Winifred Shields (1917 - 2013)

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Winifred J. Shields

May 10, 1917

February 18, 2013

Winifred J. Shields, 95, made a peaceful transition from this life to memory on Monday, February 18, 2013, at Magnolia Care House, Reno, Nevada.

Winifred was born May 10, 1917, in Roger Mills County, Indian Territory of Oklahoma, to William Joshua James and Della Foreman James, in a 'sod' house.

"Sod House or Dugout? I saw, (says one cousin), a picture of what was supposed to be Grandma setting in front of it, and it was a dugout in a dirt bank with a wooden front portion, to the best of my memory. We need to find that picture someday, seems like Grandpa always referred to this period as living down on the Red River.  Indian Territory is right, which brings up a point: Grandma's past family history has always been a deep secret, except for several things that she talked about, first that her father was part of the Salvation Army, second in later life that she was part Indian. It could be quite possible that she was part Cherokee, needs genealogy research."

Shortly thereafter, the family moved to Little Rock, Arkansas, finally settling in Parsons, Kansas, where they remained throughout the 'worst hard times' of the Dustbowl, until after World War II. Winifred met and married her first husband, John Reuben Albertson. They had two sons, James Rueben and John David Albertson. The couple later divorced.

After the war, with work declining at the Missouri-Kansas-Texas ( referred to as the 'M-K-T' or 'KATY') R.R. shops in Parsons, the family went to McPhee, Colorado to work in the sawmills, beginning a westward migration. They later moved on to Ogden, Utah.

On their lives while in McPhee, a cousin who was there had this to say:

"How did we get from Parsons to McPhee? Uncle John had a brother that was Foreman of the Saw Mill Operation in McPhee, at the moment I cannot remember his brother's name, but he was the second most powerful man in the Company and is the one that arranged with the owner, for the family to have jobs working for his company. The time spent in McPhee was a very interesting period in my life even though it was only about a year or so.  The McPhee Lumber Company was a huge Logging Saw Mill operation at the time, with its own Narrow Gauge Rail-Road. Grandpa was the Engineer and ran the Railroad. I remember like it was yesterday being in the Steam Engine with Grandpa hauling lumber from McPhee to Dolores, Colorado with the Fireman shoveling coal into the Firebox."

In Utah, Winifred, met and married her second husband, CPO Richard James Shields, USN, of Salt Lake City. They were transferred to Honolulu, Hawaii for about two years. After Shields retired from the Navy, the family moved to the Miami, Florida area, where they lived until 1967, and returned to Utah. The couple had daughter, Cynthia, in 1953. The couple divorced in 1971.

Winifred worked throughout her life, beginning, while in grade school, with the S.S. Kresge store in Parsons, Kansas; to the Miami Herald and Miami Beach Sun newspapers in Florida, where she was a typesetter, and finally retiring as a typesetter from the Newspaper Agency Corporation (NAC), of Salt Lake City, Utah. After her retirement, she moved to Reno, Nevada to be near her daughter, Cynthia, and son-in-law, Ron.

Winifred was predeceased by first husband, James Reuben Albertson, of Parsons, Kansas, and Richard J. Shields, of Salt Lake City; brothers, Elmer Sr. and Richard James; mother and father, Della and William Joshua ('Josh') James (Ogden, Utah).

She is survived by sons, James and John Albertson, both of Ogden, Utah, and Cynthia Shields Ryan of Reno, Nevada.

A quiet gathering of family and close friends will be held at the home of Cynthia and Ronald Ryan, in Reno, Nevada.

As a final note: the Ryan family would like to extend a grateful acknowledgment of the sensitive, loving care and comfort delivered to Winifred during her stay, and her final hours, at Magnolia Care House, of Reno, Nevada. The genuine familial care from Maria Jocelyn (Joy) Zuniga, Maria Chelo Suanes, and Marilyn Calpo, under the direction of owner/administrator, Kaye Runyon was remarkable to say the very least.

Published in Reno Gazette-Journal on Feb. 26, 2013
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