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Shirley Ann Frisch March 6, 1932 - January 10, 2024

Shirley Ann Frisch of Boise died January 10, of natural causes. She was 91.

Born at a midwife’s country home near Atkinson, Nebraska, on March 6, 1932, Shirley had the good fortune to be born to incredible parents, who navigated the hardships of life in the early 20th Century, rais- ing cattle on a rural ranch. They were practical people and made do with what they had. She remembered from her childhood in detail her dislike of chickens because they were mean; she got even, however, making fried chicken one of her favorite meals.

Her hero was her mother, Eleanor McCarthy Withers. Her goal was to be as good a person and mother as Eleanor. She accomplished that objective. Shirley was not afraid of hard work and had a huge heart, just like her role model. She liked to counsel her children, their friends, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren, that a good life came from working hard and doing what was right. That perhaps describes her life best. She always worked hard and strived to do what was right.
She met the love of her life when she was six and he was five. Neither knew or sensed what that would create, a love and a home that was an example and foundation that provided warmth and joy for so many. After their first date in high school, Shirley knew Donald J. Frisch was going to be her life mate. “It took him a while longer,” she liked to say. And they were life mates for 63 years – Don and Shirley – raising six children. Their priority was their children. While working a second job or overtime, there was usually a child in tow, riding in the truck with Don or at Shirley’s feet as she conducted telephone surveys for consumer research firms. They were courageous, too, moving with four children under six to Boise with only a lead on a job and a small apartment in Hills Village.

Mrs. Frisch was a gift- ed speech teacher and later Title I instructor at St. Mary’s School, St. Joseph’s School, Whittier and Madison Elementary schools. She began teaching to help cover the tuition at St. Mary’s School for her children, but she was really good at it. She loved to help kids be the best they could be, and she expected them to work hard and do the right thing. She had more than one story about a student with a difficult home life that she wanted to take home.

Shirley handled the money in the house and maintained to her last month a list of her bills, crossing them out as they were paid. She negotiated with doctors, dentists, and pharmacists monthly payments when bills were particularly high. She always found a way to pay for things her children suspected were just beyond the family’s reach. She worked magic. To her final day, she made each of her children feel like they were the most important person in her life and her favorite.

She attended every sporting event she could that her children played in despite having little interest in the details of the sport. She was an ardent fan for her team no matter the sport – Boise High, Boise State, Nebraska, and anyone playing Oklahoma.

She attended speech con- tests, singing contests, talent shows, and really anything that her children found interesting. Even debate contests. She didn’t really like playing cards or games but would play if a game depended on it or if she could visit between hands with her longtime neighbor and friend Donece Pedersen. She was an accomplished jigsaw puzzler and was frequently able to solve the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle.

For more than a decade, she got up at 4:30 a.m., to wake her sons to deliver the newspapers on the route around the family home in the north end of Boise. Some mornings, she woke them up several times. She even drove them around the route when they were injured.

She never fully recovered from the loss of her husband, who she often just called, “Love.” He left her in 2015 and she would ask for his help in prayer and moments of anxiety to the end. She never fully recovered physically or mentally from a car accident she suffered with her son, Bob, either. Returning from the funeral of Shirley’s uncle in 1995, the car Bob was driving hit black ice on a rural Nebraska road and rolled several times. Bob was left a quadriplegic and would have died at the scene of the accident had Shirley not broken out glass of the crumpled car and ran to a nearby farmhouse for help. She kept the horror of running for help to save her baby to herself until the end. Bob died June 29, more than 26 years after Shirley saved her baby. Reuniting with her love, her baby Bob, and her incredible parents is a fitting re- ward for a life of hard work and doing the right thing.

Shirley is survived by her children, Rick Frisch (Tamra), Marde Shawver (Bill), Susan Karpen, Randy Frisch (Suzanne), Kurt Frisch (Karen), and daughter-in-lawDarla (Brown) Frisch, her
17 grandchildren, 24 ½ great grandchildren, her brother, Donald Withers (Helen) and
sister-in-law Sandi (Frisch) Richards.

A funeral Mass will be held at St. Mary’s Catholic Church January 20 at 11 a.m. Memorials are suggested to the Bob Frisch Scholarship fund at St. Mary’s, administered by the Idaho Catholic Foundation.

A funeral Mass will be held at St. Mary’s Catholic Church January 20 at 11 a.m.

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Memorials are suggested to the Bob Frisch Scholarship fund at St. Mary’s, administered by the Idaho Catholic Foundation.