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Nature 19

Shirley Jean (Kniffen) Thayer

May 7, 1930 ~ August 6, 2019 (age 89)

Shirley J. Thayer, age 89 of Austin, Minnesota, passed away Tuesday, August 6, 2019 at St. Mark’s Living in Austin. Shirley Jean Kniffen was born May 7, 1930 in Fillmore County, Minnesota, the daughter of Lloyd and Mabel (Holmen) Kniffen. She attended country school and graduated from Spring Valley High School in 1947. Shirley went on to attend Kahler School of Nursing and graduated in 1951. Upon graduating from nursing school Shirley worked at St. Olaf Hospital. On March 4, 1951, she married Wayne McDaniel in LeRoy, Minnesota. Together the couple had three children. Wayne passed away in 1969. Shirley left nursing for 14 years to assist her husband with his printing business and The Adams Review weekly newspaper. After Wayne’s death, she continued to run the business for one year. Upon the sale of the business Shirley returned to nursing at St. Olaf in surgery. In September of 1972, she started anesthetist school and became a nurse anesthetist until her retirement in 1993. On September 8, 1972, Shirley married Donald Thayer at St. Olaf Lutheran Church in Austin. The couple met while Don was filling in as the director of the Sweet Adelines. Shirley loved to sing, work on crossword puzzles, and was a great gardener. She had a great interest in genealogy and enjoyed scrapbooking, she did the early years of Don’s life to share with her children. Shirley also studied French and Spanish and enjoyed fishing in Canada and wintering in the Padre Islands. She loved traveling with Don to Europe and especially to Paris. Shirley belonged to the Sweet Adelines and was a member of St. Olaf Lutheran Church in Austin. She will be dearly missed by all who knew and loved her.


Survivors include her children, Cynthia (Larry) Weber of Austin, MN, Michelle (James) Lane of Austin, MN, Lee McDaniel of Cannon Falls, MN; 4 grandchildren, Melissa (Jason) Kirby, Brad (Leslie) Weber, Amy Tucker, and Jamie (Ryan) Norton; 11 great grandchildren; brother-in-law, Scott (Joan) Thayer of Minnesota. She was preceded in death by her parents, Lloyd and Mabel Kniffen; husband, Donald Thayer in May of 2019; 1st husband, Wayne McDaniel; and sister-in-law, Gwen.


Funeral services will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, August 9, 2019 at St. Olaf Lutheran Church in Austin. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service at the church on Friday. Interment will be in Oakwood Cemetery, Austin, Minnesota. Memorials can be directed to St. Olaf Lutheran Church in Austin. Services are prearranged and performed with Worlein Funeral Home of Austin. 

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