Shirley Louise Doane Larreau was born to Elmer and Bernice Spencer Doane on July 10, 1935 on the family farm near Cope, Colorado. She was the second daughter born into a family of seven children. She passed away peacefully at her home in Windsor with family members at her side on October 6, 2013.
She lived most of her life in Colorado, except for a short time when, at the age of two, she lived for one year in Missouri. She received her education in one rooms schools near Anton, Colorado and graduated from Cope High School in 1952. She lived at Merino and near Greeley, finally settling in Windsor, where she lived for the remainder of her life.
She was married to James Larreau in June, 1953 and to this union was born six children, Roberta, Colleen, Sheryl, Beth, Jim and Loralei. She was preceded in death by her parents and two sisters, Velma Morris and Veda Morris.
She is survived by her six children; Roberta and Jim of Windsor; Colleen Trujillo, Loveland; Sheryl of Yachats, Oregon; Beth and Loralei of Newport, Oregon; five grandchildren, Tony, Ehren, Mindy, Nicole and Kyrie and two great grandchildren; sisters Joyce Miller of Akron, CO; Bonnie Porter of Lindon, CO and Helen Mock of Colorado Springs, CO and one brother, Marion Doane of Arvada, CO.
Shirley's children wrote the following story to tell who Shirley really was:
Daughter, sister, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, friend. How do you sum up a life? Who was Shirley?
From the time we were little, we remember the rock hound. She loved beautiful rocks, stones and minerals, loved bringing them home with her. She surrounded herself with beautiful things. Wherever we lived, she planted the most beautiful and fragrant flowers around.
She loved to read a good book. She taught us all to read before we even started school. She passed her passion for books to anyone she could. Sometimes she read just for the entertainment, other times because she wanted to know. She always believed that if you wanted to know about something, you could find a book about it. Or, as she would say with her impish grin, "You could write the book about it yourself."
She loved learning about things - new things and old things, about outer space and the inner core and everything in between.
She loved to travel, to seek out new places. Over the years we got to show her some of the country. We took her to visit beaches and mountains, caves and rivers. Oceans, where she discovered that looking for seashells was as much fun as rockhounding. We showed her volcanoes and cliff dwellings, deserts and rainforests.
She loved puzzles - crosswords, jigsaws, puzzles of all kinds. She would take anything apart if it didn't work and try to puzzle out the reasons why.
She loved games. Some of our earliest memories are of games of Candyland, Old Maid, Scrabble, Trouble, Chinese Checkers. Good family fun.
She loved card games, too, and she loved teaching her children and grandchildren how to play everything from War to Solitaire.
She loved yard sales. We loved taking her to sales, watching her hunt for treasures and showing off the treasures we found.
She loved watching football, loved watching the Cowboys lose, loved watching the Broncos win. Best of all, of course, was watching the Broncos beat the Cowboys. That always brought out that trademark Shirley smile - grinning from ear to ear, her eyes sparkling like sapphires.
But all these words tell only about what she enjoyed doing. They don't really tell who she was.
Loving, sharing, stubborn, proud of her achievements, her career, her children, her grands, and her great-grands, too.
Through hard work and will, she made us a home where we always felt secure in her love. Her home has always been a safe haven for anyone in need. We brought home plenty of strays, as well as our brothers and sisters from other mothers, and there was always room in her heart and her home for everyone.
She was a fair and open-minded woman who was always willing to give anyone an even chance.
She never pushed her opinions, even when she saw the pitfalls ahead of us which we were determined to rush into. She was always there for us if we needed help picking up the pieces afterward.
She freely gave her welcome, her love, her friendship and her loyalty to the people we brought into the family as our chosen mates. All she asked was that they love and treasure her children as she thought they should be loved and treasured.
Even these words don't adequately convey who Shirley Doane Larreau really was.
Perhaps the truest measure of a person is the legacy they leave behind, the things they taught those people whose lives they touched.
She taught us to learn from our mistakes, how to look forward instead of back, how to be independent and strong.
She taught us to keep a sense of humor, and how not to be taken in.
She taught us to be open-minded, to always be willing to learn something new. She showed us how to follow our curiosity.
She taught us that love needs to be freely given in order to get it back
And, with that single look, which only a mother can do, she taught us right from wrong, how to be decent people. We learned to be people that she could admire.
Learning to go on without her will be hard, painful at times. But we have the priceless gift of her love for, and her pride in us, as well as a lifetime of precious memories.
Thank you, Mommy. We will always love you.