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OLSON, Shirley Irene (nee Szpitun)

May 4, 1965 – Isserlohn, Germany
April 15, 2015 – Okotoks, Alberta

It is with sadness of a beautiful life ended and joy of a life lived beautifully that we announce the passing of Shirley Irene Olson.

Shirley was the beloved wife of Darren; mother of Thomi and Kiefer; sister to Sharon (Tom) and Susan (Bobby); daughter of Rocky and her late mother Irene. She was the sister-in-law of Lorrie (Ernie), Julie (Warren), Kim (Terry), Darcy (Sarah); and daughter-in-law to Vern and his late wife Shirley. She was a loving aunt to Adam, Kirk, Tyler, Jarryd, Josh, Nick, Jake, Kyra, Jensen, Jordan and Jackie; and great-aunt to Sayge, Jaielle and Liam.

Shirley was a teacher for twenty-three years. She started her career in education at Notre Dame College in Wilcox, Saskatchewan. She was a teacher, administrator, coach, mentor and role model. She loved, supported, challenged and guided her girls in Edith Hall dorm, as well as the numerous girls she coached in basketball and rugby. She spent the last seven years of her career with the Calgary Catholic School District.

Shirl’s greatest passions were her beautiful children, Thomi and Kiefer, and her husband of twenty-eight years, Darren. She is eternally proud of the people that her children have become. They are compassionate, caring, strong, and empathetic and blessed with a great sense of humour, just like their mother. Thomi and Kiefer are the best part of Shirley and they will forever live a life that honours her spirit.

Shirley impacted the lives of so many – her big heart, passion for others and unmatchable sense of humour allowed for many special friends, colleagues and students in her life. They were an integral part of who she was – she felt blessed to love the people she did.

We miss you already.

A Celebration of Shirley’s Life will be held at Peace Lutheran Church (14640 – 6th Street S.W.) on Saturday, April 18, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. Forward condolences through www.mcinnisandholloway.com. If friends so desire, memorial tributes may be made directly to the Foothills Country Hospice Society, P.O. Box 274, Okotoks, AB, T1S 1S1, Telephone: (403) 995-4673, www.countryhospice.org.

In living memory of Shirley Olson, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Fish Creek, 14441 BANNISTER ROAD S.E. Telephone: 403-256-9575.

Offer Condolence for the family of OLSON, Shirley Irene (nee Szpitun)

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Condolence Messages

  1. Mike and Karen Gregory, Dallas, Texas

    Darren. Thanks for the loving care you two gave to Patrick, aka “Turkey Head”, as house parents during his time in Wilcox and the first time away from home. We still look at the pictures every now and then. Your loss is also a loss to many in the Notre Dame Family

    Mike

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  2. Mary Dawn Smith

    Darren, Thomi, and Keifer,
    We are so sorry for your loss. Shirley is probably one of the best people we have had the pleasure of knowing. We remember very well and with a smile how she handled a situation in the dorm with Keenan and another student. She had such an awesome way of communicating with the students and parents. Our thoughts and our prayers are with you at this most difficult time.
    Ken, Mary Dawn, Jarrett and Keenan Smith

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  3. Donn & Mae Farrer

    Darren & Family: Just a note to stay how sorry we were to hear of Shirley’s passing. Both you and Shirley were such a big part of our son Roy’s ND experience. She really believed in her kids at ND, and Roy is a better man because of her love and guidance. Our thoughts and prayers are with you, Thomi and Kiefer at this difficult time. Know that she made a huge difference in Roy’s life, and the lives of all the students who had the privilege of knowing her.

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  4. To Mr. D. Olsen, Thomi & Keifer,
    My condolences to your loss. May God give you all the wisdom and strength as you go through this difficult moment. As the music teacher at St. Stephen, Shirley was one of the first teachers to make me feel welcome, a teacher who cared about her students and a great teller of jokes during our lunch period. Her “works” will follow her and may we keep them in our memories. Strength and blessings.

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  5. Darren, Thomi and Kiefer
    I am so very sorry for your loss. Shirley will be missed by so many. She was was the kind of person that made everyone feel special. Coaching and teaching with her was one of the highlights of my career. The fun and laughs we had will never be forgotten (especially some of the inventive language and the discussions about certain referees). Shirley left footprints on my heart and I am a better person for having known her. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

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  6. Dear Darren, Thomi, and Kiefer,
    My sincerest sympathy to you at this very difficult time. Shirley was nothing short of a super hero. She positively affected the lives of anyone lucky enough to have the opportunity to cross her path. Shirley gave me an abundance of amazing memories which will live forever in my heart. It is, and has been, a true blessing to be able to call the Olson Family friends of mine. May you find comfort in the support of all those whom have been so positively affected by Shirley’s generous love.
    Sending much love and support always,
    Jillian

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  7. Deb Cowman &Keith Cowman

    Dear Darren & family:

    We are sorry for your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Shirley will be greatly missed, she touched and positively influenced many people. All our love.

    The Cowman family

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  8. Lee and Lorraine Eckstrand

    To Darren, Thomi and Keifer:
    You and Shirley have always held a special place in our hearts. Shirley as a house-parent to our daughter and later as a friend. Our hearts go out to you and your family during this difficult time. Hopefully knowing Shirley touched so many lives in so many ways will help to ease your pain.

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  9. Tim and Dawn Dort

    Darren, Thomi and Kiefer,
    Our family was very saddened to hear of Shirley’s passing. We attended Central Memorial together in the eighties and then had the pleasure of having her have an impact on two of our children’s lives while they attended Notre Dame. Jeff and Jennifer thought Shirley was one of the best at Notre Dame. She will be greatly missed by all who loved her and all who ever met her. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all during this difficult time.

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  10. Sarah (Howald) Hodges

    Darren, Thomi, and Kiefer-

    I am so sorry for your loss – Shirley was a ray of sunshine in a somewhat dreary Edith Hall! She touched so many lives and certainly made an impact in her time. Thinking of you all.

    Sarah Howald

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  11. Dawn (Buffam) Kaysoe

    Shirley was a high school friend who always had a smile for everyone she met. We certainly had some good times and ones I will fondly remember. Her sense of humour and zest for life was contagious. My sincere condolences to her family, friends and students. She will be missed!

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  12. Heather Vessio, Toronto

    Sincere Condolences to Darren and family. My two sisters and I had the honour of meeting Darren and family members at the Foothills Country Hospice over several weeks while we were with our Dad, who passed on April 4th. The hospice made an unbearable situation more bearable. So sorry for your loss.

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  13. My condolences for your loss. The outpouring of support from your family, friends and the Notre Dame Family really show what a difference she made in the lives of everyone she touched over the years. Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this time.

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  14. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this time of loss. Shirley will clearly be missed by all who knew her.

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  15. Dennis and Debbie Ulmer and family

    Darren and family,
    Our thoughts and prayers are with you and yours during this time of great loss.

    God Bless you all.

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  16. Terry & Corinne Simpson

    Darren and family,
    Our deepest sympathy and condolences. You are in our prayers and thoughts at this difficult time.

    Corinne, Terry, Matt, Jay and Ryan

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  17. My deepest sympathy during such a sad time. I knew Shirley and Darren at Notre Dame and met her again a few years ago where she was teaching. My prayers are with her children and Darren. There is another angel in Heaven looking down on us.

    Such a great loss – With deepest sympathy,
    -Simone

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  18. Dear Darren, Thomi and Kiefer,
    I am so sorry to hear of Shirley’s passing. My heart goes out to you all. Please know you will be in my prayers.

    -Shauna

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  19. Dear Darren,
    It is with shock that I read about your wife’s passing in the ND update. Please accept my deepest sympathies and I wish you and your children all the strength and courage necessary through this tough time.

    Sincerely,

    Michel Carrier, 94
    Luctor et Emergo

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  20. Fiorina Esposito

    I’m sorry to hear about this loss. Thoughts and prayers go to all her family and friends.

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  21. Nicole Davies, Detroit, MI

    Darren,Thomi and Keifer,
    I was fortunate that my sister Sarah married Darcy and I was able to get to know your beautiful and loving family. I will repeat what I shared with Jordan, “…..you are so sad because there was so much love”. My thoughts are with you.

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  22. Bill Bonnie Humphreys

    We were blown away with the news of Shirl’s passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with Oly, Thomi and Kiefer. Shirl was a great colleague, teacher and friend to us. Words cannot describe our feelings in this situation.

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  23. Darren, Thomi, Kiefer,
    It is with a very heavy heart I write this. I had a difficult few days in class, as I now teach in the classroom that Shirley taught in . She loved art and had fun teaching it for a little while and even made up some of the instruction charts for the kids that I use to this day.
    I still hear Shirley’s voice and laugh and remember our good times her positive and supportive chats with me when I had down days. Shirley could always make me laugh with her unique brand of humor. She was a beautiful woman inside and out, and I remember her first days at Notre Dame, as I had just arrived the year previous. When I see your house across the street from mine I remember your family and you are all missed. Please accept my prayers and thoughts at this this tragic time, that God will you give you some peace and strength to work through these difficult days. You know that the whole school prays for your family constantly over the last few months and weeks and that your histories of dedication will always be remembered here.

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  24. Muriel Hoffman

    I was so saddened to read about Shirley’s passing. I worked with her when I was at St.Stephen’s. She was a kind person and will be missed!
    My heart goes out to you Darren and Thomi and Kiefer.
    Muriel Hoffman
    Calgary

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  25. Stephane Gauvin

    Dear Oly,
    Both Vivian and I were saddened to hear of Shirley’s passing. Vivian has many fond memories of her days at the U of R with Shirley and I found her to be a fantastic woman. We are thinking of you in these tough times.

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  26. Darren, hold on to the memories. I pulled out the ’88 book to remember my favorite photo of you as a proud father and, with a heavy heart, I write today. Shirley’s warmth, love, living faith, and her very direct way of dealing with whatever life handed her have been silenced but her legacy remains. Hug the important people in your life. Luctor et emergo.

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  27. I am so very sad for your family. Shirley was truly a bright light at her school. She was loved and respected by absolutely everyone. She always had a smile and time for anyone who needed a cheerful bit of encouragement. She will always be remembered fondly by everyone who knew her.

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  28. Chris Gonzalez

    Darren/Oly and family,
    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this difficult time.
    I want to thank your family for everything you did for me when I was at Notre Dame.

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  29. Audrey Rosquillo

    I’d like to extend my sincere condolence to the family. I am one of the students Mrs. Shirley Olson taught at St. Stephen back in 2008. She was my homeroom teacher in grade 8 as well as my art teacher. She was a great woman, very passionate about her work and I know she was an awesome and respected mother as well as a teacher. I’d like to thank her for all the effort, love and care she shared with her students, and she will forever be remembered…

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  30. Chantal Davies (nee Chantal Soucy)

    I want to start off by saying with a heavy heart that I am so sorry for your loss. I had the pleasure of knowing Mrs. Olson as my wonderful teacher in Junior high at St. Stephens when I was in grade 9, I am almost 21 now. I want to let your family know how much she meant to me and changed my life, even if it was only for a year. She believed in me when no other teacher did, and show cased my work for the school to prove to me my work was something great, she always pushed me to be better,do better and believe in myself, and she helped me out of a really bad time personally, wheather she knew it or not just by reaching her hand out. She changed how I felt about myself, she was more than just a teacher to me, she was the highlight of my day. She was a wonderful woman and even me, a student from a long time ago, will miss her greatly. At such a hard time, I hope you all make it through and just know she will be remembered and cherished by many.

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  31. Many condolences – I was so sorry to hear this news. I worked with Shirley at St Stephen’s from 2011-2013 and thoroughly enjoyed her positive outlook and sense of humour when dealing with some challenging students. She has been missed at the school and will be remembered by those who had the pleasure of working with her. I’ll keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

    Tanya Bartram, CSSD Behaviour Consultant

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  32. Peter and Ellen Jordan

    Our hearts are with Darren, Thomi and Keifer and the rest of the Olson family in this time of great sadness. Love to all.

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  33. Sylvia Munro-Smith (Kolopenuk)

    Darren, Thomi, and Keifer,
    Words cannot express how shocked and saddened our family is to hear of Shirley’s passing. You all were a very important part of our lives in Wilcox, and, while the passage of time since then has seen life changes and moves for both our families, I’ve never forgotten Shirley or how important her friendship was to me. Please know that you are all in our thoughts and prayers. May the wonderful memories you have of your beautiful wife and mother sustain you through these difficult days.

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  34. joanne duane mcclellen

    Darren, we are so, so sorry for your loss. May she rest in peace.

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  35. Darren and family:
    We are saddened to hear of your loss. I can remember Mom and Dad speaking so fondly of your family. I hope time will heal and you will remember the many good times you shared together. She will be missed by all who knew her.

    Dale and Vicki Malden (Germann)

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  36. Dr. Joel Cormier, Richmond, KY

    Dear Darren,

    Like the many Hounds around the world, I was both shocked and saddened on hearing of Shirl’s passing. She certainly be remembered for her ability to bring a smile on the face to not only her students, but also the staff, in particular, on those long days on the Prairies teaching, coaching, and living in the dorms. Her energy and passion will always be remembered on how to best serve others. My deepest condolences to you and your family in your time of grief.

    -Joel

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  37. I am sorry for your loss. Although I never met Shirley or your children, my heart goes to you and your kids. Darren,you were a very important part of my life at the time you took care of us in the late 80’s in the Chopper dorm. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this difficult time.

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  38. Len and Mavis Grenier

    Darren, Thomi, and Kieffer
    We offer our deepest heart felt condolences for your loss, know that you are in our thoughts and prayers . I am so thank full that I got to see you all, this past winter, and will cherish the memory of that day as we all sat in the Arizona room sipping our Carona Ritas.
    I especially appreciate that familial connection that we share.

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  39. Sean-Paul Boynton

    Shirley was always such a welcoming and fun presence whenever us Mount Royal journalism delinquents would find ourselves at the Olson home. When I found out she was a teacher, I remember thinking it made a lot of sense, then wished I was young enough to have been a student of hers. That’s a small regret compared to the one I have for not getting to know her better while she was here. Those few interactions were more than enough to leave a lasting impression, however, which speaks to how special she was, and is. Thoughts of love and comfort to you all.

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  40. Darren and family, you are in my thoughts. I’m so sorry for your loss.

    Zelda (Nico’s Mom)

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  41. Dean Moore '91 (Deano)

    My most sincere thoughts and prayers go out to Darren and the rest of the Olson family at this time….from all of us who were privileged enough to have experienced Shirley’s zest for life and be in her presence, even if only for a moment. I want to give thanks to God for providing us with such a precious gift, as all of our lives’ were touched so deeply and since made richer from that moment on because of this blessing. Shirley left this world a better place just by being a part of it and will be sadly missed by us all…..always in my thoughts and forever in my prayers…
    With love always,
    Dean Moore ’91

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  42. Most sincere condolences to all the family . Shirley was a very accomplished and caring lady who
    gave so much of herself to aid others . Her legacy will live on through what she taught others – often by example .

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  43. Meghan K. Lees

    I first met Shirley 17 years ago at Notre Dame. It was my first year at the school and grade 12 no less! I have nothing but found memories of that school and especially Shirley. I was completely homesick when I first arrived at ND and she made me feel so at ease and at home there. I will always hold a special place in my heart for her. I am so incredibly sorry for your loss Darren, Thomi and Kiefer. My deepest sympathies. xo

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  44. Darren, Thomi, and Kiefer,

    Our deepest condolences on losing your wife and mother. Shirl was a great friend, supportive colleague, and a champion of so many students over her career. I feel very lucky to have had her in my life. She had such a love of life and sense of humour. She was always easy to be around. We watched her battle cancer with strength and grace. We were blessed to share in her journey. God bless,
    Kirk, Leila, and and the boys

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  45. I am the Librarian at Father Doucet Elementary School where Shirley’s sister Sharon Brinsmead is our Principal. Sharon has conveyed to her staff what a dynamic and beautiful person Shirley was and how important she was to Sharon. Along with myself and my family, we send our heartfelt condolences to Shirley’s sister Sharon (Tom), Shirley’s husband Darren and their children Thomi and Kiefer. Keep your eyes up and walk lightly.

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  46. Greg and Norine

    Dear Darren, Thomi, Kiefer,
    We share in your sorrow the loss of a wonderful woman, wife, and mother. Shirley was such a loving, caring and giving person. We will remember most, her beautiful smile and her laugh. Our thoughts and prayers go out to you at this time. God bless you

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  47. Kevin Chartrand '91 (Charts)

    Dear Darren (Oly) and family,
    My sincere condolences for the loss of Shirley. I was deeply saddened to receive the news on my way from Calgary to Winnipeg. For some reason, while I haven’t seen you for a few years now, I was thinking of you just the day before. I’m pretty sure my first year at the College was also yours – all of us quite young starting a new adventure. Hold on to all the good times you all shared together and remember how blessed you were to have shared that time. While I can’t physically be with you now to celebrate Shirley’s life; know that you, Shirley, Kiefer and Thomi are in my thoughts and prayers.

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  48. Barry and Diana MacKenzie

    Diana and I are so sorry to hear of Shirley’s death. We were unaware of her battles but know she would have handled these last few months with dignity and grace. We have nothing but extremely positive and fond memories of working with her at Notre Dame. She was a conscientious self starter who endeared herself to the students. Ollie, Thomi and Kiefer our thoughts are with you. All the best in dealing with this very difficult time.

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  49. Greg Pelletier

    Darren, Thomi, and Kiefer

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you in these trying times. Although I only met Shirley a few years ago, the impact that she left on the Notre Dame family along with Darren, Thomi and Kiefer is a significant one. Having watched Kiefer play a bit of CIS Football in Regina, and then to connect with him again last Fall during his internship at Notre Dame, it became evident that the apple does not fall far from the tree….
    Kiefer brought passion, enthusiasm, a sense of humour and dependability to the classroom, and this carried over the football field when he helped coach the Hounds last Fall. These are all similar traits I constantly hear regarding Shirley and Darren and what they meant to staff and students alike at Notre Dame.
    Shirley lived a life that is to be celebrated.
    Godspeed, and my sincere condolences.

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  50. Alana Valde (nee La Haye)

    Darren, Thomi and Kiefer,

    With deepest sympathy from my family to yours. So sorry to hear of Shirley’s passing. I am Trena’s younger sister and am so lucky to have known your wife/mother through the amazing friendship that Trena and Shirley shared over the years starting in High School. My earliest memory of Shirley is as a kid sitting on my sister’s bed and watching Trena and her girlfriends getting ready to go out. I remember the pretty, tall, blonde friend with the beautiful smile – Shirley. The fun and laughter Shirley shared with others will never be forgotten, as my sister speaks of it often to me. “Loved ones live on in the words they said, in lives they touched and in the happiness we feel every time we remember them.” Sincerest Condolences.

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  51. Darren and Family,

    I will never forget my “email friendship ” with Shirley upon returning back to work from my cancer battle. We instantly connected and Shirley made me realize just how lucky I was that I was fighting the good fight and winning. It was evident from the start of our friendship that family was Shirley’s pride and joy. I will continue to fight the good fight and will never forget how your beautiful wife and mother, helped me get through my own personal battle . Heaven is so lucky to have her .

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  52. Darla Isaak (Nolan)

    Darren,
    So very sorry to hear of Shirley’s passing. This is very sad news indeed.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this very difficult time.
    God Bless you.
    Darla
    Saskatoon, SK

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  53. Rick and Carol Schwartz family

    Wishing the family comfort and peace as they grieve the loss of their amazing mother, wife, friend. Shirley will be missed by all that knew her – her love of life never forgotten.

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  54. I am so sorry to hear of Shirley’s death. I have many fond memories of our time together. Please be assured of my prayers. Fr. b.

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  55. Gerry and Pam Hahn

    Darren, Thomi, and Kiefer

    Our deepest sympathy. May Shirley’s memory be a Blessing to you.

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  56. Thinking of you and your family Oly. I have fond memories of you and Shirley.

    -Tyler Rice ND 91

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  57. Darren,
    I am so sorry for your loss. May your wife rest in peace and look down on you and your family always.

    sincerely,

    Sam Aiello

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  58. Tannis Dorscht

    Darren and Family,
    I was devastated to hear about your loss, sometimes in life there are no explanations for the journeys we must take. In the months and years to come you will find you sorrow replaced with smiles as your precious memories held near to your heart sneak up on you when you least expect it. Know that your wife and mother will never be far away. Sincere condolences.

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