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Shirley Jean Edwards - 1933-2019

On Sunday, November 10, 2019, Shirley Jean Edwards left this world to join the Lord and many of her family, friends and the angels in Heaven. Shirley was born to Ellsworth “Pete” and Melva Lucille (Keck) Gregerson (both deceased) on January 11, 1933, in Rice, Washington. She was the sister to Lee (deceased); Sharon Coleman of Oregon City, Oregon; Gary (deceased); and half-sister Sandy Nelson of Hayden Lake, Idaho. Shirley was raised in Rice, Washington. She graduated from Kettle Falls High School.

Shirley married Clarence Shoop on September 9, 1951. They moved to Edmonton, Alberta, where Clarence completed his theological studies. Shirley joined with Clarence in pastoring to six congregations during their marriage, at Ahsahka, Idaho; Fruitland, Washington; Vader, Washington; Tenino, Washington; Kendrick, Idaho; and Lind, Washington. Shirley and Clarence (deceased) divorced in 1983.

Shirley and Clarence had five children, Bennetta Shoop (Ken Morken, deceased); Darla (Bryon) Dickson; Dale (Treda) Shoop; Faith (Tom) Davis; and Nick (Debbie) Shoop. In addition, Clarence and Shirley also fostered and helped raise Alfred (Ruth) Erwick. Shirley has 14 grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild. Her grandson Bryon Dickson II was killed in the line of duty as a Pennsylvania State Trooper, September 12, 2014. 

On July 30, 1988, Shirley married Max Edwards (deceased) in Lind, Washington. She permanently moved to Grand Ronde, Oregon, in 1996 to live in the home she loved, and she resided there until October 2018, when she went to live with her daughter, Bennetta, in Tacoma, Washington. She always hoped that the move was temporary, but after suffering a fall with fractures to her hip and wrist, it became increasing clear that she would not be returning to her beloved Grand Ronde home, community and Crossroads Worship Center in Willamina, Oregon. 

She is also survived by four stepchildren, stepgrandchildren and great-stepgrandchildren.

In 1971, Shirley graduated from Lewis-Clark State College with a bachelor’s in education and in 1974 completed her master’s in secondary education with a major in English and business (computers) from the University of Idaho. She taught in Victor, Montana, then in Ritzville, Washington, until she retired in 1996. Once, a Ritzville parent noted that Shirley was called the “love teacher." When asked what that meant, the parent explained that when Shirley expected better learning outcomes or behaviors from students, she told them that what she expected and required was because she loved them.

After Shirley retired, she kept on with her education. She became a certified Bob Ross oil painting instructor and taught many classes in her studio at her home in Grand Ronde. During this time, she also joined an artist co-op in Lincoln City, Oregon, and sold many of her pieces of work through her co-op. She also was generous to her family and friends, and provided pieces of her art to them with love.

But Shirley was not finished with her education. She applied to Financial Peace University (FPU) to become an instructor. At first FPU turned down her application; it seemed they did not think someone of her age would appeal to the younger generation. Little did they anticipate the power of Shirley’s teaching ability and her amazing capacity to express her love with her teaching in such a way that drew young people to her like a magnet. Her pastor at the at time wrote an appeal letter to FPU extolling Shirley’s many gifts and talents. Financial Peace University accepted Shirley as one of their oldest teachers. She went on to teach many courses at local churches and venues, earning well-deserved praise from her students. Shirley said her only regret in life was that she did not understand in her youth and parenting years the financial principles she learned as an older adult.

Shirley also lived a dream to travel doing mission work. In 1986-1987, Shirley went to China, where she taught English as a second language for one term at Norman Bethune University in Changchun. She worked the remainder of the year in Hong Kong. While in Changchun, Shirley was an extra in the movie “The Last Emperor." Later, she traveled to Uganda and taught an art class as part of her mission. She made several trips to Mexico with family and friends as a partner in various mission works.

A viewing will be held at West Valley Funeral Home from 3 to 7 p.m. Friday, November 15, 2019. Shirley’s funeral service will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, November 16, 2019, at Crossroads Worship Center, 330 S.E. Main St., Willamina, Oregon. She will be laid to rest in the Old Rice I.O.O.F Cemetery in Rice, Washington, on Monday, November 18, 2019.

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