Christian 04


Shirley Bliven

August 23, 1937 ~ April 19, 2018 (age 80)

Shirley Bliven, 80, of Burlington, died at 5:45 PM Wednesday, April 18, 2018, at the Great River Klein Center in West Burlington.

Shirley was born August 23, 1937, in Kewanee, Illinois. Shirley was the daughter of Walter E. and Nora L. Gerber. She married David Bliven on March 29, 1958.

Shirley was a teacher in Alton, Taylorville and Edinburg, Illinois before coming to Burlington where she continued teaching at Oak Street Middle School and part-time at Burlington High School. Shirley also did substitute teaching in area elementary schools. She had a lifelong interest in art and taught art for many years. Shirley also served as the Director of the Art Center where she organized trips to Chicago and St. Louis to see major exhibits and wonderful stage plays. During her stint as Director, Shirley held the Designer Showcase as well as great Mardi Gras celebrations. Shirley took the special art displays to elementary schools and also hosted after-school art projects for the children.

Shirley changed careers after teaching for twenty years. The next twenty years were spent working in the ministry. Her first call was Christian Educator for the First Presbyterian Church. Later Shirley became a Licensed Minister of the First Church (Disciples of Christ) and served as Christian Educator and Assistant to the Burlington Congregation for several years where she was a member. Shirley guided the creation of many education programs including M and M Club for the children. She received Licensed Minister Emeritus standing in February of 2003. Shirley also served as Associate Chaplain at Burlington Medical Center. Chaplain Bliven worked with many people and did pulpit supply for several churches in the surrounding area. After retiring from the Medical Center, she did interim ministry serving Denmark Congregational, U.C.C., St. Luke U.C.C, and the First Congregational Church. She was awarded the Honored Ministers pin August 2011 by the Regional First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of the Upper Midwest.

Her hobbies included reading, drawing, painting, writing poetry, listening to good music, craft projects, visiting with friends and family, attending live theatre, plays, and musicals. Her drawings and paintings include many scenes from the Burlington area. Shirley’s Snake Alley and Great River Bridge prints are in many countries around the globe. One of her paintings was in the All Iowa Show at the Des Moines Art Center, and her work is in public and private collections.
Shirley was a Cub Scout leader, RISE volunteer, member of the Norman Circle of King’s Daughters, member of the Art Guild, Chapter P, PEO, life member of the National Education Association, Professional Church Leaders, G.R.M.C volunteer and Welcome Center volunteer.

Rev. Bliven was preceded in death by her parents, an infant son, and brother.  

Survivors include her husband, Dave; daughter, Laurie Noll (Tim); two sons, John D. Bliven (Renee) and Bryan Bliven (Nicole); grandchildren, Emily (Marc), Ian, Eileen (Chris), Noah, Brooke, and Jacob; great-grandchildren, Genevieve, Zachary, Victoria, and Katharine; and brother, John Gerber of Canton, Il. 

Visitation will be from 2:00 PM until 6:00 PM with the family to receive friends, Sunday, April 22, 2018 at First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

The funeral service for Rev. Shirley Bliven will be 10:00 AM Monday, April 23, 2018, at First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) with Rev. David J. Yonker officiating.  Burial will be in Aspen Grove Cemetery.  A time of food and fellowship will be held in the fellowship hall following the burial.

Memorials have been established for First Christian Church, and the Parkinson Disease Foundation, 1200 Pleasant St. E-524 Des Moines, IA 50309.

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