Shirley Ann Newell, 87, Long Grove, passed away Sunday, April 8, at Galesburg Cottage Hospital after struggling to recover from a stroke in January. Funeral services are scheduled at St. Ann’s Catholic Church, Long Grove, with visitation from at the church from 2-5 p.m. Sunday, April 15, and from 9:30-10:30 a.m. Monday, April 16, with a mass and burial to follow. Halligan-McCabe-DeVries Funeral Home is assisting with the arrangements.
Shirley Ann Connell was born September 20, 1930, at the family farm near Long Grove, to James and Eleanor Connell. She attended one-room schools and graduated from Davenport High School, after which she was employed by Iowa AAA Motor Club followed by Central Trust and Savings Bank in Eldridge. She married Eugene Newell at St. Ann’s November 11, 1954, and they celebrated 63 years of marriage in 2017. As a young woman, Shirley enjoyed roller skating and driving Gene’s pink convertible while he served the U.S. Army stationed in Korea.
Together, Shirley and Gene operated the dairy, hog and crop farm her parents established north of Long Grove, winning dozens of milk quality awards from Swiss Valley Farms and its predecessor organizations. She worked beside her husband on the farm, especially enjoying raising sows and their litters. They were active in the Ayrshire Breeders Association, attending conventions, show and sales, and chairing a national convention in Iowa. The couple was honored with the Iowa Ayrshire Association Honorary Lifetime Member award in 1999 and Scott County Farm Bureau’s Distinguished Service Award to Agriculture in 2016.
Shirley was the consummate supporter of her children’s activities, serving in the North Scott PTA and in the music and athletic booster clubs during their school years. She also served on the Scott County 4-H Youth Committee and the Scott County Extension Committee.
Shirley was involved with the Mississippi Valley Fair for most of her life, beginning as a 4-H member, then as a 4-H parent and volunteer, and a dairy exhibitor. She joined the fair’s board of directors in 1979 and was its concessions manager during much of her tenure, serving as board president in 1989-90, and attending regional, state and national fair board events. She remained an active board member until the time of her passing. Shirley was passionate about the event’s success and took pride in helping bring it from a struggling county fair to a prosperous regionally recognized event. The Newells donated Fair Fun Cards to many local people and causes. She received the fair’s Distinguished Service Award in 1991. Shirley and Gene were also inducted into the Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame, and the Iowa Fair Association Hall of Fame.
Left to treasure her memory are her husband and son Dan (Julie) Newell, of Long Grove; daughters Linda Hanson (Mike). Goodridge, Minn., and Sherry Newell-Opitz (Joe), Avon, Minn; and grandchildren Elinor Opitz-Hopfer (Mathew), David Hanson (Ashley Swenson), Matthew and Steven Hanson, and Gus Newell.
She was preceded in death by her parents, parents-in-law Erma and Raymond Roddewig, and Pearse and Irene Newell; brother J. Dwight Connell (Joyce); and an infant nephew. Memorials are preferred to the Scott County 4-H, North Scott FFA or the Ayrshire Breeders Foundation, all of which are directed toward youth.