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Edward Linn Shields was born in Leon, Decatur County, IA on June 17, 1949, the youngest child of Kenneth Leo and Juanita Natalie Whisler Shields. At the age of seventeen, Ed accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior and was baptized in the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Mount Ayr, IA. On August 11, 1968 Ed married his high school sweetheart, Kathy Jean Burright, and to this union two daughters were born, Erika Leigh (1972) and Emily LeAnn (1977). Ed had a strong devotion to family.
To those who really knew Ed, the core values that he lived by were to serve Jesus Christ, to be a good listener and find the good in people, to transmit knowledge particularly to the youth with whom he came in contact, to share joy and to maintain a strong work ethic. Ed never ceased to learn.
Ed began his education in a one-room school, Poe #8, attending through fourth grade. When rural schools were consolidated, Ed became a student at Mount Ayr Community School and graduated with the class of 1967. The following fall, Ed began his formal education at Graceland College in Lamoni, IA and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration in 1972.
Ed farmed with his parents after leaving Graceland. Because of allergies, Ed was employed at Patty Lynn’s Café, later to become DanDee Café, as a chef until his employment with the Graceland College Bookstore in 1974. After three years of employment as a store clerk, Ed became Administrative Manager of the store. While employed at Graceland for over 25 years, Ed held positions on many of the campus committees, his favorite being the Employee Recognition Committee and the Faculty-Administration Social Committee. Ed also belonged to the Mid-States Association of College Stores where he served many roles and was chairman of the Education Committee and held the offices of Treasurer and President. As chairman of the Visual Merchandising Committee for the National Association of College Stores, Ed developed an eight-hour seminar on Visual Merchandising and flew from coast to coast presenting these seminars.
As long as he could remember, there was a special place in Ed’s heart for the elderly in our community. Ed had many special memories of his grandparents and great aunts while growing up. Ed was employed by Maple Ridge Assisted Living and Clearview Estates and served as chaplain at Clearview Nursing Home. During this time, Ed also served on the local Hospice board.
Ed and wife, Kathy, began the first co-ed 4-H club in Ringgold County and served as leaders of the Lotts Creek-Riley Rustlers 4-H club. The highlight of each year for the club was to take a trip (which they raised money for by lunching farm sales and selling homemade pies), the greatest being flying from Kansas City to Chicago for a long weekend visiting museums. These bonding experiences created wonderful life-long memderful lifelong memories. Ed served on the Ringgold County Extension Council where he served as chairman, on the 4-H and Youth Committee and judged fashion revues, clothing selection competitions and projects in Adams, Adair, Page and Ringgold Counties.
Ed was a Past Master of Faith Lodge #179, an eight-time Worthy Patron of Mount Ayr Chapter #356, Order of the Eastern Star and was initiated into the Grand Cross of Color. Ed was a Rainbow Dad for Joan Fisher Rizer, Erika Shields Welch, Trisha Routh Uitermarkt and Emily Shields Shelley and served for several years as District Dad. While holding this position, Ed was honored to have his daughter, Erika, serve as Grand Worthy Advisor in the International Order of Rainbow for Girls in Iowa and daughter, Emily, who served as Grand Religion.
Ed was in numerous concerts of the Ringgold Singers and was a charter member of the original community theater group, the Moonlighters. Ed had numerous roles in the plays presented and particularly enjoyed comedies. Live theater was a passion of Ed’s. He tried to support the high school drama students and they were glad when he could attend their plays as they could always hear his laugh.
Ed also enjoyed designing clothes, and, with the help of his wife, constructed many wedding gowns. Articles about this talent were published in the Sunday Des Moines Register, the St. Joseph, Missouri newspaper, as well as the Mount Ayr Record News. Ed always remembered the day People Magazine contacted him and asked about a farmer who designed wedding gowns.
Using his culinary skills, Ed and his family also did catering for a number of years, serving dinners and receptions in Ringgold and Decatur counties. Ed was known for his good cooking skills and beautiful buffet tables. Ed and Kathy worked side by side and were gracious hosts.
From 2008 to 2011, Ed was employed by Support Services of South-Central Iowa, supporting youth and adults in the area. These special needs clients had a special place in his heart also.
While pastoring at the Hickory Grove Advent Christian Church, Ed was ordained as a pastor in that denomination. With God as his guide, Ed had the blessings of creating a year-round active congregation representing rural churches in America. In 2005, Ed and Kathy started the Faith Seekers Advent Christian Home Church and nurtured handicapped individuals while on their faith journey. Pastor Ed performed numerous baptisms, weddings and funerals. He had the knack of personalizing the event to fit the person’s life. Ed also served as pastor at the United Church of Diagonal from 2012 until he retired in 2017.
Ed was preceded in death by his parents, his brother, Ronald Shields, his sister, Sheryol Rush, brother-in-law, R.C. Rush, and sister-in-law, Janine King.
Those left to mourn his passing are his wife of 52 years, Kathy, of Mount Ayr, IA, daughters, Erika (Ryan) Welch of Lamoni, IA and Emily (Richard) Shelley of Indianola, IA, grandchildren, Collier Layne Wilmes, Kiersten Elaine Shelley (John Shufelt) and Kegan Edward Shelley, sister-in-law, JoKaye Shields of Mount Ayr, IA, sister-in-law, Kerry Burright-Hittner (Steve), brother-in-law, Randy King, 10 nieces and nephews, 24 great nieces and nephews, 19 great-great nieces and nephews, other relatives and a host of friends.
Armstrong Funeral Home in Mount Ayr was in charge of the arrangements.
Services were held at 2:00 p.m. Sunday, December 27, 2020 at the First Christian Church in Mount Ayr, IA.
Officiating was Rev. Al Rusk and Pastor Darin Dolecheck.
Pianist was Korbie Rinehart.
Special songs were “Amazing Grace” and “At the End of Myself”.
Masonic services by Jeremiah Ambrose Faith Lodge #179 A.F. & A.M.
Casketbearers were Rodney Shields, Roger Shields, Joshua Waske, Jeff Woody, Jim Johnson and Ken Rush.
Honorary casketbearers were Richard Pence, Lucille Lowe, Mike Greene, Margaret Wood, Rich Howard and Shirley McLaughlin.
At rest at the Rose Hill Cemetery in Mount Ayr, IA.
Memorials to Scholarships for Mount Ayr and Diagonal High School.

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