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DULUTH – Shelly Meixsel had lived in seven states and three foreign countries by the time she graduated high school as her father's Air Force service kept the family on the move.

She was an expert pistol marksman who served for 18 years in the U.S. Navy on active duty and in reserve, rising to the rank of yeoman first class.

She earned a Navy Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, meritorious unit commendation and other awards.

And after an assignment brought her to Superior, Wis., in the 1990s, she was home.

Meixsel died Jan. 12 of complications from COVID-19. She was 61.

Meixsel was working as a senior records technician for the Duluth Police Department — where her service won her another award in 2010 — when she died. She was fondly remembered by those she worked with.

"Shelly fought valiantly to overcome COVID-19," Duluth Police Chief Mike Tusken wrote on Facebook last month.

"We will miss her smile, sense of humor, tell-it-like-it-is personality, hard work and professionalism."

Born in Topeka, Kan., in October 1959, Meixsel graduated from Madison County High School in Danielsville, Ga., in 1977 before enlisting.

She settled in Superior after being "attracted by beautiful Lake Superior and the superb schools for her two young children," according to her obituary, and worked at the YWCA and Minnesota Power before joining the Duluth Police Department in 2004.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Shelly, her family, and our DPD family who will miss her in our day to day lives," Tusken wrote. "Shelly, we miss you and we have comfort knowing you are golfing and gardening with the warm sun upon you."

"Her smile was contagious, and her humor will leave lasting memories in the hearts of many," her obituary says.

"She loved spending time with her children and grandchildren, of whose company she could never have too much.

"She leaves an impossible-to-fill void in our lives."

Meixsel's survivors include her parents, Perry C. and Lois Dawson Meixsel of St. Mary's, Ga.; brothers Perry D. Meixsel of White Oak, Ga., and Richard Meixsel of Charlottesville, Va.; her longtime partner, Scott Hansen, of Superior, her son, Ian McShane and daughter Kirsten Jondreau, both of Superior; seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

A service will be held in the future when the pandemic allows.

Brooks Johnson • 218-491-6496