Cover photo for Shirley Carlson Kunst's Obituary
Shirley Carlson Kunst Profile Photo
1938 Shirley 2021

Shirley Carlson Kunst

June 23, 1938 — November 6, 2021

Funeral service for Shirley Carlson Kunst, age 83, of Isanti, will be held Thursday, November 11th, 2021 at 2:30pm at Salem Lutheran Church, Dalbo; and LIVE-STREAMED USING ZOOM CLICK HERE.  Interment will be at Wendell Hill Cemetery. The family asks that all attending the funeral wear a mask and maintain social distance practices.

On a beautiful June summer evening at 9:50pm in 1938 in the City of St. Cloud, Shirley Ann Ledeen made a grand entrance smiling and singing loudly to presiding physician C. J. Henry.  She was looking forward to joining the family farm in the Borgholm township area of Milaca.  Her proud parents were Bill and Effie Ledeen along with her big brother Vernon.  Little Shirley loved the farm and as she grew to womanhood, she walked across the farm fields to attend country school. During her senior year, on Christmas day, Shirley’s high school sweetheart Wayne Carlson proposed and she said YES!  They were married the following summer at Zion Lutheran Church in Milaca on June 30th   Sadly, in 2002 she lost her sweetheart of forty-six years to a car accident. A few years later, Shirley was blessed to find happiness again with a new love, Henry Kunst, whom she married on May 5, 2007.

Shirley had many adventures in her life such things as driving a loaded log truck carrying 20 ft long x 2 ft wide White Pines that were being logged out of “Grandy Pines” by her husband. Wayne had bought a “saw mill” disassembled in boxes at a local auction and that purchase bloomed into their Carlson Logging backyard small business.  Shirley would help stack the lumber to dry and then sell it to the public.  One winter when roads were icy and Shirley was driving a load of logs home the truck started to fishtail and jack-knife.  Shirley kept calm and kept the truck on the road and got the load home! 


She grew a vast cucumber patch and picked pickles daily that were bought by Gedney Foods.  She worked as a 4-H product judge during the Isanti County Fair for many years.  She volunteered in the Cambridge Hospital Gift Shop and loved chatting with the guests and helping them pick out their gifts.  Shirley had the unique job of reading (measuring the depth of) the Rum River at the West Point bridge off Hwy 47 for Army Corps Engineering. She loved going to tractor pulls, thrashing shows, and watching her son Cory and his boys participate in demolition derbies.  At Zion Lutheran Church she taught Sunday School and for years sung in the choir at Salem Lutheran Church.

Shirley spent 24 years working for the Cambridge Isanti School District as a cook.  This work influenced Shirley as she always made huge portions which came in handy for all the fun get togethers she supported.  Some favorite grandkid memories are all the food grandma would make at Christmas time!  Her “doctored up” grape jelly meatballs were the best!

Other fun activities Shirley enjoyed were watching game shows on TV, working in her huge vegetable garden, playing cards (500 was the grandkids favorite to do with grandma), stopping at Dairy Queen, working on puzzles and living on the Rum River.

At this point in our story Shirley is probably saying “oh for Pete’s sake” which was her trademark saying.

Regardless of the trials and tribulations in one’s life, Shirley had unconditional love for everyone.  If you were visiting and it was dinner time, a plate was automatically set for you.  No questions asked. If you were a troubled teen and you needed a couch to sleep on, Shirley had one.  There was no judgement, only love.  The poem “Epitaph” by Merrit Malloy eloquently sums up the exceptional life she led and it goes like this….

When I die
Give what’s left of me away
To children
And old men that wait to die.
And if you need to cry,
Cry for your brother
Walking the street beside you.
And when you need me,
Put your arms
Around anyone
And give them
What you need to give to me.

I want to leave you something,
Something better
Than words
Or sounds.

Look for me
In the people I’ve known
Or loved,
And if you cannot give me away,
At least let me live on your eyes
And not on your mind.

You can love me most
By letting
Hands touch hands,
By letting
Bodies touch bodies,
And by letting go
Of children
That need to be free.

Love doesn’t die,
People do.
So, when all that’s left of me
Is love,
Give me away.

Shirley is survived by her four children, Tim (Lana) of Stanchfield, Greg (Ann) of Cambridge. Tammy (Peter) Fleming of Maple Grove, and Cory (Jenny) of Cambridge; including ten grandchildren, ten great-grandchildren, three nieces and a nephew. Many other extended family and friends.

She was preceded in death by her Husbands Wayne Carlson and Henry Kunst; Parents William (Bill) and Effie (Johnson) Ledeen; Brother Vernon Ledeen (Janis (Ranem)); Grandparents Swan and Annie (Anderson) Ledeen and Charles and Eva (Swensen) Johnson; Aunts Sarah (Ledeen) Selander and Ester Ledeen; Uncle Henry (Hank) Ledeen and many cousins.

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

Service Schedule

Past Services

Funeral Service

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Starts at 2:30 pm (Central time)

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