Shirley Nelson Obituary | Shirley Ann Nelson, 82, of Albert Lea, Minnesota, died on March 27, 2022, at The Meadows of St. John’s Nursing Home. Rev. Don Malinsky will preside over a Graveside Service at Hillcrest Cemetery on Thursday, March 31 at 9:30 a.m.
Shirley Schultz was born on May 27, 1939 in Owatonna, Minnesota to Ludwig and Marie (Pump) Schultz. She was just six years old when her family relocated to Albert Lea.
Shirley attended Albert Lea High School and married Richard Nelson, who was also from Albert Lea. Marjean, Kristine, Dean, and Jeanie were born from this partnership, as were 10 grandchildren and fifteen great grandkids.
Shirley worked in a variety of jobs both here and in Rochester, Minnesota. She was constantly involved in her churches and religion. Shirley liked to sew, read, play cards, bowl, and be a member of the Red Hats Society.
Shirley was predeceased by her husband, as well as other brothers and sisters. Her daughters and one brother survive her. She will be greatly missed!
“I apologise for causing everyone so much anguish, but I am in Hell and must take Ron with me,” Shirley Nelson said in a letter to loved ones before attempting to murder her estranged husband.
Shirley’s first marriage was annulled because she was unable to conceive. She had two stepchildren from her second marriage, to whom she stayed close throughout her life.
That second marriage ended in divorce, but another romance began when she met Ronald Allen Nelson, a 24-year-old CPA.
Shirley and Ron fell in love despite their 12-year age difference and married in 1967.”She never looked her age.” That delighted her. No one could guess her age, which Ron appreciated. “She was always quite well-dressed, and he wanted to show it off,” Vandenheuvel explained.
Ron began working for Charles M. Schulz, the cartoonist and author of the “Peanuts” comic strip, shortly after his marriage. The couple relocated to Santa Rosa, California, where Schulz worked.
Ron supervised million-dollar marketing campaigns and licence arrangements as Schulz’s business manager. Because of his large salary, the Nelsons could afford extravagant vacations and fancy dinner parties, as well as living at a country club and golf resort.
The Nelsons celebrated their 28th wedding anniversary in May 1995. However, on July 5, 1995, less than two months later, Santa Rosa police got a 911 call alleging a shooting at 1 Snoopy Place, the location of Schulz’s production headquarters.
Officers arrived on the scene and discovered Ronald Nelson, 53, face down on the pavement. He’d been shot in the back twice. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, they discovered Shirley Nelson, 65, inside the building with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest.
The.357 revolver used in the shooting was discovered nearby. The Nelsons were escorted to the hospital, where officers inquired about what had occurred.
“She said, ‘I shot him.’” I killed my husband. Is a bitch’s son dead?’” Amanda Pehlke, a Santa Rosa police officer, told “Snapped.” “She was upset and outraged, and she kept saying, ‘Did I kill him?’” ‘I hope he’s gone.’”
Both Ron and Shirley Nelson would have surgery to treat their severe gunshot wounds. Doctors were unsure whether either would live.
She left Springfield in 1958 to travel with The Philip Morris Country Music Show, which was based in Nashville, Tennessee, and where she met the show’s manager and emcee, Hiram “Biff” Collie, a country music disc jockey on KFOX-AM in Long Beach, California.
They married, and she travelled to Hollywood, where she appeared on KABC-Country TV’s America. Both were also regulars on KTTV-Town TV’s Hall Party, and in 1960, Collie appeared on NBC-You TV’s Bet Your Life.
Collie began releasing singles on the Liberty Records label in 1960, with Floyd Tillman, Bob Wills & The Texas Playboys, and Clyde Beavers. She made her chart debut in 1961 with Harlan Howard’s “Dime a Dozen,” which reached No. 25 on the Billboard country chart.
That same year, her duet with Warren Smith, “Why Baby Why,” peaked at No. 23. Soon after, record producer Joe Allison approached her and asked her to sing harmony with Willie Nelson, with whom previous singers had been unable to sing harmony owing to his manner.
“Willingly,” their 1962 duet, reached No. 10 and was his first chart hit, but it failed to establish him as a star. Their marriage fell apart after she realised Nelson had fathered a daughter with Connie Koepke, who would become his third wife, and they divorced in 1971.
In the years afterwards, she has continued to play and yodel with Nelson when he tours in Missouri, and the two have cooperated on her 2009 book, Memoir: Scrapbooks in My Mind: Featuring Shirley and Willie Nelson and Many Others.
Nelson worked with the mentally impaired for the state of Missouri from 1987 to 1989. She continued to sing in Branson, Missouri, and was honoured by KMBZ with a lifetime achievement award in 1996.
Eileen Christensen, the secretary, was in her early 40s, while Ron was 53. Schulz threatened to fire the pair if they did not terminate their connection, fearing a sexual harassment lawsuit.
Shirley, on the other hand, had discovered the romance a month before the shooting. Her sense of self-worth was dependent on being the vibrant and gorgeous wife of an entertainment business executive, so Ron cheating on her with a younger woman was a blow to her ego.
Friends reported the Nelsons’ marriage had been strained since Shirley suffered a stroke in 1991. Though she suffered no long-term bodily consequences, it served as a striking reminder of their age disparity.
Shirley slaved over her looks in an attempt to impress her husband, realising that something had changed in her marriage.
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