Shirley Ann (Bakke) Wood, 73, of Bemidji, MN was called Home peacefully and was embraced by our Heavenly Father on March 31, 2021. Shirley was born on July 8, 1947 in Bemidji, MN, the daughter of John and Annie Bakke. Shirley was raised in Bemidji and graduated from Bemidji High School in 1965. Shirley was a Route Service Representative for Quest Diagnostics for many years while living in Bemidji.
Our mom enjoyed many things throughout her life. She spent many years bowling and grew a collection of trophies along the way. Bingo was another favorite of hers. Shirley was reigned the “Bingo Queen” at the Neilson Place and wouldn’t miss an opportunity to play Bingo, and of course win! Our mom also was one of the biggest Vikings football fans. On game day, she would be dressed from head to toe in Viking’s attire and would cheer them on every second of the game. In our hearts, we know she is still rooting and waiting for them to make it to the Super Bowl. If Shirley wasn’t rooting for the Vikings, she would spend her time watching her favorite shows which would include Wheel of Fortune, Family Feud, and the Bold and the Beautiful, just to name a few. If our mom would have ever been given the opportunity to be a contestant on the Wheel of Fortune, we have no doubt in our minds that she would have been the big winner. And we think everyone who knew her, started to know and love the Bold and Beautiful as well. In her eyes, it was the best soap opera around, and that is why she watched it decade after decade.
What our mom enjoyed most though, was visiting and connecting with people. She loved attending the ice cream socials every Friday at the Neilson Place. Of course, she loved the sundaes, but it was the company that she loved and treasured the most in those moments. Our mom had the biggest heart and welcomed everyone with a smile and open arms. This was a true gift of hers. She loved unconditionally, listened intently, and helped endlessly. Our mom was like a pebble full of love and kindness that when dropped into water, it would cause ripples. These ripples of love and kindness, were overflowing, reaching and touching everyone she met. She made everyone feel comfortable, allowing everyone to be their true authentic self.
Although our mom will not be with us physically, her love and memory will continue to shine through all of us. When you sit quietly and listen for thunder during a storm, know she just got a strike when you hear the rumbles, maybe even a perfect game of 300, while bowling with the angels. On a hot summer day, treat yourself with one of her favorite desserts, a peanut buster parfait from the Dairy Queen. When you want to escape from the world, play some Beatles, Elvis, or some classic country hits. We imagine our mom dancing and swaying her head back and forth, with her long “Crystal Gayle” hair flowing from side to side, to these favorite musicians of hers and their songs. If you see a lilac bush, stop in that moment to smell and embrace her favorite plant. While out gazing at the evening stars, if you hear her favorite bird, an owl “Hoo!”, think of her whispering a gentle hello.
As her immediate family, we would like to thank her extended family, that has grown over the years, at the Neilson Place. We know many looked at her as a bonus mom or a grandmother. We appreciate the moments that you spent with our mom whether it was catching up on what happened on the Bold and the Beautiful or putting her favorite lotion on her body. We appreciate the attention to detail you gave her; getting her water the perfect temperature with the right mixture of hot and cold and if it wasn’t right going back and getting it until it was. You would wait patiently while she did her finger check to see if she gave you the approval. We know she is looking down right now smiling with a smirk as you read this. And lastly, we appreciate and want to thank you for the care that you gave her over all of these years. We couldn’t have done this without you. We feel extremely grateful for all of you and that you have become part of our family.
We know that our mom would want to say “walker” one last time to all of us. To those closest to her, the word “walker” has become a word of many meanings and sometimes emotions. She would say this last “walker” with so much enthusiasm and would have a giant smile on her face. This “walker” would mean and encompass, “I am doing wonderful, that this isn’t a good bye, but rather a see you later, thank you for all the remarkable times and memories, and know that I treasure and love every one of you.”
Shirley is survived by her daughters, Renee (Wayne) Hanschen, Stacy (Scott) Adams; grandchildren, Alexis Wood, Mason Wood-Taylor, Myles Wood, Hudson Hanschen, Reegan Hanschen, Sullivan Adams, Isabelle Adams; siblings, Joan Bakke, Carol Boese, Gene Bakke, and many nieces and nephews.
A celebration of her life will be held on Sunday, May 30, 2021, at the Bemidji Eagles, from 3-6pm. Please come, bring your family, and enjoy some food and share some of your stories and memories of Shirley. Hoping to see you all to celebrate this beautiful woman, that we are so lucky and fortunate to call “Mom” and “Grandma!”
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