She was born on May 3, 1934 in Otto, the daughter of Evelyn Thorley Christiansen and Leland Frederick Christiansen. Shirley joined two older brothers and was followed by a sister, and then three younger brothers. All together, five boys and two girls were born within a 10-year period.
With seven children in the family, they all learned to do their share, by helping one another in work and play. A very strong family love developed and has remained throughout the years. Her mother, Evelyn, helped provide for the family as a teacher and tutor and taught her children not only at home, but in the public schools as well.
Her father, Leland, could build or repair about anything and was a brick mason by trade. He was away from home a great deal because of the lack of work in the area. The family moved to various towns in Wyoming and California for his employment. The young family moved 10 times before Shirley graduated form Burlington High School in 1952.
During her youth, Shirley helped her mother in various ways with their large family and learned to be the best wife, housekeeper, cook and mother.
At age 15, Shirley found the love of her life at a church dance. She and Samuel Mads Cottrell waited until they graduated from high school and were then sealed in the Logan, Utah LDS Temple. On July 3, 2012, they celebrated their 60th anniversary. The two were practically inseparable and united in all they did.
Shirley helped support Mads through Northwest College in Powell and the University of Wyoming in Laramie for the next four years. Nancy, their first child, joined them while they were in college. Upon graduation in 1956, the three moved to Meeteetse for the next 37 years, where Mads worked for the school and Shirley raised and nurtured their five children — Nancy, Dale, Carrie, Connie and Carl. She also cared for the LDS Church building and grounds and tended many children while their mothers worked away from home. In addition, her home was always organized, spotlessly clean and the next meal prepared and ready.
After retirement, Shirley and Mads served a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Missouri. When they returned, they decided to make Powell their home, where they have spent the past 17 years. The circle was complete and they were back in Powell close to family, with renewed and new friends.
Shirley’s life has revolved around her family and the LDS Church. She served in all organizations of the church and later in life as a temple ordinance worker in the Billings Temple. She realized and mentioned often what a blessing it had been to have raised her children in the LDS Church.
Shirley was preceded in death by her parents; brothers Arden, Vance and Lee; sister Kay McIntosh; sister-in-law Phyllis (Arden) and Gayle (Lee); and son-in-law Steve Kruger.
Survivors include her husband, Mads of Powell; brothers Don (Sherry) of Tempe, Ariz., Alan (Nancy) of Ogden, Utah; sisters-in-law Norma (Vance) of Logan, Utah; brother-in-law “Mac” (Kay) of St. George, Utah; children Nancy Kruger of Meeteetse, Dale (Irena) of Cody, Carrie (Desmond) Bennion of Casper, Connie (John) Moore of Powell and Carl (Candace) of Worland; 22 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren and a host of friends.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, Oct. 1 in the Powell LDS Church on Seventh Street. Interment will be in the Burlington Cemetery.
Memorials may be sent to the NWC Scholarship Fund, 231 West 6th Street, Powell, WY 82435.
Thompson Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements and condolences may be sent to the family at www.thompsonfuneral.net or P.O. Box 807, Powell, WY 82435.