Shirley Collings Green, 86, of Williston, formerly of rural Alexander, North Dakota passed away on Friday evening, May 15, 2020 at the Bethel Lutheran Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center in Williston.
Shirley was born May 28, 1933, to Elbert & Ruth (Boyce) Collings. When she was 4 yrs old, her father died suddenly.
Shirley spent her early years between the Missouri River bottoms, Williston, rural Ray, and Bonetraill. In 1939, her mother married Freddie Wagner and they eventually moved into Williston.
During her younger years, Shirley & her siblings entertained themselves playing music. She had many notebooks full of the lyrics to popular songs of their times. Shirley learned to play piano by ear and she would accompany her siblings while they played guitar and sang songs.
Shirley graduated as a salutatorian of the WHS class of 1951. During high school and after, she worked at various Williston cafés and JC Penney.
On October 26, 1954, she married Melvin L. Green in Williston. They moved to the farm north of Alexander, ND where they raised 5 children.
While Dad farmed & worked at the refinery, Mom filled in doing anything needed on the farm. From gardening & tending to all kind of animals to milking cows, working cows, summer fallowing, and driving grain truck. A lot of people wouldn’t know the work this slight-framed woman did! I’ll never forget her getting out of that big tractor in her sleeveless shirt & shorts……..covered from head to toe with dirt after a day in the field.
Mom was the glue that kept everything together, she was always there for all of us, all throughout our lives. And she did it all while working around Dad’s work schedule, running 5 kids to all their functions, and helping out in the community.
For a time, they raised brown swiss cattle. At one point she milked 14 cows morning & night. By selling the cream, she was able to supplement income and buy the kids our school lunch tickets. She loved those cows! Another passion she had was 4-H. It started by just getting us kids involved. Then she became a 4-H leader. Then she sat on the county 4-H council, supervising clubs & youth activities. She received many appreciations & leadership awards from 4-H.
When the kids all left home, Shirley moved onto her next venture. She hadn’t worked out in the public since getting married, and she discovered Tupperware. She absolutely loved satisfying customers, the sales awards, and especially the socializing. She lived it & breathed it, and it gave her such a sense of accomplishment. She continued to enjoy life on the farm until they moved into the Briarwood independent living apartments in Williston in 2008. Mel passed away in 2009, and she remained at the Briarwood until entering Bethel Home in January of this year. In the last few weeks, she said she could watch over us all better from heaven than she could where she was. She was determined and ready to leave for heaven. One of Shirley’s last requests was to make sure that her kids knew how proud she was of all of them.
Shirley was preceded in death by her mother, father, stepfather, husband Mel, her brothers Conrad Collings, Glen Collings, Gayle (infant), and her sister Ruth (Berta) Miller. Shirley also lost her oldest son David in 1976, as well as an infant son in 1963.
She is survived by her children Kevin, Linda (Lyle) Stevens, Rick (Leslee), and Terry. Also surviving are her 8 grandchildren Sara Palmer, Wade (Becca) Stevens, Matt (April) Stevens, Adam Stevens, Lacie (Shawn) White, Leslee's daughter, Sara (Todd) Kinney, Jasmin Green, and Daniel Green. Additionally, she adored her 10 great-grandchildren, 7 girls & 3 boys. She is also survived by her sisters Lola Hayden and Lee Kraft, as well as many nieces, nephews, and cousins.
The Everson Coughlin Funeral Home of Williston is caring for the family.