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Shirley Jeane Zuelke

Shirley Jeane Zuelke was born on November 30, 1953, in Long Beach, California. She was the third child of Jack and Audrey (Kinchloe) Zuelke. The family returned to their Montana roots in early 1954, where they purchased a ranch on the lower Madison Road in Three Forks.

Shirley developed a deep love of animals and spent many happy hours bottle feeding calves and lambs, working the cattle, riding her cranky Shetland pony Porky, and playing with her dog Bubbalooey.

She graduated from Three Forks High School in 1973. After graduation, she stayed at the ranch where she ran a small herd of Angus cows. She had many adventures in the kitchen and even won a prize at the county fair for her hamburger casserole.

In 1978, her daughter Bridget was born. Bridget was the greatest joy in Shirley's life.

They moved to Washington in 1987, where they eventually purchased a motorhome jokingly dubbed the Hobo-a-Gogo, and toured much of the West with a menagerie of pets by their side. They returned to the Gallatin Valley in 2002.

Shirley was a devout Christian who studied the Bible throughout her adult life. She took great comfort in the Lord. On April 22, 2024, Shirley passed away at her sister's home in Willow Creek after a diagnosis of kidney failure. On the day of her passing, her eyes and arms were continually raised to the heavens, where her heavenly Father and loved ones awaited to greet her.

She was preceded in death by her father and mother and survived by her daughter, Bridget, her siblings Art, Patricia, and John, her nephew Josh, and nieces Liberty (Kevin Dorrington), Shannon (Brett) Baker, and Kellye (Brock) Ballweber as well as numerous great-nephews and great-nieces. A memorial service will be held this summer on the family ranch, where there is sure to be a bucket or two of Kentucky Fried Chicken, Shirley's absolute favorite food.

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