|Shirley Gerien Conrad
Born: October 22, 1923 Died: July 11, 2018
Shirley Gerien Conrad (née Bentson) passed away peacefully in Bigfork, MN on July 11 at the age of 94 after a dynamic and
influential life. She was born on October 22, 1923 and spent much of her childhood learning the nuances and mechanics of
farming while working at her father’s side. Not long after graduating from Joliet Township High School, the attack on Pearl
Harbor in 1941 led her to enlist in nurses’ training with the Army. This nursing education during World War II set in motion her
career and life ahead.
After the war, she married veteran Army airman Leo Lawler and they started a family in 1951 with the birth of their son,
Robert (Bob) Lawler. After bravely ending the very challenging marriage, she committed to a nursing career that led her to
become the Chief Pediatric Nurse at Silver Cross Hospital in Joliet. She was one of the first women of her era to hold a
position at this level, retiring in 1982 only after her nearly 40 year battle with multiple sclerosis had begun.
After the tragic death of husband James Conrad in an auto accident in early 1973, she found comfort in spending time with
her grandchildren and nephews, along with traveling the world. She was quite active in the outdoors, enjoying downhill skiing
and especially camping. After retirement, she spent summers at her lake home in northern Minnesota, hosting a steady
stream of family and friends and creating wonderful memories for all.
Shirley was preceded in death by her father William, mother Lillie, sisters Verna Mae and Arlene, son Bob, both husbands,
and her longtime Minnesota companion Clay Fulton.
She is survived by four grandchildren, Eric Lawler (Sophie), Keith Lawler (Martha), Jaime Flood (Greg), and Erin Hahn
(Peter), along with 10 great-grandchildren. Also surviving are her nephews Bill Fox (Pam), Barry Fox (Maureen), Gary Fox
(Leann), Jerry Fox (Caryn), and Rick Fox (Sharon), along with many great-nephews and great-nieces.
A visitation will be held at 9:30 am on Saturday August 25th immediately followed by a memorial service at 10:30 at the
Plattville Lutheran Church, 5475 Bell Rd. Minooka, IL. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the National Multiple
Fruland Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements. For more information, call the funeral home at 815-942-0700.