Our beloved mother, Shirley Cline, age 94, of Appleton, peacefully passed away on Wednesday, August 9, 2023. Shirley was born in Green Bay, WI on July 5, 1929 to the late Joseph and Luella (Couillard) Rebman. She grew up in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula until her family moved to Milwaukee during the Great Depression. She graduated from Milwaukee’s West Division High School. It was there that she first met her husband, the late Richard S. Cline, M.D, known to his friends as Dick. Although they were not high school sweethearts, they crossed paths after graduation at a Lake Geneva summer dance and were married on June 13, 1953. Shirley was teased by her friends for being an “Old Maid” bride at 25, as she had waited for Dick’s medical school graduation.
Shirley and Dick spent 61 years together and raised seven children. The center of her life was family. She was a loving, tolerant, and tireless mother. The family stayed in the Midwest, starting out in Milwaukee, moving to the Detroit area, and finally back to Wisconsin in 1968, where Appleton became their home.
Shirley was a social butterfly. She loved people. She loved to chat. She had a beautiful smile. Shirley made friends everywhere she went. Throughout her life she maintained a strong bond with her group of high school girlfriends, enjoying annual get-togethers. Her Appleton friends were many and true. Many neighborhood kids considered her a second mom. Her special interests included: book club, Newcomers Club, gourmet club, ceramics, ladies luncheons, and volunteering her time for the Appleton Memorial Hospital Auxiliary and at Mosquito Hill Nature Center. Quiet times were spent reading, perusing recipes, immersed in a crossword puzzle, or playing the piano.
Shirley loved cooking, which was a good thing, as she had a lot of people to cook for. She was most famous for her soups. When her children were at home, she prepared a sit-down dinner every night, complete with dessert. Dinner at 5:30 - not a minute later. Family gatherings, birthday and holiday celebrations were always full of good food, thoughtful gifts, lively conversation, and laughter. Shirley showed her love in the ways she cared for and celebrated her family.
For many years, the cottage was a second home to Shirley and Dick. Their first cottage was located on West Lake, part of the Spread Eagle Chain of Lakes, and the second on Surprise Lake in Townsend. This is where all the family gathered. Shirley and Dick’s fifteen grandchildren grew up together there. The cottage was “Camp Grandma and Grandpa”, always stocked with an endless supply of sparklers, everything needed for S’mores, and of course, Mr. Freeze pops. Their cottage was the perfect summer setting for: long lazy afternoons together, boat rides, tubing, water skiing, fishing, super soaker water fights, outdoor chores, and evening swims across the lake followed by a Finnish sauna.
Skiing was the winter activity that brought the family together. Day trips in Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, vacations in Colorado, international trips to Europe and New Zealand were all enjoyed as long as the snow was good.
Shirley and Dick proudly enjoyed watching their children and grandchildren perform, whether on the stage or in sports. Shirley was an avid Packer and Badger fan, but college basketball was closest to her heart. She and Dick traveled the country attending NCAA March Madness tournament games.
Shirley leaves behind a legacy of love, her greatest joy was her family. She is survived by her children: Barbara (Will) Sparks, Kathleen Cline and her husband Anthony Patinella, Beth Cline (John) Winkler, Carolyn (Dan) Konz, Nancy (Paul) Schneider, Patricia Cline and her wife Patty McKenzie, and Rick Cline. She is further survived by her grandchildren and great grandchildren. Her grandchildren include: Kathleen (Carlos) Zuniga, Anne Sparks and her husband Christian Paz, Bridget Sparks and her husband Zak Macejkovic, Gage (Amy) Patinella, Madeline (Brian) Burke, Jackson (Christine Maybee) Patinella, Jeff (Katie) Winkler, Patrick (Mandy) Winkler, Brittany (Patrick) Fitzgerald, David (Jessica Cundiff) Crewe, Anna Crewe, Ryan Konz, Kayla Konz, Leslie Wilmet (Rick) Nelson, Cara Atkinson, Gabriella Schneider, Colleen Cline, and Kelly Cline. Her great grandchildren include: Mia, Camila, Giovanni, Julieta, Santiago, Louise, Ada, Anthony, Lucy, James, Saylor, Abby, Anna, Kiana, Luciano, and Philip. Shirley is preceded in death by her husband, both of her parents, her sister, and nephew.
The family is thankful for the kind care given to Shirley by the staff of ThedaCare Hospice, Brewster Village, and Home Instead. A special thanks to Julie, R.N. from Valley VNA, Penny from Home Instead, and Shanice, R.N. from ThedaCare Hospice.
Please join the Cline family for desserts and coffee at Victoria’s in downtown Appleton, 503 W College Ave, Saturday, October 7 between 3:30 and 5:30 PM to celebrate Shirley’s long and happy life.