MISSOULA — Shirley Ann (Sinkola) Nordahl, 82, of Missoula, passed away Thursday, March 7, 2019, at the Village Health Care Center. She was born Sept. 29, 1936, in Morse Township, Minnesota, the daughter to the late Eino and Eleanor A. (Rikola) Sinkola.
Shirley was raised in Deer River, Minnesota, and was very popular in high school. She was selected cheer leader in her freshman year and cheered with that group until she graduated. She also joined every musical group and played clarinet in the school band. She graduated as Valedictorian of her class in 1954.
After high school, Shirley and six girlfriends went to Minneapolis to enroll in a nine month crash course at the Minnesota School of Business. Shortly after she finished that course, she was hired by the Grand Rapids Hospital as a receptionist where she worked for several years. In the meantime, she was engaged to Bob Nordahl, her high school sweetheart, who proposed to her prior to enlisting in the Army.
Bob was initially stationed in Augsburg, Germany, but decided to come home so they could get married. They got married at the Redeemer Lutheran Church in Deer River on Jan. 14, 1956, and both flew back to Germany after a short honeymoon. Their oldest son JayMe was born in Augsburg on Nov. 22, 1957, and they stayed in Germany until 1958 when they moved to Missoula.
Shirley worked in Missoula initially for the smoke jumpers and then for the U.S. Forest Service before moving to Stevensville in 1970. She worked for the U.S. Postal Service as a rural mail carrier in Stevensville and Florence until retirement.
She was a member of Our Savior Lutheran Church in Stevensville. She maintained a home garden and loved tending her flower beds. She also loved to sew, go to garage sales and cook. She was a wonderful baker, her specialty was wedding cakes and everyone was amazed at what she could do.
When not busy at work or at home, Shirley enjoyed singing and traveling with the Missoula and Bitterroot Sweet Adelines for many years. They won many awards. She also loved the outdoors and would hike local trails or camp with family and friends at locations across western Montana. Shirley and Bob also owned their own private airplane for several years which allowed Shirley to obtain a private pilot’s license with an instrument rating.
Shirley was very proud of her Finn hertiage and could speak Finnish. She loved to annually promote St. Urho’s Day on March 16, the day Saint Urho chased grasshoppers out of Finland with his loud voice thus saving their grape crops. In 2001, she traveled to Finland with her two sisters, Dianne and Sandra, to visit relatives still living there.
Shirley is preceded in death by her husband Bob, her parents, her youngest son Paul and one sister Dianne Riffle. She is survived by sons JayMe Nordahl of Stevensville and Todd (Karen) Nordahl of Wilsonville, Oregon; sister Sandra (Roy) Maki of Deer River; brothers Michael (Beth) Sinkola and Jim Sinkola also of Deer River; brother Gary (Kathy) Sinkola of Fairbanks, Alaska; three granddaughters; three grandsons; and one great-granddaughter.
She will be missed by many.
Memorial services will be held Saturday, March 16, 2019, starting at 11 a.m. at the Florence-Carlton Community Church in Florence with Pastor Sam Fernandez officiating. A reception will follow the services in the church’s fellowship hall. Private family interment will take place later this fall in Deer River.
The Whitesitt Funeral Home in Stevensville is in charge of cremation. Condolences and memories may be shared with the family at whitesittfuneralhome.com.