Cover photo for Shirley M. Uthke's Obituary
Shirley M. Uthke Profile Photo

Shirley M. Uthke

June 25, 1932 — January 12, 2023

Shirley M. Uthke

Shirley M. Uthke, 90 of Devils Lake ND passed away on Thursday, January 12, 2023 at CHI, St. Alexius Health, Devils Lake Hospital. 

Visitation will be held at the Gilbertson Funeral Home, Devils Lake on Friday, January 20, 2022 from 4:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. and on Saturday at the church one hour prior to the funeral Mass. 

Mass of Christian Burial will be on Saturday, January 21, 2023 at 10:30 a.m. at St. Joseph Catholic Church, Devils Lake with the Very Reverend C.F. Wilhelm celebrating the Mass. Burial will be in St. Joseph's Catholic Cemetery. 

Shirley Magdalene (Eresman ) Uthke was born in Devils Lake, ND on June 25, 1932 to Leo and Margaret (Ziegler) Eresman.  She was raised in Devils Lake along with her sister Colleen.  The daughter of an Engineer on the Great Northern Railroad she had stories of riding on the train with her father when she was young and taking train trips with her family to visit relatives in Minneapolis and Washington state.  She and Colleen were blessed to have many aunts, uncles and cousins, and she had many fond recollections of growing up with her close extended family. She often accompanied her father fishing, and liked riding in the boat with him during their family vacations to Minnesota. She began helping her mother with cooking for the family at a young age and became a wonderful cook and baker.   She attended St. Mary’s Academy, graduating from High School in 1950.  She attended a year of college in Devils Lake and then moved on to Nurses training in Valley City, ND.  At that time there were fewer choices for women entering the workforce and she chose nursing because she liked the cape that went with the Registered Nurse’s uniform!  It became her lifelong vocation and she was not only a skilled nurse but a very caring one.  The classmates she met while attending nurses training became very close friends and they formed bonds that would last the rest of their lives. She was a life-long member of St. Joseph’s Catholic church and a member of Catholic Daughters.

Shirley met Wendall (Wendy) Uthke while caring for him when he was a patient in the hospital and they were married September 3, 1954 at St. Joseph Catholic Church. For a short time they lived in Fargo where she worked at St John’s Hospital and Wendy worked at the Brownie Bakery . Then they moved to Hillsboro and leased the Hillsboro Bakery, which she helped Wendy run.  He did the baking and she made big pots of coffee and served the bakery customers.  In 1956, they moved to Devils Lake and began to raise their family.  Together they owned and operated Carlson’s Bakery.  It was very much a family business and they employed Wendy’s mother Sophia, his father Harry and sister Vera during those years.  To help out during one holiday season Shirley worked along with Harry baking gingerbread men to be sold along with the other goodies Wendy baked.  She rolled and cut the dough and Harry ran the oven- making hundreds of gingerbread men between them.  Shirley did the window displays for the bakery.  She had an eye for design and created beautifully  themed displays for all seasons.  Her children loved to help her with this, working in the big windows facing the streets –watching passersby and marveling at the completed displays.  She used that talent in how she decorated her home, filling it with antiques and her special touch. She enjoyed flowers and plants and her talents flowed from inside her home into her yard and outdoor spaces.   She hosted the weddings of two of her daughters, at the family farm. She cooked, decorated and helped in all the planning for those events.  During the years they spent in the country her deck was the location of many family gatherings and celebrations, sharing her good food and the lovely landscape.  Her home was a welcoming and cozy place to be whether that was the house she raised her children in, the house on the farm she and Wendy spent their retirement years in, or the assisted living apartment she had at the last.  Where she was, home was for her family.  She loved Christmas and created a winter wonderland of magic and twinkling lights for her children, grand-children and great grand -children.   Her cooking and baking will never be forgotten.  There were always so many wonderful treats, mountains of cookies and tins overflowing with divinity and pralines, fudge and lace cookies.   She instilled the love of reading in her children and over the years acquired so many books as to have created her own library of shelves and shelves of them.  She was a talented seamstress and sewed clothing for herself and her children when they were small, and later on Bridesmaids dresses, formalwear, and Halloween costumes.  She loved all kinds of music, especially Elvis!  She would sometimes sing loudly as she worked in the kitchen, which always made her family smile.  While making a wonderful home for her family and running the bakery with her husband, Shirley continued her full-time career as a Registered Nurse and worked many years at Mercy Hospital in the OB department, assisting with deliveries and taking care of babies and new mothers.   She had a motherly way with her patients and was always a comfort at their sides.  Along with working in the OB department, she also taught Childbirth classes for several years. She retired from nursing at age 70.

After retiring from nursing she started a second career as a part-time library assistant at the Devils Lake Carnegie Library.  She loved books, and enjoyed her co-workers and the library patrons.  She always referred to this job as her “fun” job, retiring at the age of 88.

 Shirley was an optimist, always youthful in her outlook, interested in learning new things throughout her life, and setting a good example of independence and confidence for her children.  She was a source of encouragement and never-ending support for her family.  She will be so very missed.


Loving family include sister –Colleen Eresman, Langdon, daughters Celeste M. (Robert) Barfield, Minot, Felise M. (James) Baer, Fergus Falls, MN, Allison S. (Kenneth) Scaletta, St. Paul, MN and Amy L. (Brent) Lindahl, Duluth, MN; grandchildren Josie Uthke (Michael Jordan ) Manvel, ND; Jemma Barfield(Jordan Engelhardt), Tampa FL; Wendy Scaletta, Sophia Scaletta and Kaia Scaletta, St. Paul; Jace Fink and Marti E. Lindahl, Duluth; great grandchildren Sam Faul, Mikey Jordan, Leslee Gustafson, Maverik Gustafson, Dev’Ron Barfield and Olive Gustafson; many nieces, nephews and their families.


She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband Wendall, son Martin J. Uthke;  daughter Viola D. Uthke; sisters –in-law Vera Anderson and Viola Doris “Dolly” Lambert; daughter-in-law Birgitta E. Blum Uthke; in-laws Harry and Sophia Uthke , great grand daughter June Engelhardt,  great grandson Charlie Avery Jordan.

Honorary Casket Bearers for Shirley will be Robert Barfield, James Baer, Kenneth Scaletta , Brent Lindahl and Michael Jordan.

Reading Scripture- Bob Barfield.

Gift Bearers: Dev’Ron Barfield, Leslee Gustafson, Olive Gustafson






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Past Services

Mass of Christian Burial

Saturday, January 21, 2023

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