February 12, 2009

Jorgensen starts another retirement


If you don’t count when she stopped farming, Shirley Jorgensen has retired more than twice. The most recent retirement, in November of 2008, came when she retired after two terms as Sheridan County Commissioner. "I am doing just what I want to do," she smiled. "I have not made any plans, just taking it day by day." Don’t get any ideas that she is a lady who has lived a life of leisure. This strong woman was widowed with two young children, ages 11 and 16, to care for, although she states that they were a lot of help to here. Husband Norman died of complications of his diabetes when they had been married slightly less than twenty years; they would have celebrated twenty years in April of 1972. He had only been diagnosed in 1964 and was taking medicine, but not insulin. The suddenness of his death, while she was also working as a secretary to the Sheridan County Agent Wayne Hankel, left her with 400 acres of cropland, 30 milk cows, and a small family to raise. Daughter Alice (Wade) Schatz and son Keith helped, while Jorgensen worried that Keith might have missed something in his life with all the work. "He still works all the time," she sighed. He is not married. Family is important to Jorgensen and she enjoys the latest additions to her family, two great-granddaughters, Jaidyn and Ryleigh Schatz, children of grandson Ryan and Joanne. Her other grandson, David, is married to Amy, but there are no ‘greats" here yet. She traveled to California to be with them in December, returning home to be snowed in during the fierce after Christmas storms this past winter. The loss of a granddaughter (Jaimie) when the girl was just a teen, was "hard to handle" she admits. The young girl’s heart apparently gave out as she slept, with her mother finding her curled up in her blanket in the morning. Jorgensen was born and grew up in Sheridan County, the daughter of George and Mildred Schell. She had three brothers and one sister, brothers Arnold and Marvin are deceased; Duane (Clara) lives in Minot and sister Marilyn (Mervin) Gessele lives in Bismarck.

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