Shirley Beth Gillan Trauger of Exeter, age 85, died on Thursday, September 28, 2017 in her sleep next to her husband of 64 years. She was a lifelong resident of the Exeter area. Shirley was born on the family farm in York County, Nebraska on December 21, 1931 to Earl and Ethel (Ziegler) Gillan. Shirley attended a one room school house and later graduated from Friend High School with the class of 1950. Shirley attended York College for two years and received her teaching certificate. She later taught in a one room school in Cordova.
On August 18, 1953, she married Robert Trauger of Exeter. Together they had three children; Charles, Lynnelle and Melissa.
was a lifelong member of the Exeter United Methodist Church. She
served on many boards throughout her life. She was both President and
Vice President of the United Methodist Women. She served several terms
on the Staff Parrish Committee and Chaired the Finance Committee.
was active throughout her life in many organizations. She was one of
the founding members of the Fillmore County Historical Society. She was
an active member until her death. She served on the Exeter School
Board for two terms in the late 1960’s. She served a term as Vice
President of the Exeter Women’s Club in the late 1950’s.
Shirley was a
member of the Nebraska Public Television Board for many years. In
1978, she was appointed by former Governor Exon to the Nebraska
Commission on the Status of Women. She was head of the commission for
In 1976, Shirley received Nebraska’s highest honor
when she was chosen to be a Admiral in the Great Navy of the State of
Nebraska. It is an honorary title bestowed upon individuals by the
Governor. She was a recipient of this award due to the many committees
she served on for the state.
She was very involved with the
United Methodist Church. In 1972, she was elected to the Nebraska
Conference Council of Ministries. In 1981, she was elected to the
ten-member National Board and was chosen to be the Lay Representative
from the Nebraska Conference to the Council of the Centennial World
Methodist Conference in Hawaii. She was elected to the St. Paul School
of Theology Board of Trustees in 1976. She was also a member of the
South-Central District Council of Ministries.
Shirley was elected to the Nebraska Wesleyan Board of Trustees in 1978 and served as Vice President in 1981.
was a member of the Epworth Village Board of Directors and served as
President from 1981-1983. She was an active member of Epworth for over
Shirley was Coordinator of Global Concerns of the Lincoln
District of the United Methodist Women. Shirley was a member of the
Governor’s Antique Farm Machinery Commission and served as Treasurer of
the Lester F. Larson Tractor Test and Power Museum at the University of
In 1969, Robert and Shirley started Old Timer’s Day.
This was a show that they put on every August to perpetuate pioneer
memories. They continued this tradition until 1986. They were featured
on a documentary for Nebraska Public Television in 1976.
was a kind and loving person who lived life to the fullest and was never
afraid of a challenge. In 1987, when her daughter was interviewing for
a nanny position in New York, she called the reference listed. It was
none other than Walter Cronkite and they ended up having an amazing
conversation. While visiting NY, she was given a song that she
treasured and it was written especially for her by the Musical Director
of Sesame Street. She had many amazing experiences in her life. She
spoke from the same podium where President Roosevelt accepted his
presidency. During that visit she had also the opportunity to meet with
Mayor Ed Koch at the Governor’s mansion. She had a wonderful visit with
him. These occurrences were not unusual for her as she never knew a
stranger. Shirley truly lived an amazing and full life. She taught her
family love, values and to always stand up for what it right. She was
an avid gardener and loved to travel. Shirley and Robert traveled the
United States prior to having children. She loved spending time with
family and loved the holidays. She always made each holiday magical
with her special touch. Fall was her favorite season, so it is with
peace that she transitioned from this life to the next during this time
Shirley was preceded in death by her parents, Earl and Ethel Gillan and her brother Duane Gillan.
to honor and remember her legacy is her husband of 64 years, Robert;
her three children, Charles Trauger of Exeter, Lynnelle Trauger of
Exeter and Melissa Dufort of Shawnee, KS; son in law, Peter Dufort and
daughter in law, Lynette Trauger; 7 grandchildren; Jameson Trauger of
York, Huntington Trauger of Harrisonville, MO, Alexis Trauger of Exeter,
Samuel and Luke Dufort of Shawnee, KS, Tyler Trauger of Omaha and
Nikole and husband Chad Sideris of Omaha; nephews Byron and Aleta
Trauger of Nashville, TN and Tom Trauger and Jana Belsky of Washington,
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