ELGIN, IL - The Rauschenberger Family is grieving the loss of their mother Shirley, who passed away early Monday morning at age 88.
Graduating from Elgin High School during WWII, Shirley’s first job was with the Chicago Daily News as a copy “girl.” It was the only time she briefly lived away from Elgin.
After her “beau” John returned from Army service overseas, she returned to to her hometown and they married in 1946. Children soon followed. As a mother of six children, Shirley was a firm believer in volunteer service to enhance her community.
Her interests were broad and her leadership skills were welcomed; she served on boards of the YWCA, YMCA, Episcopal Churchwomen, Boy Scouts, Sybaquay Council of the Girls Scouts, the Salvation Army, Elgin Area Chamber of Commerce. She was elected to U-46 school board and served for 12 years. In addition, she was a firm support to her husband in Rauschenberger Furniture, the family business, and a great backer of all of her children’s sports and activities. She was also a foster parent, a scout leader, and an election judge.
As her children grew independent, Shirley returned to her writing career. She became the news editor of the Elgin Herald, then moved on to advertising director for the former Spiess Department Store, then marketing director of Ackemanns. After retiring, she continued to be active in political campaigns, especially her son Steve’s campaigns for State Senate. She was known for her love of cooking, entertaining and hospitality.
Shirley was accorded many community honors over the years. She received the Cosmopolitan Distinguished Service Award, the Altrusa Woman of the Year Award. She was honored by the Illinois State Office of Public Instruction as the outstanding parent of the region, and was honored in 2008 by the Elgin Township Republicans for her leadership and longstanding political activism. She also served as a U-46 School Board member.
Shirley Mae Westerbeck Rauschenberger was born December 1, 1926 in Elgin, daughter of Felix and Amanda Idstein Westerbeck. She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband John K. Rauschenberger in 1999, and her brother Sheldon Westerbeck in 2000. She is survived by two daughters, Laurel Kracen (Don Getts) Tucson, AZ. and Carol Rauschenberger (Reid Travis) Elgin; as well as four sons, John K. Rauschenberger Jr., Chicago; Thomas Rauschenberger; Steven Rauschenberger (Betty); Keith Rauschenberger (Cindy) all of Elgin. She was the proud grandmother of 13 grandchildren: Amanda Kracen, Elizabeth Kracen, Melissa Rauschenberger, John K. Rauschenberger III, Emilee Abuhamad, Joe Rauschenberger, Zoe Travis, Bopha Travis, Sam Rauschenberger, Michael Rauschenberger, Henry Rauschenberger, Kacy Rauschenberger, Karl Rauschenberger and 12 great-grandchildren. Shirley also was very important to extended family members Scott Kracen and Dawn Marcom.
Shirley (Ahya) was the beloved matriarch of her family, and took great pride in the activities, travels and diversity of her children, grandchildren and great -grandchildren. She will be long remembered.
Funeral plans are pending.