Shirley M. Dommers, 96, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, December 15, 2021 at the Silverado North Shore Memory Care community in Glendale, WI. She was married to Dr. Paul Dommers from 1950 to 1992. The couple began their married life in Savannah, IL; lived in Germany for 2 years while Paul served in the military, then lived most of his life in Belvidere, IL; followed by a shorter time in Rockford, IL. Although divorced, they spent time with their 2 children and 4 grandchildren until Paul passed away in 2008.
Born 12/04/1925 in Kansas City, MO, Shirley was the only child of Richard and Helen (née Behrens) Mueller. Because her father’s job required a move, Shirley also lived in Chicago, IL; Denver, CO; Indianapolis, IN; Saint-Joseph, Missouri; and Dubuque, IA, growing up. She received a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education (PE) from the University of Iowa (UI) in 1947 and taught physical education at Ward Belmont College in Nashville, TN, from 1947 to 1949.
While in Belvidere, Shirley was a member of the Lutheran Church of Zion, the Bel Mar and Mauh-Nah-Tee-See Country Clubs, and the Clock Tower Tennis Club. She has participated in the junior golf program, served on axillary hospital boards and hosted international exchange students. She then attended Court Street Methodist Church in Rockford, supported youth golf in the Rockford Park district, and was a member of Rockford Bridge Center and Rockford Country Club. Shirley served on the Illinois Women’s Golf Association (IWGA) board of directors for 24 years, including a term as president. She served on the Board of Directors of the Women’s Western Golf Association for 6 years.
Over the years, Shirley has enjoyed many sports and card games. She was awarded Silver Life Master status from the American Contract Bridge League in 2013. Much to everyone’s dismay, she has always been the biggest winner in family reunion poker games. Shirley was a staunch Chicago Bears and Cubs fan. She also followed UI sports. She enjoyed fishing, bowling, table tennis, and in her youth, she won several tennis titles in singles and mixed doubles. However, it was golf that captured his heart.
Shirley quickly became a lifelong amateur and passionate golf champion after taking golf lessons at the age of 14. , she won medalist honors and clinched a dramatic victory over Ann Casey (Johnstone) in the Iowa State Amateur Championship in 1946. She has competed in numerous national pro-am tournaments at Tam O ‘Shanter Country Club , Chicago, IL, from 1945 to 1952, where she teamed with the co-founders of the Ladies Professional Golf Association, Patty Berg, Marilynn Smith, Betty Jameson, Louise Suggs and Babe Didrikson Zaharias. Due to her teaching position at Ward Belmont, Shirley was considered a professional from 1947 to 1949. During her brief stint as a pro, she finished “in the money” twice. In June 1949, Shirley was appointed club professional at Silver Lakes Golf Club, Orland Park, IL: a role unprecedented for a woman at the time. She resumed amateur status after quitting teaching positions and competed in numerous state, national and international golf tournaments between 1951 and 1975. Highlights include: winning the Swiss and Italian international tournaments, Low Amateur and Second Low Amateur in Cosmopolitan Women’s Open tournaments, 5 Illinois State Amateur Championships, 4 Illinois State Senior Amateur Championships and finalist in a Western Women’s Amateur Championship. In 2008, Shirley was inducted into the IWGA Hall of Fame and the Rockford Area Golf Hall of Fame. The IWGA named the medalist honors trophy after Shirley in 2016.
Shirley will be remembered by her family as a gracious hostess, a shrewd and strong leader, a staunch supporter and a serious competitor. She has shown strong will and mental toughness through difficult times. Shirley will be especially remembered for the great times she spent on vacation with her family and for her generosity in supporting their studies. Shirley cherished her many golf and bridge friends. She was a true role model and is highly regarded.
Shirley is survived by her daughter Denise Davis, Cedarburg, WI; son Dr. Martin Dommers, Columbia, SC; 4 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren. She was predeceased by her former husband, Dr Paul Dommers.
A private memorial service and interment will be scheduled for later this year.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations to the Alzheimer’s Association (act.alz.org) or the Victory Fund of the Illinois Women’s Golf Association (iwga.org) are welcome.
HERITAGE FUNERAL HALL
1901 N. Farwell Ave. Milwaukee, WI
Online since 08 January 2022
Posted in Rockford Register Star