Shirley Ann Koenig, 84, of Rhineland, Missouri, passed away on Saturday, July 11, 2020, at her home.
Shirley was born at Jefferson City, Missouri, on September 13, 1935, to Leo and Florence (Danuser) Birk. She was the oldest of 12 children.
Shirley was united in marriage to Joseph W. (Joe) Koenig on October 16, 1954, in St. George Catholic Church, Hermann, Missouri. Joe preceded her in death on March 21, 1993.
Shirley was a farm wife for much of her married life. Early in her work career, she worked as a telephone operator in Hermann before “dial up” service began. Shirley worked at the International Shoe Company until an unfortunate accident damaged one of her hands. She then changed careers and became a Licensed Practical Nurse and worked at Hermann Area District Hospital for many years where she was honored as Employee of the Month. Later she worked for Rhineland Grain Inc. as a bookkeeper until her retirement.
Shirley worked for 20+ years as music director at both St. Martin’s Church at Starkenburg and the Church of the Risen Savior at Rhineland. She served as a Lay Director of the Shrine of Our Lady of Sorrows at Starkenburg with her husband until 1993, and then independently until just recently. Over the years, Shirley gave many, many guided tours of the Shrine. Possibly the highlight of her workings with the church and Shrine was when she was awarded the Benemerenti Medal by Pope Benedict in 2006.
Shirley was passionate in her love of her family, her work with the Shrine of Our Lady of Sorrows and in her love of traveling in the United States and abroad. She was able to travel through 49 states, plus she traveled internationally to Canada, Mexico, Europe and China. Along with most of her other family members she loved music. Another passion was her interest in genealogy and she loved learning more about her family history, some of whom were among the original founders of Hermann.
She was active with the Hermann Victorian Carolers group and was one of the original members when it was formed in 1993. She was a member of the Catholic Knights of America, Church of the Risen Savior Parish and Our Lady of Sorrows Shrine Organization. She served on the original board of directors of the Hermann Community Chorus, the Diocesan Pastoral Council and as a Catholic Youth Coordinator and CCD teacher.
You could say that she came from a long line of kidders and as a result she never knew a stranger- she could carry on a conversation with most all of the people that she came in contact with.
She is survived by her three children-: son, Dr. Gerard (aka Gerry) Koenig DVM, and wife Beth of Tulare, CA; daughter, Cynthia (aka Cindi) Engemann and husband, Gary, of Rhineland, MO; and daughter, Christine (aka Chris) Keown and husband, James, of Columbia, MO; by 6 grandsons- Bart Engemann (Jackie) of Hermann, Nick Engemann (Leah) of Rhineland, Jimmy Keown (Hayley) of Kansas City, MO, Ben Keown (fiancé, Becca Wald-Dickler) of St. Louis, Nathan Keown (fiancé, Brooke Guiot) of Kansas City, MO and Joseph Koenig of Tulare, CA; great grandchildren- Lily and William Engemann, Finley Keown, and Spencer and Emily Head; by 3 sisters- Frances McDonald (Charles) of Ft. Myers, FL, Mary Cohen (Myles) of Stamford, CT and Becky Viola (Henry) of Ballwin; 5 brothers, Rodney (Sandi) of Mehlville, Larry (Debby) of Wentzville, Tom (Valerie) of Flossmoor, IL, David (Pam) of Independence and Kevin Birk (Vickie) of Wildwood: by 3 sisters-in-law- Jean, Gloria and Carolyn Birk, and by many, many nieces, nephews and cousins.
She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, Joe; and by 3 brothers, Dennis, Elmer and Leo Birk, Jr., and a special friend, Elmer Schulte.
Visitation will be Thursday, July 16th from 3:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the chapel at the Shrine of Our Lady of Sorrows, Starkenburg, Missouri. An outdoor funeral will be held on Friday, July 17th at 10:00 a.m. at the Shrine. Burial will be at St. Martin’s Cemetery, Starkenburg, Missouri. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in Shirley's honor may be made for masses or to Our Lady of Sorrows Shrine at Starkenburg, c/o Toedtmann & Grosse Funeral Home.