Shirley May Kline (Mangold), 82, of Rudyard, one of Montana’s finest and most passionate bowlers, lost her battle with lung cancer on May 7th, 2021. Shirley was born June 30th, 1938, to Frank and Bernice (Sapp) Mangold. As a child, she was always told her birthday was June 29th, until later when she obtained her official birth certificate, which revealed her actual date of birth was the 30th.
In Shirley’s formative years, she often spent summers in Rudyard with her favorite aunt and uncle, Marie and Chuck Cross, and their two children. When she was 16, Shirley met Don (Donald Arthur) Kline at a local community dance. Don would visit her while waitressing at Evan's Café, which must have been love at first sight. They married four months later, on August 26th, 1955. They shared 42 years in Rudyard, owning and operating the famous Kline’s Bank Bar. To this union, four children were born; one daughter, Jaye Dee (Don) Han, and three sons, Donald “Dusty” Ralph (Kristi) Kline; Kelly Jon Kline; and Christopher Robin Kline. Unfortunately, lung cancer claimed the life of her husband Don in 1998.
Shirley ran the Bank Bar on her own for another four years until her sons, Dusty and Chris, took over the business. They closed the Bank Bar to buy and operate Rudyard’s K-Lanes Bowling Center and Lounge. As a busy young wife and mother, Shirley found an outlet and passion in the sport of bowling starting in Rudyard in the 1960s. Shirley would bowl several leagues per week for many years to come, making her a force to be reckoned with on the lanes. With her famous high backswing and her engraved “Squirrely Shirley” ball. She would go on to win many tournaments as well as carry the state’s highest average for a few years. Shirley was inducted into both the Montana and National Bowling Hall of Fame, her highest bowling achievements.
Many of Shirley's lifelong girlfriends compiled the Bank Bar women's bowling team for countless years. Taking local, state, and national bowling trips was a favorite pastime, collecting plenty of pins, patches, trophies, and souvenir towels. Two years ago, the most cherished gift of these many bowling trips was presented to Shirley by her entire family. A handmade quilt of 71 of her more than 80 commemorative bowling towels as a Mother's Day gift. Recently all of her bowling pins have been attached to this one-of-a-kind blanket. Eventually, all of the bowling patches will be affixed to the back.
Shirley shared her enthusiasm with young and old alike. She held several local and state offices on the woman's bowling boards during her illustrious career. As the founder of the Montana Women's Bowling Council and Executive Secretary, she headed up the annual jamboree many years in a row. Her children took up the sport, but more importantly, she was a large part of the Young American Bowling Alliance (YABA) in Montana. She served as YABA state president for many years and was an instrumental leader in helping to enrich the lives of children through the sport of bowling. Her efforts were recognized and honored with the YABA National Coach of the Year! In addition, she was very proud of her involvement in establishing the Montana youth scholarship programs for bowling high school seniors.
One of her very favorite bowling tournament trips was to Washington DC for the National Family Bowling Tournament. She and her son Christopher qualified for the Montana spot in 1984. Shirley and Chris both said the trip was even better because Don went along.
Even though bowling made up a large part of Shirley’s life, it was not her only interest, not by a long shot! The list is long and varied, but she did it all with gusto and very well, in addition to supporting her children and grandchildren in their lives and dreams.
She was not a high school graduate but obtained her GED in her late 20s. Everything she tackled came easy to her bright, focused mind. In her 82 years of life, a list of interests and activities that kept her very busy included; Pastry Pals 4 H Leader, Saddle Club, softball, ceramics, golf league, dart league, gun club, birthday club, and playing bridge. Another moment of proud volunteerism was in the 1990s when she spent several Labor Day weekends raising money for the Muscular Dystrophy Jerry Lewis Telethon. She was also a bus route driver for Blue Sky Schools and would often drive the Speech and Drama team to competitions. She thoroughly enjoyed these outings and would often fill in as a judge whenever needed. This also gave her reason to get dressed up in her always fashionable attire, complete with patent leather shoes!
At home, she excelled at many activities as well; learning to play piano and organ, scrapbooking, cooking, and sewing. Family favorite dishes were her German potato salad, turkey dinners, homemade mac & cheese, potato bread and buns, pies (especially apple and pumpkin), cinnamon twists, and popcorn balls. She made clothing, toys, and costumes for her kids and grands. Her design skills even included leather and fringed western wear. She fashioned and sold a soft, jointed doll (much like a Cabbage Patch), making all their clothes and embroidering the entire face. She called them “Squirrely Tots.” Crocheting became a pastime sharing many of her yarn afghans with friends and family.
With her fiercely competitive nature, Shirley loved games of chance. She was often found playing live poker (winning the annual tournament in Rudyard twice), board games, and crossword puzzles. She was a fan of scratch tickets and the Montana Lottery, especially Powerball, where she won $100,000 in 1993.
Shirley is survived by one sister, Marjorie Stubbs of Arizona, her four children and their spouses, as previously mentioned, as well as her eight grandchildren and eleven (soon to be thirteen) great-grandchildren: Cole and Brooke Kline (Keylee, Carinna, and Kambrey); Cortney (Kline) and Kino Detrick (Kellen and Ryker); Jourdon (Han) and Zachariah Wichman (Brun, Bryar, and Brix); Bridjour Han; Alec and Dani Abelman (Octavia); Jory and McKayla Abelman; Whitney (Kline)and Ty Fisher (Styles, Piper, and baby due in July); Connor and Jordan Kline (baby boy due any day); as well as her beloved cat, Kitty.
Preceding Shirley in death was her husband, Don; parents, Frank and Bernice Mangold; three brothers, William Mangold, Edward Mangold, and Howard Mangold; and two sisters, Betty Sattleen and Ruby Skoyen.
There will be a celebration of life for Shirley on June 27th, 2021, at the K-Line’s Family Bowling Center in Rudyard at 2 p.m. In addition, a late afternoon barbecue picnic will be provided, with potluck desserts welcomed.
A yearly Shirley Kline Memorial Scholarship is in the process of being set up with the Montana United States Bowling Congress in Billings for any graduating high school senior bowler applicant that fits the established criteria.
Attention: Shirley Kline Memorial Scholarship
c/o Thomas Brendgord
P.O. Box 5130
Other suggestions for memorials may be sent to the Hi-Line Health Foundation in Chester,
Rudyard Ambulance Service, or of the donor’s choice.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Shirley May Kline, please visit our floral store.