May 19, 1951 ˜ August 1, 2020
Shirlene was born in Portland, OR to Douglas and Shirley Harding. She had three siblings; Glenn (Pat), Ken (Nancy), and Jillene (Dan).
A resident of rural Vancouver, she graduated from Evergreen High School in 1969. In 1973, Shirlene graduated from Central Washington University with a BA in Education. She also completed her graduate work at CWU.
Her first teaching assignment was for West Valley (Yakima) for 22 years. After student teaching in Apple Valley in the spring, she was hired as a 3, 4, 5 teacher in the fall and 14 years later moved to Wide Hollow and then Cottonwood to teach first and second grade. Shirlene then taught first grade in the Bend/LaPine School District for 16½ years. She took great pleasure seeing the motivation and enthusiasm the kids had for learning to read. Teaching introduced Shirlene to so many great people who became ex-students and parents who are now lifelong friends. She loved to hear kids say please and thank you. With her humble and kind demeanor, she was a super role model for children.
A milestone in her life was meeting Ron (her best friend and love of her life) at the Dairy Queen in Vancouver in 1968. This was the start of a 52-year adventure of life. They were married on September 25, 1971. Kilee, who was born 11 years later. She brought so much joy, fun, love, and laughter to their lives. Their teaching careers allowed them to spend time together creating cherished memories.
Before late onset Muscular Dystrophy slowed her down, she enjoyed backpacking, running (finishing the Yakima Half Marathon), and her favorite family sport skiing.
Ron and Shirlene were traveling soul mates. The beauty of Augusta, the blue waters of the Caribbean, and trips to Hawaii, the Rose Bowl, and Nashville were her favorites. The mention of Lahaina always brought a smile. Family trips to Disneyland, state parks in Utah, Sunriver, and Las Vegas were very special times.
She was a dedicated football coach’s wife who spent 38 years of Friday night lights. After retirement and moving to Albany to be near grandkids, Maddie and Blake, she became a Beaver Believer. Tailgating at Reser was a special family event. She also enjoyed going to women’s basketball games at OSU.
Shirlene’s most defining moments were as mom and then “Grambie.” Her love and devotion to Ron, Kilee, Adam, Blake, and Maddie were limitless. From the smallest thing like fixing a sack lunch to the grandest of all (Christmas), Shirlene always displayed her creativity to those she loved. She was a superior decorator in all endeavors the yard, the home, holidays, special events, and birthdays; all displayed her love and the importance of family. Her summers were spent on her flower gardens and baskets.
Shirlene loved the sun whether at a pool or riding in a golf cart. She loved day trips to the beach. Her scrapbooking skills were used to make memorabilia for others.
Shirlene is survived by her husband, Ron; daughter, Kilee (Adam), and grandchildren, Blake and Madelyn.
At her request, a private celebration of her life and spreading of her and Ron’s ashes will be held by Kilee and her family at later date.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Judes Children’s Hospital in Shirlene’s name.
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