Shirley Joan (Melvold) Rourke

Funeral services were held Wednesday, February 28, 2018 at the Wright Funeral Home, Moorhead, Minn. for Shirley Joan (Melvold) Rourke.

Posted 3/1/18

Interment at Prairie Home Cemetery, Moorhead, Minn.

On April 29, 1935 Shirley Joan (Melvold) Rourke was born at home on the farm near Henning, Minn. to parents Sam Reder and Palma “Polly” (Ronning) Melvold. She grew up in Henning and graduated from Henning High School in 1953. She attended Concordia College, Moorhead, Minn. graduating in 1957 with a psychology degree. She began her career as a social worker for Clay County. On August 30, 1958 she married Orland Joe Rourke at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Henning. She took some time off to raise a family. During those years she ran the Rourke Cellar Gallery in the basement of their home. Along with their own artwork they also sold work by Chuck Halling, Charlie Beck and others. She enjoyed the medium of watercolor. In 1975 they closed their home gallery and opened the Cellar Gallery in Block 6 of downtown Fargo. From 1981 until her retirement in 2001, she was a psychological affiliate at Neuropsychology Institute, Fargo; completing initial neurological assessments on patients. During her career, she thoroughly enjoyed working with Dr. Larry Fisher and Dr. Rodney Swenson. Her most cherished time was in service with her faith community at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, Fargo. An active member, she served in a variety of leadership roles. She enjoyed singing in the choir and making quilts. She will always be remembered as a kind-hearted soul devoting her time and energy to serving the needs of others. In retirement, she enjoyed her adopted dogs and the idyllic days on Cotton Lake. She was an avid reader, a crossword puzzle enthusiast, a loyal Viking and Twins fan and always eager to discuss the day’s current events. To the very end, she possessed the same happy, sweet, loving disposition and always remained a mother to all.

She is survived by her brother, Roger Wayne Melvold; sons – J. Erin and J. Bracken Rourke; her brother-in-law Vernon L. Rourke and wife Cindy Gilispie.

She was preceded in death by her parents, her brother, Charles Wesley Melvold; her husband, Orland; her brother-in-law, James T. O-Rourke and her beloved dog, Kea.

The family requests, in place of flowers, memorials be given to St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 417 Main Ave., Ste. 401, Fargo, ND 58103.

Shirley was one of God’s sweetest souls who always had time to listen and the ability to laugh and will be so sorely missed by all those she has touched throughout her rich and long life.

Wright Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements. Online guestbook and video tribute at

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