Cover photo for Shirley Tretow's Obituary
Shirley Tretow Profile Photo
1930 Shirley 2021

Shirley Tretow

May 20, 1930 — October 6, 2021

Shirley Ann Thompson Tretow, age 91, of Oshkosh, WI, passed away Wednesday, October 6, 2021, in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

Shirley was born May 20, 1930, in Chicago, IL, the daughter of Henry Ballou and Bernice (Johnson) Thompson. She grew up in Chicago’s western suburbs and graduated from River Forest High School in Oak Park, IL in 1948. Shirley attended Elmhurst College graduating in 1952 with a B.A. in English. On August 30, 1952, she married Harley C.W. Tretow at the Methodist Church in Lombard, IL. Following graduation at Elmhurst the couple went to Webster Groves, Missouri, where Harley attended Eden Theological Seminary. Their first home after seminary was in Belvidere, Illinois and then came a move to Dale, Wisconsin in 1957. In 1963 they came to Ripon, Wisconsin where they lived until 1993, when they moved to Berlin, Wisconsin. Their final move was to the Evergreen Retirement Community, Oshkosh, Wisconsin in 2014.

Shirley was known to many through her active work in all the churches where her husband served as pastor. She was a math teacher after her graduation from college, and in Ripon, she served as a substitute English teacher at Ripon High School. She worked for many years at Gehrke Paint Store in Ripon, and enjoyed getting to know the students who came to purchase their art supplies. In Berlin, she was active with the local quilting group, taught ESL to Mung immigrants, and was a member the Berlin branch of the American Association of University Women, the Berlin Historical Society, and the Berlin Senior Center. Shirley enjoyed art and studied it while her children were in high school and again at Evergreen, where she especially enjoyed painting.

Survivors include daughter, Elizabeth (Phillip) Ann Tretow LaGro of Williams, Arizona; son, H. Charles (Layne) William Tretow of Deale, Maryland; two grandchildren, Amanda (Michael) McClure of Warrenton, Oregon and James Cunningham of Plymouth, Minnesota, and one great-grandchild, Anastasia. She was preceded in death by her parents and husband, Harley C.W. Tretow.

Funeral Service for Shirley will be held on Friday, October 29, 2021, at 10:30 am at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ in Oshkosh with the Reverend Michael Bober officiating. Interment will follow at Woodlawn Cemetery in Ripon, WI. Memorials may be directed to the Advancement Office, Lakeland University, W3718 South Drive, Plymouth, WI 53073 or The Nature Conservancy, 633 W. Main St. Madison, WI 53703.

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