Shirley Mildred (Wessels) Behrends

Shirley Mildred (Wessels) Behrends was born the daughter of John E. and Mildred (Hassman) Wessels on October 11, 1938. She was born on and grew up on her family’s farm in rural Parkersburg. There she attended a small country schoolhouse until the 8th grade and then finished her education at Parkersburg High School, graduating at the young age of 16 years. She began her career soon after as a secretary at Iowa Security (later “Hill Realty”).

Shirley worked hard on the farm with her family and met her husband, Edward, who lived near her uncle’s farm near Austinville, Iowa. She would tell the story of how they met and then mention that she “wasn’t really impressed with him at first”, but agreed to date and soon found that she really did like him! Edward and Shirley were united in marriage on June 10, 1960, at Downing Avenue Gospel Chapel in Waterloo, Iowa, after Edward returned from the service in Germany. 

Shirley and Edward moved to New Hartford around 1961 and she worked as a secretary at the New Hartford School for about 23 years, retiring in 1994. As she grew older, Shirley loved spending time with family, painting, and baking goodies. She especially loved spending time with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Shirley is proceeded in death by her parents, John & Mildred; parents-in-law, Ben & Grace; one brother, Paul Wessels; one sister-in-law, Gladys Bierman; one brother in infancy; and son-in-law, Wayne Ziwiski.

Shirley is survived by her loving husband of 63+ years, Edward of Parkersburg; daughters, Ranae (the late Wayne) Ziwiski of Hampshire, IL and Renise (Bryon) Aswegen of Parkersburg; five grandchildren (and their spouses) and three great-grandchildren; one brother, Ron (Colleen) Wessels of Parkersburg, sister-in-law, Gertrude (and their families), Edward’s brothers & sister (and family).

Shirley went to be with her Savior and Lord Jesus Christ on March 18, 2024, at the age of 85 at Allen Hospital in Waterloo, from natural causes. 

Funeral services were held at 11:00 a.m., Thursday, March 21, 2024, at Bethany Bible Chapel in Cedar Falls, Iowa.  Mr. Grady Dollar and Mr. George Farber officiated the service.  Caleb Aswegen and Jason Ziwiski shared family memories.  Celsey & Blake Kelley sang “I Saw One Hanging on a Tree” and Josh Mazariegos sang “Amazing Grace” and “Far Side Banks of Jordan”.  Burial was held at Oak Hill Cemetery in New Hartford, with Caleb Aswegen, Jason Ziwiski, Josh Mazariegos, Blake Kelley, Neal Garbes and Gerald Haan serving as Casketbearers.  Honorary Casketbearers were Sarah Ziwiski, Callie Mazariegos and Celsey Kelley.

Visitation was held from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., Wednesday, at the Redman Funeral & Cremation Services – Parkersburg Funeral Home and one hour before services at the chapel.  Memorials may be directed to the family.  Online condolences may be left at


Parkersburg Eclipse News-Review

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Parkersburg, IA 50665
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