CLOSSON, Shirley Mae
Born Shirley Mae Jones in Wisconsin on February 6, 1929. Passed from this life on August 26, 2012, in Sacramento, surrounded by her children and caregivers, after a long and very courageous battle with cancer. Preceded in death by her parents, Mabel and Cleo Jones, former husband Ernest Closson, and numerous cherished friends and relatives. Survived by her children, Robert Closson and Cheryl Closson, daughter-in-law Judy Closson, grandson Connor Closson, brother Vern Jones, sister-in-law Gloria Jones, niece Sandra Jones, nephew Derek (Erika) Jones, and beloved friends and relatives still with us.
Shirley spent her early childhood in the Great Lakes region of the United States and enjoyed summers spent with her family and cousins at Cedar Lake, WI. The family later moved to Northern California, first to Oroville then to Sacramento where Shirley graduated from Sacramento Senior High School in 1947. She then earned her Associate of Arts degree in 1950 from Sacramento Junior College, majoring in art.
Throughout her life, Shirley was an excellent athlete and especially loved swimming, tennis and dance. As a child, Shirley and her brother Vern performed in song and dance revues in Wisconsin and Illinois. She later took up tap again in her 60's and performed with a local Sacramento women's tap group.
As a young adult in Sacramento, Shirley and her close friends enjoyed local dances and working summers at Strawberry Lodge and in the Bijou area of South Lake Tahoe. She later became a swim instructor and life guard in Sacramento, where she met her future husband, US Air Force Master Sergeant Ernest Closson. They married in 1951 and Shirley served her country as a military spouse while Ernie was deployed overseas during the Korean War and later stationed in California and Texas, providing support at home and raising their two children.
Shirley started her own career later in life, working first in banking in both Alameda and Sacramento, then in real estate in Sacramento, and finally as an accountant for the State of California at the Employment Development Department (EDD). Shirley was very proud of her service with the State of California and retired from EDD in 2001 after over 16 years of service.
In retirement, Shirley was an accomplished artist who was well known to her family and friends for her original, hand-painted cards and crafts. She took pride in her home and enjoyed having friends and family over. All her life she loved being around cats and dogs, most recently sharing her home with her beloved cat Bijou, and always welcoming neighbor dogs with treats.
Shirley enjoyed travelling and even during the years of fighting cancer she made trips to New York and Indian Wells to watch professional tennis, and visited Hawaii, Crater Lake, San Francisco, and Yosemite. Even treatment appointments at Stanford became opportunities to visit Half Moon Bay and take walks along the beach.
Shirley was known by all as a nice, kind, considerate, and gentle soul. She was friendly, optimistic, and always tried to find the positive in every circumstance. She will be deeply missed by all. Shirley wished to be cremated and a private family memorial will be held later this month. For those who knew her, Shirley would want you to please celebrate her life in the way that is most meaningful to you and to always remember her with love, joy and laughter.
Published in The Sacramento Bee on Oct. 7, 2012