. John’s, and the Grand Ole Opry on the radio. But the animals were definitely Shirley’s thing--there were very few animals on or off the farm that she didn’t fall in love with—cows, pigs, cats, dogs, birds, squirrels—she charmed them all.  Shirley loved music—she taught herself to play a number of instruments by ear—and was thrilled to play in the Lewiston High marching band at halftime shows. But when her Mom was sick and her Dad got hurt, she had to quit school in order to help out on the farm--she did everything from driving the tractor to delivering calves. Meanwhile, she started dating Artie Pflughoeft and after about 8 months, he was drafted. They got engaged before he left for Japan and after his discharge they were married—December 11, 1946.

Over the next six years, Shirley and Artie farmed three different farms at “half share” and added four children to their family. They became lifelong friends with other couples who farmed in the area, often getting together at one another’s homes to play cards and spin yarns.

In 1953, they bought a gas station on Mankato Avenue and a house was attached—they moved to town to make a go of it in Winona. Shirley was responsible for managing Pflughoeft’s Mobil while Artie worked seven days a week at Bay State Milling. Two more children arrived at that homestead where Shirley was responsible for pumping gas for customers. Many a family meal was put on hold in response to the bell and a child crying out, “Customer!”

In May of 1955, Shirley was reunited with her birth mother after years of searching. Her family grew again when she discovered that she had 5 half siblings—two brothers and three sisters.

In addition to the gas station, Shirley operated another home-based business, Shirley’s Lettering. She customized shirts, banners, and jackets for sports teams and fair princesses. There was also a time when Shirley worked in food service at Community Memorial Hospital. She also served for many years with the Ladies Sewing Circle at St. Martin’s church.

Many pets made their way into the family over the years and neighborhood children were always welcome in her home. When the grandchildren started arriving, they, too, were welcomed with open arms. Shirley provided day care for many of her grandchildren—she often remarked that being around them kept her feeling young.

Shirley was preceded in death by her husband, Artie; birth mother, Lillian Loew; her adoptive parents, William and Lutcy Boettcher; adopted brother, Edward Boettcher; half-siblings, Virginia, Louise, Florence, and George (Bob) Loew; stillborn daughter, Vicki Lynn; and beloved daughter, Barb Kulas. Also preceding her in death were in-laws, George Spalding and Erwin and Madie Pflughoeft.

She is survived by her half brother, Jim Riley; her children: Bonnie (Jim) McGowen, Bob (Kathy Seifert) Pflughoeft, Larry (Margie) Pflughoeft, Kathi Pflughoeft, and Jerry (Jannette) Pflughoeft; grandchildren: Keith (Paula) Kulas, Vicki (Joe) Baumgartner, Wendi Franke, Stacey (Eric) Anderson, Amanda (Zach) Job, Nicole (Tim) Scott, Kyle Pflughoeft, Nathan Pflughoeft, Max Pflughoeft, Chad (Heidi) Meyer, and Wade (Brooke) Meyer; great-grandchildren: Lee (Bria) Kulas; Ryan Kulas; Tony Baumgartner; Shaylyn Franke; Gage and Callie Anderson; Tyler, Kale, Easton, McKenna and Caiden Meyer. She is further survived by sister-in-laws, Sylvia Boettcher and Lorraine Spalding, and brother-in-law, Raymond (Elaine) Pflughoeft.

Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, October 17, 2017, and on Wednesday, October 18, 2017, from 10 a.m. until the funeral service at 11 a.m, all at Watkowski-Mulyck Funeral Home.  The Reverend William Flesch will officiate. Interment will be at the Bush Cemetery in Ridgeway, MN.

Pallbearers will be Jerry Pflughoeft, Kyle Pflughoeft, Bob Pflughoeft, Nathan Pflughoeft, Max Pflughoeft, and Ryan Kulas.

Honorary Pallbearers will be Larry Pflughoeft, Keith Kulas, and Riley Job.

Memorials may be directed to the Winona Friendship Center or the Winona Area Humane Society.

Online condolences or memories may be left for Shirley’s family at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Shirley Pflughoeft, please visit our flower store.


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