Fay Shields, 92, Spearfish, died peacefully on Friday, December 18, 2020 at Rolling Hills Healthcare Facility, Belle Fourche, SD.
A private graveside service will be held at Rose Hill Cemetery in Spearfish with Pastor Scott McKirdy officiating. The family is unable to assemble at this time due to difficulties brought on by the Covid pandemic and will plan a memorial service sometime next year with a date yet to be determined.
Fay was born April 2, 1928, in Philip, SD to Martin and Elsie (Curl) Hanrahan. She graduated from Spearfish High School and enjoyed being the drum majorette in its marching band. During her high school years, she worked at the Valley Cafe and had a brief stint as a “soda jerk” at one of the local pharmacies. (She made a mean malt!). After World War II, she attended Black Hills Teachers’ College (now Black Hills State University) where she obtained her teaching certificate. She then taught elementary school in Lead, SD for 3 years and always said that she liked her second graders the best.
On June 4, 1950, she married Elmer Shields at the United Methodist Church in Spearfish, and they lived in Lead. He was employed by Homestake Mining Co. The family moved to Grants, N.M., in 1958, when Elmer was transferred.
In New Mexico, the family grew and had many new adventures. Fay collected jewelry and pottery made by the Pueblo Indians and, during this interesting process, also made many new friends. One high note was the family being invited to a Shalako ceremony at the Zuni Pueblo to bless the new home of a family that Fay knew. New Mexico (like the Black Hills) was an important part of her. She loved its weather, its people, and the amazing sunsets.
In 1975, the family returned to Spearfish when Elmer became Homestake Plant Engineer, and in 1979, Fay embarked in a new venture: selling real estate for Century 21 in Spearfish. She soon discovered her local connections, love of people, honesty, and dedication made selling real estate in the Black Hills her dream job. She was proud to be a realtor and liked the people she worked with. Most of all, she truly enjoyed meeting new people and helping them find homes that would suit them. A large part of her life was her circle of friends. Many will remember her as a friendly and trustworthy neighbor.
Fay had an abundance of great qualities that determined the way she lived her life. She was among the first to volunteer for a worthy cause or to help someone in need. She was always mindful of others. The last year of her life was arguably the hardest but at the same time probably the truest testament to her character: She would often mention that she was doing OK but was more concerned about how her caretakers were doing. She admired them for taking on such a hard occupation.
In addition to being a long-time member of the United Methodist Church, Fay was active in PEO and supported its main mission of providing higher education for women. She said that she particularly liked interacting with PEO’s new members. Fay also belonged to the Spearfish Coronet Club and enjoyed its members and activities.
Fay loved to travel and had many wonderful trips with Elmer and some trips in later years with her children. She especially enjoyed her two trips to Ireland, staying in Bed and Breakfasts and making new friends all along the way. The trips that she took with her children were most special to her. The joy that she derived from those adventures was greatly magnified by the fact that she knew that her children were having a great time. In a note left to her children she wrote that her last trip will be going to heaven by way of Switzerland. She still wants to see “Heidi’s Mountain”.
Fay was preceded in death by her husband Elmer and her brother Sylvan Hanrahan and sister-in-law Phyllis Hanrahan. She is survived by two sons, Robert (Basia) Shields, Tualatin, OR., and David (Barbara) Shields, Yankton, SD.; one daughter, Linda Shields (Kim Engstrom) Sacramento, CA.; three grandsons, Paul Sochacki, Ryan Engstrom and Jeremy Shields, four granddaughters, Jennifer Engstrom and Rosemary Engstrom, Amy Shields, McKenzie Shields; nine great grandchildren and one great-great grandson, nieces and nephews: Bonnie Hanrahan (Carl Catterson), Salem, OR, Mark (Julie) Hanrahan, Newport, OR, Robin (Doug) Cornu, Salem, OR, and Tara (Mark) Eklof, Tillamook, OR.
Memorials may be sent to either the Spearfish Food Bank or the United Methodist Church, Spearfish. The family requests that condolence cards be held until arrangements are finalized for the memorial service.
Arrangements are under the care of the Fidler-Isburg Funeral Chapels and Isburg Crematory of Spearfish. Online condolences may be written at www.fidler-isburgfuneralchapels.com.