Shirley L. Daffer - Morris Nilsen Funeral Chapel

July 27, 1926 - December 24, 2022

Shirley L. Daffer

Age 96, of Richfield, passed away peacefully on 12/24/2022 – so fitting for a woman that radiated the Christmas Spirit. On her own, Shirley became a Christian at age 6 and thereafter joyfully and humbly followed Christ for 90 glorious years. Shirley was born to Emil and Verna Kovar on 7/27/26 in Mpls, MN. Voted “Best Personality” in her Roosevelt HS graduating class of 1944, she played timpani in the orchestra, excelled in commercial courses and was President of the Blue Triangle Service Club. Following graduation, while waiting for her HS sweetheart to return from WWII, she was employed by the U of M, at Northrop Hall as an executive secretary where she was able to apply her many exemplary skills for the Concerts and Lectures Dept. In 1947, upon his honorable discharge from the Navy, Shirley and John married and began their life together. They remained in Mpls., for many years, buying their first home and starting their family. Shirley continued her secretarial career part-time in area schools and churches while lovingly raising and supporting her 5 children in their activities. In 1985, upon John’s retirement, Shirley and John established the “Daffer Marionettes”. For 15 years, and over 800 shows, they delighted audiences young and old at venues throughout the Twin Cities. Bravo! Good Show! For many years, Shirley and John sang with the “Richfield Silver Notes Choir” and participated in community theatre. Shirley was a tap dancer in her youth, and then again in her senior years with the “Rhinestone Rockettes”, dancing into her 70s. Some girls are born with “glitter” in their veins. Shirley was a loving and devoted wife, mother and grandmother. Preceded in death by her beloved husband of 73 years, “Johnny”. She is survived by her children whom she cherished: sons, Steve and Tom; daughters, Rene Daffer Malmberg, Marlie Daffer-Nelson (Jeff), Cheryl Rynerson (Brad); 9 grandchildren, 13 great- grandchildren and many nieces, nephews and friends. She was always kind and generous, friendly, thoughtful and bubbly with a cheerful laugh. She also was a woman of deep faith, her studies and knowledge of the Bible respected by many. Shirley lived life with an abundance of joy and was a gift to all who were blessed to have known her.

Memorials to Hope Church, Smile Train or donor’s choice.


  1. Molly McGinnis says:

    Marlie, Steve, Rene, Cheryl and Tom,

    You have my deepest sympathy on the loss of your mother, Shirley.  Wishing you peace, comfort, courage at this time of sorrow.

    Molly McGinnis

    • Deb Browning Shay says:

      Dear Marlie, Skip, Rene, Cheryl, and Tom…I am so very sorry for the loss of your beautiful mom!!! I have SUCH fond memories of her!! I think I spent more time at your house than mine; because I truly felt the love there!! Your mom was a gift for all lucky enough to know her; always a big smile on her face, and a kind word. “Angelic” would be a great word to describe her! I loved running into your Mom and Dad over at Cub in Bloomington; we would chat and laugh about old times. The Daffer family is the nicest family; all of you! I hope the amazing memories of your mom and your dad surround you through this time of grief. Please call on me any time, if there is anything I can do! Love all of you dearly!!

    • Marlie Daffer-Nelson says:

      Thank you Molly. We were blessed to have such a wonderful mother.

  2. Molly McGinnis says:

    Marlie, Steve, Rene, Cheryl and Tom,

    You have my deepest sympathy on the loss of your mother, Shirley.  Wishing you peace, comfort, courage at this time of sorrow.

    Molly McGinnis

  3. Twylla Chant says:

    Rene and family,
    I am so very sad to hear of your mother passing and so sorry for your loss… I have many fond memories of your mom. She was always such a fun-loving and energetic person… I will never forget her smile. She always made me feel so at home when I was at your house. I know you will miss her but praying that your memories will be a blessing… may God give you comfort and peace in the days ahead.

  4. Debra Wicks says:

    Such a cute couple. Made such a difference in my life. Forever grateful. Whole family

  5. James Erlandson says:

    Marlie, Steve, Rene, Cheryl and Tom,
    All of us Erlandsons remember Shirley with great fondness, as well as our friendship with your dad, John and the whole family over the years. Shirley and John were two of Al and Jean’s closest friends, and we have fun memories from our days as kids (and teenagers), and family camp in the mountains. So we treasure those memories, and will miss them. Especially the gathering at Al and Jean’s 50th wedding anniversary at Real Life when we sang songs (like “Shenandoah”), and Al’s 90th birthday. Peace and comfort to you all! Jim, Susan and Bob

    • Marlie Daffer-Nelson says:

      Thank you Jim and Susan and Bob. “Jean and Al” went together like “Shirley and John” what living examples of love and marriage. We also cherish those fond memories of childhood’s filled with fun adventures , family and friends. We miss your parents as well but are so grateful they were in our lives.

  6. Karla Wheeler (Salo) says:

    Dear Marlie and Family,
    I just learned of your mothers death. I am so sorry for your loss. I remember your mom as a fun, happy lady. I hope your memories give you peace in the days ahead. I am sorry I missed telling you all this in person at her funeral. Take care!

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