Remembering Shirley Ann Shepard, 1931-2017

Family and friends have said goodbye to Shirley Ann Shepard, and are sharing this remembrance with her community:

Shirley Ann (Leach) Shepard, 85, of West Seattle, passed away peacefully at home on March 31st, 2017. Born in Thief River Falls, Minnesota, on November 5th, 1931, Shirley moved to Seattle in 1952. Shirley’s caring presence touched the lives of many while working at the Admiral Way Safeway Store. After her retirement in 1997, Shirley continued playing bingo, enjoyed watching golf, reading, crossword puzzles, playing cards, and cooking for her family and friends. She was a beautiful woman, wonderful Mother who everyone gravitated toward.

As a young girl growing up in the Midwest, Shirley enjoyed many things. Some of her fondest memories were from living in Grafton, North Dakota, 1935-1945, and Fargo, 1945-1952.

Shirley would talk of her Mother’s cooking and how she never used a cookbook. The smell of her fresh-baked bread and her stew was the best. Memories of learning to drive Harold’s Buick, ice skating on the Red River, sledding and cross-country skiing – with snow being abundant, the best part of all, everything was free!

Living in Fargo, Shirley went to school at St. Anthony’s, Agazzi Middle School, and Fargo High School. While attending school she had several different jobs – Piggly Wiggly, Red Owl, and Dutch Maid, just to name a few.

Our Mom – Shirley, we were so blessed to have one the most wonderful women on this earth as our mother.

Not only was she a mother of four, Shirley was a second mom to so many people outside our family. Shirley treated everyone she met with kindness and compassion, and touched the hearts of those around her. Everyone was invited into her home, and there was always an extra helping to give. Her door was always open to anyone who needed help. She took in friends in time of need with no questions asked – just her generosity, love, and support to give. She handled the issues at home with love and understanding, never in anger, and would always give comfort while teaching a good lesson learned.

To say she was organized would be an understatement. Her home was spotless at all times, meticulously cleaned and arranged to perfection. She instilled that same trait into most of us.

At work, Shirley kept the same standards; she took care of every customer like the ultimate caregiver she was. Shirley served as the Safeway Employees Association (SEA) president for years, organizing functions and meetings for her beloved Safeway family.

As a mom, she always put her children first; even in tough times, she had money for bowling, golf rounds or a trip to the hobby shop to race, Legos, Barbie dolls for girls, and the latest 45 records.

At home, there was always a treat baked (crazy cake, cookies), Jello in the fridge, and a candy drawer fully stocked. She made sure our favorite treat was in ready supply. The neighbor kids and friends would come over and make a beeline to the candy drawer to see what treat awaited them.

Shirley was the taxi service for the boys and their teammates, taking them to baseball games or practice, to the bowling center for Saturday-morning league, and all the other sporting events or functions. She loved to play cards with the family – gin rummy, pinochle, cribbage or Skip-Bo, just to name a few. Trips to Birch Bay were a summertime ritual for the family, her favorite vacation destination to gather with our friends. Shirley didn’t mind sitting in on the occasional poker game with her sons when she came home from work, and she always won even if she wasn’t trying to. Shirley was blessed that way.

Shirley loved to give, always having time for her neighbors at her home and the apartment building which she called home for 15 years. Shirley enjoyed fixing extra meals or sending care packages to her neighbors. Shirley had so much fun with her friends on the senior bus trips to the casinos. She loved Keno and Copper Dropper!

Shirley enjoyed music. The Bee Gees were her favorite. To stay current with her children’s music tastes, she would watch MTV back in the ’80s. Later in life, she loved to watch golf and follow her favorite players. Tiger Woods and Fred Couples were at the top of the list.

Shirley would start her day with a pot of Yuban coffee, Columbo, and Matlock. She also enjoyed working her word search puzzles while she watched all the Hallmark shows, Turner Classic Movies, and various shows on Food Network. The simple things in life was all she needed to enjoy each and every day.

On her last day, we were all there to share in her passing. Hand-in-hand and in prayer, she was taken to the heavens, to share her love with family and friends who have preceded her. We couldn’t have hoped for a more beautiful passage.

We, her children, have a tough task ahead following in our mother’s footsteps, raising the bar of humanity to the highest standards. We will do our best to honor her every day, by the example she set – KINDNESS, CARING, LOVING, COMPASSION, AND, GIVING.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Harold and Emma Leach. Shirley is survived by her children Mike (Sue), Pat, Carolyn, and Deanna (Terry); brother Veron Useldinger; sister Joyce Rivinius; and brother Marvin Leach. She is also survived by three grandchildren and one great-grandchild. At her request, a small private memorial and dinner gathering was held April 9th, 2017. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to www.alivingtribute.org: Your plant-a-tree gift in memory of Shirley Shepard will support reforestation efforts in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. Condolences may be made at her online obituary.

(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to editor@westseattleblog.com)

7 Replies to "Remembering Shirley Ann Shepard, 1931-2017"

  • Kim April 11, 2017 (10:42 am)

    That is a beautiful memorial to her.  You can tell she was very loved! 

  • JanS April 11, 2017 (11:28 am)

    I so remember Shirley from Safeway all those years ago. May she rest in Paradise.

  • buttercup April 11, 2017 (1:24 pm)

    Beautiful memorial, wish I had known hey, she sounds like a wonderful person. .Prayers to you and your family.

  • Barb April 11, 2017 (4:43 pm)

    She was always so sweet and kind while working. I purposely went to her line just to chat. Shirley always seemed,to care about what I had to say, so sweet.

  • S April 11, 2017 (7:59 pm)

    She sounds like a wonderful mom and friend.  I hope I pass in a similar fashion–surrounded by loved ones.  Sending warmth to your family and those who miss her.

  • JC April 11, 2017 (11:20 pm)

    My grandmother worked at the Fargo piggly wiggly too.  You were blessed to have such an amazing Mother. I hope you find peace in all your wonderful memories. 

  • Marvin Leach April 14, 2017 (10:20 pm)

    I called Shirley about every other day and I always enjoyed our talks.  I am missing her and those phone calls now.   She was a wonderful sister and helped me a lot when I was a kid.  She even paid off my 40 Ford Couple when I couldn’t come up with the money.   I was 16 years old then.  I have lots of wonderful memories of her and I will continue to miss her a lot.   Marvin

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