Shirley did not want a funeral and would be mortified by a flowery obituary. So we, her children, won’t lead with all those that passed before her because Shirley was never one to look back. Once her mind was made up she rarely, if ever, changed it. She was a woman of great strength. Driven. Loyal. Stubborn. Fair. Funny. Warm and most of all, Independent.
We can list from birth to death our Mother’s accomplishments. How she went from farm life to Nursing School. From Vancouver Island to the Rockies of Southern Alberta. Wife and Mother to single parent and working Woman. Floor Nurse at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Pincher Creek to Head of the Operating Room. Director of Nursing to the pinnacle of her nursing career as Hospital Administrator of the brand-new Pincher Creek Municipal Hospital.
Her nursing career from 1963 to her retirement in 1987 was arguably her most satisfying endeavor. She was committed, intelligent and unassuming. She loved and valued those she worked with and when asked, those that worked with her said she was one who was known for her fairness. She’d be the first one to say that’s the only way to be.
Throughout her 90 years Shirley was one to make the most of her life. Whether it was learning new skills like woodworking, ceramics, macrame or crocheting, which was a passion. Most every child and grandchild have a treasured blanket or two. She was not one to be idle if she could help it and her passion for gardening would remain a lifelong obsession. And we mean obsession. When she moved back to Vancouver Island so her mother could remain on the homestead, she took up square dancing. She also went back to working the floor as an RN in an extended care facility, because she could. She’d have her grandchildren come out to the coast for summer holidays and spoil them because she could. She was terribly fond of cats. She loved them and let them drink out of her water glass. But the one thing we as her family will forever remember is that Shirley made Christmas. She loved to decorate (like lots and lots). She was an expert tree decorator, and her particular talent was the tinsel and angel hair. She made amazing Chinese food for Christmas Eve; really, really, good Chinese food. Even though in her later years she wasn’t able to decorate quite as spectacularly or make the Chinese food, she still ordered it in. She was particularly fond of the lemon chicken among other dishes from the Bright Pearl in Pincher Creek. Christmas just won’t be the same without her. In her later years physical issues would bring challenges that her stubborn self would try to defy. But she would rarely turn down a trip to Waterton Park to look for bears. To have a picnic or go for ice cream, or both! She’d be waiting in her chair for Russ and Anne to show up and take her away.
Shirley had what some would consider a non-conventional family (go figure) and she loved us dearly. Beyond our Mother she was a Stepmother figure and mentor; a Grandmother and Friend; Great-Grandmother and Auntie; Daughter and Sister. Those in her family were blessed by her strength and independence, her generous spirit and no-nonsense attitude. She’d crack you up with her mischievous character and wit. Stubborn, yup, she was stubborn. To say we were collectively proud to have known her would be an understatement.
So in the end it’s the people in one’s life that make that life meaningful. These are those that made Shirley’s life full:
Preceded in death by her father Tuffy in 1963, her mother Rachel in 2000; her much loved sister Agnes in 2020; and her Son-in-law Robert in 1995.
Children: Lila, Russel (Anne, whom Shirley thought of as her daughter) and Tammy (Marty).
Grandchildren: Kevin (Kat), Carrie (Kenn) and Kristy(Landon). Chrystal. And great grandson Tristyn.
11 nieces and nephews: Laurie (Bill) and Jan (Lucky). Lorinda (Russ), Darrel (Laura) and Sheralyn (Ray). Don (Gail) Rob and Shar (Rod). Brent (Lucy), Lorna (John) and Bruce.
Shirley also had a very special bond with the following Pettersen family whom she would want to be recognized: Lorentz, Cindy, Vaughn (Pauline), Kenny (Susan), Cheryl and Tanya (Alan) and their families.
In lieu of flowers the family would ask that you make a donation to the Pincher Creek Humane Society (P.O. Box 2647 Pincher Creek, AB T0K 1W0) in her honor.
We started this by saying that Shirley would not want a flowery obituary - laugh’s on you Ma!!!
To send flowers to Shirley's family, please visit our floral store.