Shirley A Praska

shirley praska
Shirley A Praska, age 76 of Elma, IA went to meet her Lord on Saturday, September 12, 2015 with her family by her side at Howard County Regional Health Services in Cresco, IA. Shirley Agnes (Vrba) Praska was born October 28, 1938 to Adolph and Mayme (Hayek) Vrba at their home in rural Fort Atkinson. She attended country school near Jackson Junction in Winneshiek County. On August 15, 1956 Shirley met the love of her life at the “Sheep Shed” in Little Turkey at a dance. She married Joseph F. Praska, Jr. on October 1, 1957 at St. John Nepomucene Church in Fort Atkinson, Iowa. After completing his military service Joe and Shirley moved to Joe’s family farm west of Lourdes until they retired in 1996 and then moved to Elma. Shirley was very involved in church and community. She taught CCD, was Den Mother for the Lourdes Cub Scout troop, served on the Howard County Hospital board and Hospital Auxiliary and volunteered as a Pink Lady at the hospital. She was part of the Cresco Legion, but later transferred to the Elma John Frahm Auxiliary Unit 597. She served as the County Legion Auxiliary President for 2 terms. She also held the president’s office and several other officer positions for the John Frahm Post in Elma. Shirley belonged to several clubs: Federate Club, Crochet Club, Birthday Club, and Merry Makers. She also volunteered at Elma Colonial Manor Auxiliary, Memorial Hall remodeling project, HoCA, Advocate for Colonial Manor, Lourdes Rosary Society and ACCW. Joseph and Shirley have 8 children, +Randy, Francis (Kelly Beck)-Elma, Karen (Jeff) Knutson-Saude, Ronald (Suzanne Schmitz)-Elma, Renee (Pat) Burke-Elma, Paula (Dean) Zweibohmer-Alta Vista, Daniel (Judy Kleve)-Bloomington, MN, and Michael (Retha Sievers)-Alta Vista. Shirley’s 20 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren were the love of her life and greatest joy. She will always be remembered for her homemade buns and kolaches, apple pie, her smile and caring ways. Shirley was preceded in death by their son Randy, her parents Adolph and Mayme Vrba, her sister, Aileen Huinker and her brother, Roger Vrba.

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Memories Timeline


  1. Joe and Family–I send you my deepest sympathy on the loss of Shirley.Chatted with her last Tuesday for about 15 minutes and had a couple of good laughs together.I am in total shock.God be with you all during this time of sorrow and loss.

  2. Joe and Family:
    Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this time. May God give you strength and guidance at this difficult time.

    Sheryl Vrba Holien

  3. No heart breaks alone for God is always near. When a prayer is whispered God is always there to hear. When sorrow’s overwhelming, He comforts tenderly. A single tear never falls that he does not hear.(Psalms 65:2) Sorry for your loss.

  4. Francis and Family,

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this sad time. She looks like a wonderful woman with a warm and kind smile. May you find strength in the thoughts and prayers of the people that surround you at this time.

    Jeanne Wood

  5. Karen…………my thoughts and prayers for you and your entire family. May your faith in the Lord and your many memories help you through this difficult time.

  6. My condolences to Joe and all my cousins and their families. I remember many happy visits to the family farm growing up and Shirley’s endearing laugh. I was so saddened to hear about her passing. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  7. My deepest sympathy to you, Joe, and all the Family. My goodness she was such a great loving lady. She will be greatly missed. I know I have sure had some fun times with her and some wicked card games. I so enjoyed having her visit Colorado when traveling with my Folks. There were a lot of laughs and stories told. She was such a good friend to Mom. She will be greatly missed. There are some great card games going on right now. Hugs to all.
    Bev Valvoda

  8. Paula & Family, My Heart Goes out for All of You. I pray that God gives you All the Strength & Peace needed at this time of saddened loss. What a remarkable woman to have raised a Family of 8, yet still had the time & desire to be a part of so many worthy causes, clubs. My Dear Friend Paula is a remarkable & driven woman, so I understand where she inherited these cherished qualities. When I would see Shirley at the Salon or out & about, she was always smiling, joy & the Love Of The Lord beamed from her. She would chat for a few, yet was busy, ready to move on to her next task, remarkable. She was devoted to her Husband & Family. The loss of a parent is very sad & overwhelming. They create you, then when they go, they take a piece of your heart & soul with them. That is comforting to know that her Spirit will live on in Heaven & that She will be watching over her Husband & Family til 1 day she will greet them at the gates of Heaven. Cherish the memories! Keep them Near & Dear to Your Hearts. Share, Mom, Grandma, Great-Grandma, Shirley ‘s life, sweet smile, zest,. Love of Family a part of memories, Holidays & Anniversaries for years & generations. God Bless You All, I Love You My Dear Friend, Paula. Peace & Love To All.

  9. Shirley’s Family, I just watched the video, AMAZING! It brought tears to my eyes. What a Loving & Wonderful Tribute. God Bless You All.


  11. My sincere sympathy to all the family. Your Mom & Dad have meant so much to My Mom & Dad over the years (Clarence & Merle Kobliska) Shirley always made such an effort to get together when I would come in town with my friend Babe. I think my Mom’s favorite place to go was to Joe and Shirleys. They always welcomed them and us with open arms. Everyone that met Shirley has been blessed.
    Carol Kanehl, Milwaukee, WI.

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