Shirley Chenchar Obituary

Shirley M. Chenchar
Shirley M. Chenchar
Shirley M. Chenchar

May 15, 1932 - July 8, 2014
Born in Farmer, SD
Resided in Des Moines, IA
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Shirley Mae (Mentele) Chenchar, 82, from Des Moines, IA passed away Tuesday, July 8, 2014. Memorial services will be at St. Augustin Church in Des Moines, 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 23 and St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Clear Lake, 11 a.m. Tuesday, July 22.

Shirley was born in Farmer, SD on May 15, 1932, the daughter of Albert Anton Mentele and Mary Frances (Kessler) Mentele. She spent the majority of her childhood in Mitchell, SD where she graduated from Notre Dame Academy High School. After high school she went to St. Mary's College in Omaha, NE, where she met John. On August 22, 1953 Shirley married John Michael Chenchar at St. John's Catholic Church in Omaha. They had five children, Mike, Paula, Kacey, Andy and Brenda.

In Memoriam

Shirley Chenchar was a business woman, a community volunteer, a mother, a grandmother and probably most importantly a friend to all. As condolences have been flooding through to her children, it has never been more evident how loved and respected Shirley was.

Shirley often expressed that she felt her life was divided into many segments. Her early childhood was difficult, as she lost her father early in life and the family struggled to make ends meet. As the oldest daughter in her family, Shirley became a rock for her mother to lean on and developed a sense of responsibility and determination.

Her next segment was St. Mary's College in Omaha where she met her husband John Chenchar.

Then Shirley became a wife, a homemaker and a mother. As with everything Shirley did with her life, she embarked upon these responsibilities with determination, passion and love. She worked hard to raise her family and was always there for her children when they needed her. Breakfast was always on the table before school and dinner on the table a 6 o'clock.

Shirley had much pride in keeping a tidy house, however her creativity in decorating was her true passion. She was incredibly thoughtful about everything having a certain place in her house, yet she was constantly trying to improve upon each arrangement. Her house was always decorated for each season, which she had much pride in. Her children valued her talent in decorating so much that none of their houses were ever complete until Shirley gave a final suggestion or brought a nice house warming gift for them.

One of the most positive characteristics of Shirley as a mother was her encouragement to her children to develop their own sense of creativity, no matter what talent each child had. Yes, having a higher education was important, however, Shirley always instilled the value of creative expression, whether it was through the arts, cooking, writing, decorating, etc. The proudest moments of her life were when she saw one of her children succeed in their endeavors.

While being a homemaker, Shirley's other creative outlet was her love for arts and crafts. She opened her first business called The Cellar Door in the basement of her house on Harwood Drive. She made pinecone wreaths, People Watchers and Christmas ornaments.

This love for crafts eventually led her to the next segment of her life, becoming a successful and respected business woman. In 1985, she opened The Heart of Iowa Market Place in Valley Junction, West Des Moines, which represented Iowa food producers, artists, crafters, gift baskets, etc. She was very proud to have a unique Iowa gift shop that drew famous people in: presidents, actors, foreign visitors, etc.

Shirley loved interacting with all her customers. She had a unique knack for finding a common interest among total strangers through trading stories with them about life experiences. These interactions would almost always lead into developing new friendships.

She was also becoming very active as a community volunteer: She served six years on the board of the Chamber of Commerce, active in Rotary, St. Augustin Church and Rosary Society, Dowling Auxiliary Guild, Economic Development Corporation, Convention and Visitors Bureau, Executive Women International, Metro Women's Club, Valley Junction Business Association, PEO, and much, much more.

In the 22 years before she retired in 2002, Shirley traveled the globe; with adventures to China, Japan, Philippines, Alaska, Cayman Islands, sailing in the Mediterranean to Nice, Sicilia, Malta, Corsica, Rome and Barcelona.

After selling her business and with her itch to travel the world satisfied, she lived in Clear Lake from 2002 to 2011, Shirley once again sharing her creativity and gift basket making skills as a volunteer at Opportunity Village.

However, of all her accomplishments, Shirley was most proud of her five children and being a grandmother to her seven grandsons. In 2003, she finally moved back to Des Moines to continue her volunteer work and socializing with dear friends.

Shirley Chenchar will always be known for her talent, creativity, strong work ethic, and being a wonderful, caring friend, mother and grandmother.

Shirley is survived by her five children, Mike Chenchar (Debbie) of Des Moines and their sons, Aaron, Matt and Jake; Paula Hanus (Ken) of Clear Lake, IA and their sons, Trevor, Riley and AJ; Kacey Dondero (David) of Virginia Beach, VA; Andy Chenchar (Melissa) of Des Moines and their son, Max; and Brenda Chenchar of Des Moines; brother, Thomas Mentele (Sandy) of Sioux Falls, SD and sister, Joanne Christofferson (Jerry) of Black Hawk, SD.

Memorials may be made to St. Augustin Church, 545 42nd St., Des Moines, IA 50312 or the Clear Lake Arts Center at 17 South 4th St., Clear Lake, IA 50428.





St. Patrick's Catholic Church
1001 9th Ave S
Clear Lake, IA US
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
11:00 AM
St. Augustin Catholic Church
545 42nd Street
Des Moines, IA US 50312
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
10:00 AM