Shirley was born in her home in Brayton, the oldest of 3 children. Her father drove a tank wagon, and her mother was a homemaker, who later taught in a country school. Shirley played basketball. She took 11 years of piano lessons, and plays piano and organ. Following graduation she went to work for Atlantic Light and Water Co. She married Dennis Petersen in 1956. After moving to Anita, she was employed at the Atlantic hospital as a ward clerk and later a bookkeeper at the Farmers Coop; was baptized and confirmed at the Oakhill Lutheran Church west of Brayton. She graduated from Exira HS. in 1955, where she participated in music, chorus, band, 4-H, football cheerleader, and as a guard in 6 player basketball in Anita. Dennis died in 1981.
Royal was born in the Atlantic Hospital. He has one sister, Miriam Kapfer who is a member of Zion. He is a lifelong member of Zion and has always lived on the family farm, which is a Century Farm, 2 miles east and 1 mile north of Griswold. He also attended country school and then graduated from Griswold. After attending Valparaiso for a year, he graduated from Iowa State with a BS in Agriculture. He then went to the Army for 2 years, serving in Korea. In 1957 he began farming. He was married to Sondra Hansen, who died in 1981. He retired from full-time farming in 1998.
Shirley played the organ for Royal’s first marriage. Twenty five years later their paths crossed again. Following Sondra’s death, she wrote him a sympathy card. From there, they say, the Lord took over. They were married at Zion on April 22, 1983. Shirley’s children include Mike in Texas, a pilot; Steve, in Missouri, who works for an international inventory co., Julie in Cedar Rapids, who works as a Human Resource specialist at the VA hospital in Iowa City and Jane in Missouri, who works with Ability First, a special needs program for all ages. Royal’s children include John, who died last June; Brent, farming on the home place and Mary Beth, a nurse at Drake University. They have 17 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren, and another one on the way.
Royal has been very active at Zion over the years, including holding most all of the church offices and Elder several times. Shirley has occasionally played for the services at Zion. They both attend the Sunday evening Bible Class. Shirley is on the Board of the Cass County Museum in Griswold. She also belongs to the Tuesday Music Club, Legion Auxillary ,and Hospital Auxillary. Shirley likes to cross stitch and work on the computer, including some genealogy. Royal, having lived here all his life, has been involved with several organizations, including Farm Bureau, School Board, Township Trustee, Fair Board, Lions Club, American Legion and SW Iowa Endowment. His main interest over the years has been restoring Allis Chalmers tractors. He has 40 of them in a museum in Griswold and is happy to give tours. His additional interests include helping with the farm work and woodworking, where he specializes in making bowls. At one time he earned a pilot’s license and did some flying.
They have enjoyed extensive traveling, including a motor home trip to Alaska, and several cruises. They also attended the Passion play in Oberammergau, Germany, at which time they did a Luther tour. This summer they will travel to Nova Scotia. I, too, think God had a hand in bringing them together. God’s blessing to them in their future lives together.