Shirley Eileen Buxton Buxton

Shirley Eileen Buxton Buxton (not a typo) died peacefully at home on Sunday, November 27, 2022.

She was born on November 10, 1927, in Des Moines, Iowa, the first of the three children of Bess and Gerald Buxton.  She grew up in Iowa City and graduated from the University of Iowa with distinction, where she was a proud member of Phi Beta Kappa and the Delta Delta Delta sorority, and played timpani in the University orchestra.  It was there that she met her husband (and unrelated surname-sharer), Ed Buxton, the man who was smitten from the get-go and unwaveringly devoted to her until his death in 2018.

After several brief stops along the way, Shirley and Ed ultimately found themselves in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, where they put down roots and happily remained for the rest of their lives.  They traversed the country and the continents together, but their hearts were always happiest when returning home.

Shirley was a decades-long member of Trinity United Methodist Church and AAUW, and was active in many aspects of local community life, perhaps none more significant than her tenure as timpanist for the Beaver Dam Area Orchestra.  She skillfully wielded her mallets until finally retiring at the age of 90, a remarkable and likely unparalleled duration in American orchestral history for a female timpanist.

Shirley was a life-long lover of horses, a dedicated patron of pachyderms, and a friend to Teddy bears of every persuasion.  She never met a gift shop or a pastry she didn’t like, never imagined a photograph she didn’t take, never had a question she didn’t ask.  She was an ardent fan of Bucky and the football Badgers (undoubtedly the only 95-year-old wearing red-&-white-striped Bucky overalls), attending games at Camp Randall right up until the final year of her life. She and Ed were steadfast believers in respect, equality and social justice for people everywhere, manifested through their stalwart support of the Democratic Party and its principles.

But unquestionably, Shirley and Ed’s greatest pride was their loyal and loving family.  That family included their five children—Tim (Mary Kay), Kevin (Bonnie), Jennifer (Dennis), Cynthia (Kevin), and Eric (Julie); 15 grandchildren—Ben (Silaja), Essie (Adam), Aaron, Rachel (Joe), Austin (Sierra), Simon (Olivia), Ethan, Rebecca, Sarah, Amelia, Colin, Camille, Isaac, Elliott and Colton; and eight great-grandchildren—Rohan, Satyam, Kailash, Avery, Liliana, Logan, Rigby and Ozzie.  Never were there prouder and more devoted parents, grandparents and great-grandparents.  Shirley was preceded in death by her own parents, and her brothers, Dick and Rosc.

The family would like to thank the exceptional caregivers and staff from Home Instead, who treated Shirley like family, not just a client.   A special note of gratitude to Nurse Patty, who hung in there with Shirley and the family through thick, thin and thinner—we couldn’t imagine better care and support anywhere.

There will be a memorial gathering at Trinity Church – United Methodist in Beaver Dam on December 10, 2022 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon.  A memorial service will follow at the church at 12:00 noon with a lunch in the church hall to follow.  Inurnment will be at Oakwood Cemetery at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations in Shirley’s memory to the Beaver Dam Area Orchestra.

You had a great run, Mom/Grandma.  We all wish it could have lasted forever, which is how long we will love you and miss you.

Come, Stanley . . . we’re leaving now.

The Koepsell-Murray Funeral Home in Beaver Dam is caring for the family. To leave online condolences, please visit our website at