Shirley Tonjes, 85, passed away Wednesday, April 14, 2021, at her Springfield, IL home with family at her side.
Born July 21, 1935 in Springfield to John A. and Melba (Engel) Frederick, Shirley was a 1953 graduate of Springfield High School. She and her young family moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1962, where she lived for 50 years, returning to and living in Springfield from 2013 until her passing.
Shirley worked for more than twenty years at New Mexico Blue Cross Blue Shield. She began as a claims processor in 1968, and was promoted four times, becoming the company's first woman to serve as Vice President of Claims, a position she held for ten years prior to retirement. She loved the 80+ employees she supervised. Selfless and kind, Shirley was a dedicated volunteer her entire life. She was president of the auxiliary supporting Mile High Little League, where she cheered on her sons' teams during several hundred baseball games throughout the 1960s.
Among her many contributions following retirement, she served as a Presbyterian Healthcare Auxiliary volunteer for 19 years, including two years as its president. In 2020, she filled 1,000 plastic eggs with goodies for the Village of Southern View community Easter Egg Hunt. Also during the COVID pandemic, she regularly baked cookies for Southern View's police and public works departments, as well as the
U.S. Post Office mail carrier. She kept the neighbors nourished with her world-
famous zucchini bread.
Shirley always had a warm smile, an easy laugh and was a magnet to anyone in need of a hug. Her family has never known anyone who had more friends. Loving, creative, fun and funny, she was fiercely loyal, and will be enormously missed by her family and friends. She enjoyed traveling and visited 12 countries.
Through the years, she also enjoyed ceramics, crafts, reading, and playing games with her children, grandchildren and
new great-granddaughter. She played "Mexican Train" with her sisters, and celebrated frequent victories over her sons in the family favorite card game called "O Hell!".
She is survived by her oldest son, Charles "Rick" (wife, Marilyn) Tonjes of Casa Grande, AZ, and his children, Cody Tonjes, Eric Tonjes, and Kristin (husband, Chris) Neil (and great-grandchild Charlie Ann); Her middle son, Gary (wife, Leann) Tonjes of Ruidoso, NM, and their children, Jerra (husband, Scott) Tonjes-Holden (and great granddaughter
Nova); Jessica Tonjes and Brandt Tonjes; Her youngest son, Stephen (wife, Laura) Tonjes of Mansfield, TX, and their children, Julia Tonjes and Luken Tonjes; step-daughters Janet McCanna of Santa Fe, NM and Ellen Jones of Riverton, WY (and step-
grandson Chris Jones); siblings Janet, Suellen, and Jeri Frederick, all of Springfield; Nieces Lisa Hillman and Emma Frederick, and many cousins.
Cremation will be provided by Butler Cremation Tribute Center prior to ceremonies. The Memorial Ceremony will be held at 10:00 a.m. (Mountain) on Friday, April 23, 2021 at Butler Funeral Home-
Springfield, 900 S. Sixth St., Springfield. For those wishing to view the ceremony livestream, you may do so by visiting https://client.tribucast.com/tcid/27581906
. Please visit butlerfuneralhomes.com
to offer your condolences and stories.
Memorial contributions may be made to Meals on Wheels of Albuquerque,
P.O. Box 92614, ABQ 87109, or https://mow-nm.org/shirleytonjes/
Published by Albuquerque Journal from Apr. 18 to Apr. 19, 2021.