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(1920 – 2014)

Elizabeth Shirley passed away peacefully at the age of 94 on April 29th. She was preceded in death by her son John and Howard, her husband of 65 years. She is survived by her children James (Maureen) Shirley and Linda (John) Mattson, four granddaughters and five great grandchildren.

Elizabeth was born on February 21, 1920, in Roundup, Montana to Leo and Mabel Simpson. She grew up in Ft. Wayne Indiana along with her two older brothers. She graduated from Purdue University with a B.A. in Home Economics in 1941. She worked as an assistant dietitian for the University of Wisconsin from 1941 to 1945.

In 1945 she joined the American Red Cross Field Service. The job involved setting up and running recreational clubs for service men stationed in Europe or the pacific. She was sent to Germany. She sailed to Europe, in her words, in great style on the Queen Elizabeth. It was in Germany where she et the love of her life, Howard Shirley. They were married on July 13, 1946 in Ft. Wayne and their honeymoon brought her to her new home in southern California.

Her new family welcomed her with love and warmth. She settled in to her new life and quickly became involved with the community. Post war Canoga Park was an amazing town, so many new experiences. She enjoyed working for a small weekly newspaper as society editor.

Her family was always her first priority. She loved being a wife, a mom and later a grandmother. She was always there for her family with incredible strength, love and hugs. No matter what the crisis, she could fix it. She did Girl Scouts, YMCA events, PTA, Church youth group trips and attended many soccer and basketball games, watching her granddaughters play. While her children were in school, she continued her education receiving her teaching credential from San Fernando Valley State College, now CSUN. She enjoyed substituting in junior and senior high.

She continued her involvement within the community joining the Woman's Club (juniors and seniors) Valley Presbyterian Hospital Guild and working for her church, Canoga Park Presbyterian. One of her most loved projects was starting the Canoga-Owensmouth Historical Society beginning with the Canoga Park Woman's Club records. She also proudly supported and stood behind her husband in his many civic activities.

When she and Howard became empty nesters they traveled the world with friends and family. They enjoyed many wonderful adventures together along with some unforgettable experiences. When not traveling, they spent time with their children and grandchildren.

Elizabeth will be deeply missed by her family and many friends. Memorial services will be performed at the Canoga Park Presbyterian Church, 22103 Vanowen St., Canoga Park, 2:00 p.m., on Friday May 9, 2014.
Published in Los Angeles Daily News on May 7, 2014
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