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home : obituaries : obituaries May 25, 2016

5/14/2013 8:00:00 AM
Marietta E. Shirley
Sept. 10, 1918 - May 11, 2013
Marietta Shirley
Marietta Shirley

Marietta Elizabeth Wermes Shirley passed peacefully from this life to join her Lord and Savior and Blessed Mary in Heaven on May 11, 2013.

Marietta was born in Lafayette, to her parents John Bernard and Elizabeth Knox Wermes on Sept. 10, 1918.

She spent her formative years in Logansport, and married the love of her life Riley St. Elmo Shirley in 1941. Marietta and Riley lived in or near Rochester from 1956 through 2002, when they relocated to Annandale, Va. Marietta moved to her beloved casita in Corrales, N.M., in 2005 where she resided until her happy death.

Marietta was the committed and loving mother of eight children. Her deep faith in God was reflected in her laughter, quick wit, ability to forgive and acceptance of His will, compassion for all and willingness to put others before self. Her God-given gifts were mirrored in her stubborn Dutch attitude that enabled her to both survive and thrive in the midst of the many life challenges she faced.

Her ability to put others first led to a tremendously successful career as a factory worker at Torrington Manufacturing in Rochester, where her demonstrated loyalty, trust, competency and passion for life was reflected in the relationships she developed with co-workers, the leadership roles she had within the union and floor management and the high respect she earned from senior management.

She loved and was loved by those who knew her, especially her 17 grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren, and two great-great-grandchildren, who draw upon her faith, character and humor.

Marietta was a member of God's creation as a faithful Catholic and lover of God, His Son Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the Blessed Virgin Mary throughout her life. She received her first Sacrament of Baptism at St. Boniface Catholic Church in Lafayette, on Sept. 29, 1918. She received her first Sacraments of Penance, Eucharist and Confirmation in her early childhood years at St. Joseph Catholic Church and achieved academic success and graduated with honors as salutatorian at St. Joseph's Catholic School in Logansport.

She and Riley St. Elmo Shirley jointly received the Sacrament of Matrimony at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Evansville, on Feb. 6, 1941. She further received God's grace through the birth of her eight children, seven that were born from 1942 through 1953 in St. Joseph Catholic Hospital in Logansport; five of them attended St. Bridgette's Catholic School.

She routinely received the Holy Sacraments as an active member of St. Joseph's and St. Bridgette's in Logansport, from early childhood through 1956 when they moved to Fulton County. She joined St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Rochester, and often attended St. Anne's Catholic Church in Monterey, where she routinely gave and received God's love with all she met.

After her retirement as a factory worker, she received the Sacraments on a regular basis, as she seldom missed a day of Mass for over 25 years at St. Joseph's in Rochester, Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Annandale, Va., and eventually San Ysidro Parish in Corrales, N.M., where she resided at the time of her death. She received the Sacrament of Last Rites (Final Anointing) from Father Michael DePalma of San Ysidro Parish on May 9, 2013.

Marietta is survived by her sons, Richard Allen (Eleanor) Shirley of Grants, N.M., Thomas Bernard (Sherry) Shirley of St. George, Utah, Riley Keith (Virginia) Shirley, of Indiana, and Paul (Wendy) Shirley, of Albuquerque, N.M.; daughters, Anita Beth (Ronald) Gunzelman, of Lexington, S.C., and Diane Kristine (Carl) Cockrum, of Corrales, N.M.; daughter-in-law, Margo Shirley, of Salt Lake City, Utah; sister, Joan (Louis) Rusk, of Lafayette; 17 grandchildren; 16 great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren.

Marietta was preceded in death by her husband, Riley St. Elmo Shirley; father, John Bernard Wermes; mother, Elizabeth Wermes; and sons, Joseph Charles Shirley and John Michael Shirley.

Services will be held on Wednesday, May 15, 2013, at San Ysidro Parish, Corrales, N.M. Public visitation will start at 9 a.m. MST. The Holy Rosary will be prayed starting at 9:30 a.m. MST with Marietta's daughter, Diane Cockrum, reciting. A Requiem Mass will follow the Holy Rosary with Father Michael DePalma as Celebrant.

A public reception will immediately follow the mass at Hendron Hall at San Ysidro Parish.

Marietta will be interned with her proud military veteran husband and American Legion Commander Riley St. Elmo Shirley at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C., in a private ennichement ceremony.

Should friends desire, the family requests that in lieu of flowers memorial contributions be made at one or more of three organizations: WAVE Volunteer Economy Foundation,; Poor Claire Sisters, 3900 13th St. NE, Washington, D.C.; and Boys Town National,

The WAVE Volunteer Economy Foundation 501 c3 Public Charity was established following the brutal murder of Marietta's son, John Shirley, by Dr. Paul Shirley, to glorify God and promote peace and spiritual wellness in communities throughout the world. The foundation seeks to enable individual, relationship and community wellness by helping those who are willing to serve others in need obtain timely and affordable access to life's necessary resources.

Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, May 26, 2013
Article comment by: sherry long

Dear Diane and family, i am so sorry to here of your loss.. My heart and prayers are with you all at this time. I loved your mom and dad, they were a big part of my childhood, i know they are with my parents talking about all the stuff we did as kids.. and laughing ... love you.

Posted: Friday, May 24, 2013
Article comment by: Julie Bruessel

Shirley Family,
I am so sorry to hear the news about your mom. You know how much I love and adored her. Blessings with all of you.
Julie (Winterrowd) Bruessel

Posted: Friday, May 24, 2013
Article comment by: Debbie Lowe/Riddle

I am so sorry to here about your Mom! I have alot of good memories growing up with Diane when we were neighbors on Jefferson St. My prayers are with all of you!

Posted: Thursday, May 16, 2013
Article comment by: paula rockwell birkle

Dear Shirley Family,
I was so sorry to read about the passing of your Mother. She was a wonderful person. I always enjoyed visiting with her. Bless your family.

Posted: Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Article comment by: Mark Kern

Paul and Diane, I am very sorry to hear of the passing of your mom. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you at this time.

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