Shirley Opal Wells, 88, passed away peacefully surrounded by her family on May 8th, 2023. She has been joyfully reunited with her family in heaven.\n\nShirley was born on April 18, 1935 on her family homestead in Hudson, South Dakota. Born prematurely, there were concerns the tiny baby would not survive, but inklings of her iron will made themselves known, even in those earliest moments. It didn't take her long to begin to thrive on the family farm. She quickly became an indispensable member of the farm household. But ultimately, Shirley dreamed of a life beyond her small town. Her keen intellect and tireless work ethic pointed her in another direction, and she pursued a nursing degree from Augusta College. Shirley created a legacy of tenacity and education for the women in her family that has proven to be a guiding light and inspiration.\n\nShirley met her first husband, Duane Wardell, while attending college. They married and had their first child, Shirlane Kay Wardell, in 1957. After graduation, the young family moved to New York. Shirley worked as a hospital nurse while her husband began a career in aerospace technology and engineering. Eighteen months later, DeRue Helene Wardell joined their busy family. \nAfter relocating to California, Duane began losing his sight, eventually becoming blind and unable to work. He passed at the young age of 35. Shirley returned to nursing, first as a school nurse, and then as an industrial nurse, all while single-handedly raising her two girls. \n\nIn addition to loving her work deeply, Shirley also cultivated hobbies at which she excelled. She was a phenomenal gardener, and cultivated even the most beautiful and temperamental flowers with ease. She also pursued ballroom dancing! In fact, the ballroom would be where she met the next great love of her life, Duane Leroy Wells. The two married in 1978, and went on many adventures together with their ballroom group. Duane stepped in and played grandpa to DeRue's three young children. Sadly, Duane’s health failed in 1991, and he passed at the age of 58. Shirley continued to work and eventually, retire from nursing, but that didn't mean she was any less busy. She spent several years tending for her aging mother-in-law, who lived until she was 102, providing excellent, selfless care. \nIn 2010, however, time began to catch up with Shirley, and her daughter began making frequent trips to California to offer care. In 2014, Shirley moved to Washington with her daughter and son in law. They lived on five gorgeous acres in Washington for several years, where Shirley resumed her hobbies of gardening and the wildlife watching that made the property such a delightful home. Shirley, Kent, and DeRue were all more than a little heartbroken to leave that magical place, but Kent's job took the family to Utah in 2022, which also happened to be home to Shirley’s three grandchildren. The family will always be grateful for the close proximity the seven great-grandkids had to their "Gigi" for the last year of her life. \n\nShirley is survived by her daughters, Shirlane Wardell, of Simi Valley, CA., and DeRue Walker, of Spanish Fork, UT, and their husbands (Don Diamond and Kent Walker, respectively), her three grandchildren, Kirstin Norman, Chase Cornett, and Spencer Cornett and their spouses (James Norman, Emily Cornett, and Amy Cornett, respectively) and her seven rambunctious great-grandchildren, Rigby Norman, Colton Cornett, Emmeline Norman, Maddox Cornett, Campbell Norman, Amelia Cornett, and Kellen Cornett, in addition to her sister, Bonnie Bogue, of Beresford. SD. She was preceded in death by her parents, Lars Bjarne Eidsness and Esther Helene Anderson, and both of her husbands.