Shirley Ann Rhynas, 91, of Ottumwa, passed away peacefully at 1:45 p.m. December 2, 2019 at Hospice House in Ottumwa.
Shirley was born April 8, 1928, on Easter Sunday in Ottumwa, Iowa, to Frederick John Kreutzbender, Jr. and Bertha Mae Cavanaugh Kreutzbender. She married Robert Richard Rhynas December 26, 1950 at the East End Presbyterian Church. He preceded her in death on July 5, 2014.
Shirley lived most of her life in her hometown of Ottumwa, Iowa. As a girl, Shirley was a huge movie fan. She wrote to her favorite movie stars and received back a treasured collection of autographed pictures from Clark Gable, Rita Hayworth, Shirley Temple, Joan Crawford, George Montgomery, Gene Autry and others. Tyrone Power and Katherine Hepburn were her favorite stars. Shirley was a 1946 graduate of Ottumwa High School. Before her marriage, she worked as a teletype operator for the Burlington Railroad. She enjoyed the opportunity to work in St. Louis and Chicago and explore new places. She and her lifelong friend Ramona Barton Mikesh flew short flights in a Piper Cub plane that Ramona piloted in the 1940's. Shirley always had a side of her that loved adventure.
She met her husband Bob as part of a coed bowling league, where she was the secretary. She always recounted that many marriages resulted from that league. She and Bob lived in Georgia for a few years as Bob served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps during the Korean War.
After her marriage, Shirley's love of family and community always shaped her life. Her children received their greatest gift from her--a loving, supportive environment for growing up. When her daughter Kathy was young, Shirley read books to her for hours. Favorite books became dog eared and much loved, as mother and daughter spent this precious time together. Kathy carried this love of reading with her for a lifetime and became a librarian.
When grandchildren arrived, she was the greatest grandma ever.
Her husband Bob opened Rhynas Jewelry on Church Street in Ottumwa in 1958. As her children matured and the business became more established, Shirley worked in the business alongside Bob and sons David and Kenneth, and her daughter-in-law Judy. With her husband Bob, she was active in the South Ottumwa Boosters. Shirley was always a friendly face of the business to many customers who counted on her to chat and assist them as they selected that perfect jewelry gift or meaningful memento for a loved one. Many of them returned regularly for her help and became friends. She always enjoyed people.
Shirley and Bob enjoyed traveling, and favorite trips took her to Bermuda where she loved riding the scooters, Tucson, Cape Cod, and to Maui with her grandchildren.
Surviving are her three children, Kathy (Sal) Bognanni of Eden Prairie, MN, David (Judy) Rhynas and Kenneth Rhynas both of Ottumwa; four grandchildren, Peter (Junita) Bognanni of St. Paul, MN, Mark Bognanni of Cleveland, Ohio, James (Shannon) Rhynas of Elk Grove, CA, Amanda (Jeremy) of Raleigh, NC; and six great grandchildren, Kaylie Rhynas, Alexander Rhynas, and Kira Rhynas of Elk Grove, CA, Roman Bognanni and Nico Bognanni of St. Paul MN, and Brynn Swafford of Raleigh, NC.
Preceding her in death was her husband of 63 years, Robert Rhynas; her parents; an infant sister, Phyllis Kreutzbender and a brother, Jack Kreutzbender.
Funeral services will be 10 a.m. Saturday at Reece Funeral Home with Reverend Chris Childs officiating. Burial will be in Ottumwa Cemetery.
Visitation will begin at 10 a.m. Friday at Reece Funeral Home with the family present from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday.
The family requests that memorials be made to Grace Fellowship, a congregation of the United Methodist Church, or to the City of Ottumwa for purchase of a memorial park Bench in Shirley's memory.
Published on December 3, 2019