Cover photo for Shirley Nadene Harkness's Obituary
Shirley Nadene Harkness Profile Photo
1920 Shirley 2019

Shirley Nadene Harkness

January 25, 1920 — September 14, 2019

Shirley Nadene (Boisen) Harkness, 99, passed away on September 14, 2019 at Meadowlark Pointe in Cozad, Nebraska. She was born on January 25, 1920 in Kearney County, Nebraska to Holger and Fern (Mueller) Boisen.


Shirley grew up on a farm near Minden, Nebraska, graduating from Minden High School in 1937. After high school she attended Nebraska State Teacher’s College (now UNK) and graduated in 1941 majoring in Commercial, Mathematics, and English. She was inducted into Phi Omega Phi Commercial Honorary and Xi Phi (now Mortar Board).


Shirley taught at the high school level for four years, two at Bertrand, Nebraska and two at Hastings, Nebraska. All during World War II.


On April 15, 1945, Shirley was united in marriage to Leo Harkness, who had just returned from serving nearly four years in the Pacific theater for the U.S. Army. After Leo was discharged from the Army in July of 1945, they moved to Cozad and became the owners of the Cozad Hardware which they operated until 1981. During these many years Shirley worked tirelessly at the store and also found time to do some substitute teaching and volunteer work.


Two children were born to this union, Gwen and Alan. Although Shirley was a working mother, her family always came first.


Shirley was tireless volunteer, especially after Leo passed away in 1984. She was a member of the Cozad United Methodist church for 74 years, where she served as a Circle Leader, Sunday School Superintendent, President, Treasurer, & Secretary of the Women’s Association and volunteered many hours at the Thrift Shop.


Shirley was a Charter member (1946) of the VFW Auxiliary serving as President, Treasurer, & Secretary. She was also a Charter member (1981) of the Cozad United Way Board of Directors and President in 2001. Other organizations in which she volunteered included: World Entertainment Series Board, Cozad Women’s Club and their Marathon Bridge tournament, 100th Meridian Museum Board, Cozad Public School Foundation Board, Robert Henri Museum Volunteer, and a faithful Blood Mobile Volunteer for over 60 years. In addition to all her volunteering, Shirley enjoyed being in several Bridge groups, P.E.O. Chapter CO, and her daily coffee group. She kept busy at home with crossword puzzles, counted cross stitch, and knitting. She also enjoyed traveling, especially with her family


Shirley was preceded in death by husband, Leo; son, Alan; her parents, and brother, Warren Boisen.

She is survived by her daughter, Gwen (Lowell) Spiess of Port Huron, Michigan, grandchildren, Scott Harkness of Boise, Idaho, Bridget Harkness of London, England, and great grandson, Gabriel Harkness of Boise, Idaho.

Memorial donations suggested to Cozad United Way Foundation or Cozad United Methodist Church.


Services will be held on Friday, September 20, 2019 at 10:30 a.m. at the Cozad United Methodist Church with Pastor Doug Gahn officiating. Burial at the Cozad Cemetery following the service. Visitation will be held on Thursday, September 19, 2019 from 1-7 p.m. with family present from 5-7 p.m. at the Berryman Funeral Home.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Shirley Nadene Harkness, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Thursday, September 19, 2019

1:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Friday, September 20, 2019

Starts at 10:30 am (Central time)

Cozad United Methodist Church

1515 B Street, Cozad, NE 69130

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Visits: 10

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree