Peaceful 06

Shirley Jean (Dahnke) Swanson

April 26, 1937 ~ November 12, 2021 (age 84)

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Shirley Jean Dahnke-Swanson was born April 26, 1937 in Sutherland, Iowa.  Shirley attended grade school in Sutherland and in country schools south of Hartley, Iowa.  Shirley graduated from Hartley High School in 1955 and attended Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa majoring in Education.

Shirley accepted a 4th grade teaching position in Primghar, Iowa, where she taught until 1959.  On June 14, 1959, Shirley married Gary Swanson and began their 62 + year life as one.  Shirley and Gary moved from Spencer, Iowa, to Vermillion, South Dakota where Shirley taught 4th and 3rd grade while Gary went to school.  Their first child, Mark was born in Missoula, Montana.  Shirley worked at KWSO TV as a producer and took care of Mark and Gary.

In 1961, the family moved to Park Forest, Illinois, and then to Wheaton, Illinois.  Shirley worked as a substitute teacher, then accepted a position as Editor of the Student American Medical Association (SAMA) professional journal.

Shirley and family moved to Elkhorn, Wisconsin in 1975.  Shirley and Gary started a medical products testing laboratory for manufacturers of medical products.  Shirley was active partner in the laboratory business.  Shirley and Gary welcomed a second child in 1977.  Together, Shirley and Gary operated three family-owned corporations over the next 45 years.

Shirley the daughter of Irvin Dahnke and Lizzie Wittrock-Dahnke, passed away November 12, 2021 following a short illness.  Shirley previously lost both of her parents, her sister Phyllis, and brother-in-law Elfred Eifert.

Shirley leaves two children, Mark of Elkhorn, Wisconsin and Louis [nee: Lisa] (Kris) of Okinawa, Japan and her husband of 62 years to mourn her passing and miss her forever.

Visitation will be 1:30 PM Wednesday November 17, until time of service at 2:00 PM at the Haase-Lockwood & Associates Funeral Home and Crematory 730 N. Wisconsin Street Elkhorn, Wisconsin with Pastor Tom DeGroot officiating.  Graveside service will be Thursday at Pleasant View Cemetery in Hartley Iowa.  On-line guest registry is at


To send flowers to Shirley's family, please visit our floral store.


November 17, 2021

1:30 PM to 2:00 PM
Haase-Lockwood & Associates Elkhorn
730 N. Wisconsin St
Elkhorn, WI 53121

Funeral Service
November 17, 2021

2:00 PM
Haase-Lockwood & Associates Elkhorn
730 N. Wisconsin St
Elkhorn, WI 53121

Graveside Service
November 18, 2021

3:00 PM
Pleasant View Cemetery
640 S. Central Ave
Hartley, IA 51346


Elkhorn Food Pantry
14 W Geneva Street, Elkhorn WI 53121

Salvation Army
514 Sutherland Ave, Janesville WI 53545

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