Shirley Sandfort, 84, of West Des Moines, IA

Shirley Sandfort, 84, of West Des Moines, IA
June 10, 1939 - January 24, 2024

A Celebration of Life Memorial Service for Shirley Sandfort will be held on Friday, April 12, 2024 at 10:30 a.m. at the Holdrege Methodist Church with Pastor George Probasco officiating. Inurnment will follow at the Prairie Home Cemetery, Holdrege.

Shirley would want everyone to know that she is playing the organ up in heaven and she is no longer in any pain.

Shirley Dawn (Johnson) Sandfort, 84, passed away on Wednesday, January 24, 2024 in West Des Moines, Iowa. She had been a resident of Wesley Life Edgewater Senior Living Community since the fall of 2011. Shirley was born in Burwell, Nebraska, on June 10, 1939, to Gladys and Edgar Johnson. After graduation from Burwell High School, she attended Asbury College in Wilmore, Kentucky, and graduated with a teaching degree in English.

Shirley did her student teaching in Lexington, Kentucky, and graduated in November of 1962. In January of 1963, she was hired to teach Junior English in Holdrege, Nebraska and taught that subject for 4 ½ years. Shirley was also in charge of the Thespian group, the One-Act play, and the fall play.

On June 20, 1965, Shirley married Keith Sandfort, a physical science teacher at Holdrege Junior High. In late 1966, Shirley quit teaching to have a family. Brian was born in 1967 and Andrea was born in 1970. From 1966-1967, Shirley was the society news editor of the Holdrege Daily Citizen. In 1975, Shirley became the director of education at the First United Methodist Church of Holdrege. During this time, she worked part time as a media aide alongside Holdrege High School Librarian, Joan Yentes.

In 1979, Shirley became the journalism teacher and taught for two and a half years with her final year of teaching being part-time as she taught journalism in the morning and worked as the high school secretary in the afternoon. In 1980, journalism was discontinued. Fortunately, Principal Darrell Yentes said that he needed her help full-time in the office, so she went to work there full-time until she retired in May 2010. Shirley also worked the evening shift at Sunmart Grocery Store for around 20 years until her retirement.

Her Sunday job was playing the organ at the Holdrege United Methodist Church for one, two, or three services. She played the organ at the church almost 40 years. Shirley loved to work and it brought her great joy to be able to work with students, see the public at Sunmart, and share her talent of music with others. She also loved to travel and went on eight trips to Europe, as well as other trips with her family and Edgewater friends. Her grandchildren and children loved her special chocolate dessert, enchilada casserole, cinnamon rolls, in addition to always having her in charge of making the best gravy for Thanksgiving dinners.

Shirley will be greatly missed by all who adored her. Her friends at Edgewater, her friends from Holdrege, Nebraska, and mostly her family.

She is survived by her son and his wife, Brian (Gretchen) Sandfort of Urbandale, Iowa, and their children: Payton (21), Pryce (19), and Piper (16); her daughter and husband, Andrea (Roberto) Hernandez of Henderson, Nevada, and their children: Analiese (19) and Bronson (16); her brothers: Lonny (Vivian) Johnson; Randy (Jane) Johnson; and Donald (Liana) Johnson; sisters-in law: Lenore “Lorrie” (Sandfort) Spencer; and Ginger Sandfort; brother-in-law, Charles (Jean) Sandfort; along with many nieces and nephews, and extended families.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Keith Sandfort; her mom and dad; sisters and brothers-in-law: Genevieve and Dean Straka; and Bonita and Sydney Lambert; an infant brother, David Johnson; her father and mother-in-law: Edward and Esther Sandfort, and brothers-in-law: Bob & Lenore Sandfort; and Wayne Sandfort.

A Memorial Book Signing will be held on Thursday, April 11, 2024 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Nelson-Bauer Funeral Home in Holdrege, with the family greeting from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Memorials in Shirley’s honor and are kindly suggested to the Holdrege Methodist Church or the Holdrege Public Schools Foundation. Expressions of caring and kindness can be sent to the family at

The Nelson-Bauer Funeral Home in Holdrege is in charge of the arrangements.