Shirley Ann (Groves) Roman GARY, IN - Shirley Ann (Groves) Roman was born in 1928 in Coraopolis, PA. She passed away peacefully on May 15, 2020. Shirley was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Frank Vincent Roman, Sr., her parents Margaret Groves ("Nana") and Roy Groves, and brother Roy ("Buzz"). She is survived by her son Frank, Jr (Joni Burns), daughter Meg, beloved grand-daughters Leah (Andrew) Trepel and Shelby Roman, dear cousins Helen (Donahoe) Sullivan, Larry Hall, Gwen Hall, sister-in-law Carol Groves, and several nephews and nieces. Shirley grew up in Racine, WI before moving to Gary, IN where she graduated from Emerson High School. She met football quarterback Frank in high school but he was headed to WWII. They reunited when Shirley attended DePauw University and Frank attended Wabash College, where Shirley had the unique honor of being chosen the very first "Sweetheart of Sigma Chi". They married in 1952. Mrs. Roman taught elementary school in Gary and then 20+ years teaching first grade at Crisman in Portage. She was an active mom and loved taking her children to the beach, to music lessons, was Brownie leader and Boy Scout troop supporter, and always organized enriching family vacations. She was a force for good and change in her community and fierce protector of the lake, dunes and woods, and the unique Miller community. Shirley served on many committees and organizations including Save the Dunes, Miller Citizens Corporation, Methodist Hospital Auxiliary, Alpha Chi Omega Alumni, University Club, PEO, Junior League and Knitwits (local knitting club). She was also intricately involved with Marquette Park United Methodist Church for six decades. Shirley and Frank were avid gardeners, and Shirley especially loved birding. They also loved to travel including to Ana Maria Island, FL and cross-country skiing in Aspen, CO and Europe. Pre-Club Med, they went to Jamaica, Bahamas and famously slept in John Wayne's bedroom in his Acapulco villa! They visited her ancestral home in Scotland and visited Meg in the UK several times. Shirley particularly loved local art and commemorated every trip with a piece for her ever-growing collection! They also loved the culture of Chicago, including "Da Bears," Art Institute, the symphony, and Marshall Fields' Walnut Room was one of her favorite destinations. "Shirl Girl's" friends (esp. "The Elderberries") were incredibly important and she and Frank were very social, celebrating anything they could think of with their famous cocktail parties! Later in life, Shirley and Frank moved into Rittenhouse Senior Living. The family thanks the staff there, as well as the staff of Harbor Light Hospice, for the gracious care given to Shirley and for laughing at her jokes until the end. Shirley was passionate, curious, witty, and creative. Somewhat formal, but not fussy. She could set a beautiful table for dinner, and then run into the backyard to spray down a bunch of sandy kids after a day at the beach. Given the circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, for now, a small family service will be held at Burns Funeral Home in Hobart with burial at Calumet Park Cemetery on Wednesday May 20, 2020. A Celebration of Life will be held to honor her as soon as it's possible. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Friends of Marquette Park/Legacy Foundation, with this memo on the check: "Roman Family Memorial Bench", P.O. Box 2645, Gary, IN 46403. Gifts can also be made to Marquette Park Methodist Church, 215 N. Grand Blvd, Gary, IN 46403, or to the Alzheimer's Association, 225 N. Michigan Ave., Fl. 17, Chicago IL 60601 or online at:http://act.alz.org/goto/Shirl_Girl.
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Published in The Times on May 19, 2020.