With deepest faith that her compassionate, merciful God was waiting to welcome her with loving arms, Shirley Collar left this world bound for heaven on April 13, 2023. She was a tender yet tough, sassy yet sweet soul who made an admirable life through strong Dutch work ethic sprinkled with Irish shenanigans.
Shirley was born September 7, 1939 in Appleton, WI, the beautiful centerpiece of Clifton and Nellie (DeBruin) Hughes’s seven children. She and her siblings loved swapping stories of picking beans, running from the chickens they raised, and making memories at the family’s Shamrock cottage on Green Lake near Mountain, WI. Four months after graduating from St. Mary High School in Menasha with the class of 1957, Shirley married Peter Kronschnabel and ventured around the country with him, following his U.S. Navy career through several relocations over seven years. Their children were born in three different states and Shirley often solo-parented while Pete was at sea. They returned to Appleton in 1964 where their family was finally able to put down roots. In that first Edison school neighborhood, she met Joanie and Norbert “Nubs” Siebers who became dear, lifelong friends. Shirley was a stay at home mom, lovingly raising her own three and caring for others as well. She returned to the workforce first as a union grocery store checker at Food Queen in the Valley Fair Mall and then as a Quality Audit Specialist at Appleton Papers (now Appvion). She was proud to be the third generation of the Hughes family to retire from “the mill”. During her early years at Appleton Papers, Shirley met Milton “Mick” Collar and they were married in 1979. They could often be spotted during daily walks or bike rides with their spoiled Yorkshire terrier in the basket.
Shirley found fulfillment volunteering with St. Elizabeth Hospital, Pillars Emergency Shelter, St. Thomas More parish of which she was a member for 50 years, and setting out flags on veterans’ graves at Riverside Cemetery for Memorial Day. She enjoyed her weekly women’s bowling league and traveling with friends and family. Even her friends at Living Tree can attest to her love of winning around the card table with skills that were honed through decades of raucous games with her siblings especially during holiday gatherings. Shirley had a magical green thumb and loved spending time in her flower and vegetable gardens. Her family savored the bounty of her many hours of canning tomatoes, pickles, and applesauce. Children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren were Shirley’s greatest treasures. Some of her fondest memories were of her grandchildren packed into her cozy kitchen, making Christmas cookies, and her July 4th driveway parties where everyone had a front row seat for Memorial Park fireworks.
Among those who loved and will miss Shirley are her daughter Ann (Jeff) Pierre; son Ken (Kristi) Kronschnabel; her grandchildren and great-grandchildren: Carolyn Pierre (Travis Pedersen), Jack, Ben; John (Laura) Pierre, Silas, Vivian; Kristin Pierre (Chad Balthazor), Ezra, Zelda; Jessica (Mike) Sherman, James, Edward; Taylor (Brian) Diener; Sam Kronschnabel; siblings who were also her lifelong friends and favorite mischief makers: Vivian Hughes, Mary Jane Harp, Helen (Delmar) Mueller, Clifton (Tracy) Hughes, Jr., Patrick (Connie) Hughes, Kathleen Kamba; her bonus family, Milt’s children Jolene (Larry) Lamers, Brad (Jean) Collar, Janelle (Steve) Puckett, Jana (Don) Ogden; his grandchildren and great-grandchildren Clint Lamers, Matthew Cooper, Derek (Samantha) Puckett, Landon, Jodie (Dan) Krzysik, Beau, Colton, Daniela; Daniel (Julie) Collar, Easton, Madelyn, Lauren; Kristina Collar; Pete’s siblings who always lovingly treated her as family: Therese Mundschau Cooper, Paul (Ilene) Kronschnabel, Daniel (Paula) Kronschnabel, Mardi (Bobby) Evans, as well as cherished nieces, nephews, and friends.
In addition to her husband, Milton, and her dear parents, souls reuniting with Shirley in heaven include her beloved daughter Karmen; her siblings in-law Reinhold Harp, Jr., Patricia Hughes, Ione Hughes, Steve Kamba; Pete and his siblings Gerald Kronschnabel and Dolores Griffiths.
Shirley’s family is grateful beyond measure for the skill, kindness, and care provided to her by Micki, Nicki, Rick, and Dr. James Williams of Moments Hospice as well as the dedicated staff of Living Tree Estates. Her earthly trials over the last three years were numerous and difficult but the compassion, empathy, and respect shown Shirley by these professionals gave her and her loved ones solace and respite.
Shirley taught her family valuable lessons not only through words but by the way she worked so very hard to face challenges and overcome fears. Her strength and tenacity, faith and love are gifts that will continue to inspire those who shared this life with her.
Shirley’s funeral Mass will be at St. Thomas More Catholic Church, 1810 N. McDonald St., Appleton on Friday, April 21 at 11:00am. Visitation will be at church from 9:00am until Mass begins. In lieu of flowers and other expressions of sympathy, a memorial fund is being established by her family.
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