Shirley Harris, 83, of Bowling Green, passed away on the morning of Friday, September 23, 2022, at Woodhaven Health Care, Bowling Green, with her children at her side. She was born on November 11, 1938, in Dubach, LA, and loved that her birthday became a patriotic national holiday. She married Larry Harris in 1961, and while they later divorced, they remained life-long friends, sharing in holidays and birthday celebrations, including with his second wife, Doris Beck.
She is survived by her children Debbie (Thad) Long, Becky (Eric) Schuerman, and Martin Harris and his special friend Rose, along with six grandchildren, Connor, Rachel, and Thomas Long, Amanda (Brad) McBride, Emma and Nick Schuerman, and two great-grandchildren, Becca and Cassie McBride.
As a child, Shirley preferred the outdoors, driving tractor with her dad and playing games in the fields and woods with her multitude of nearby cousins. She attended nursing school after high school but returned home to care for her disabled mother before graduating. Eventually, she attended nursing school in St. Louis, where she met Larry, and married while she was still a student. They lived in Houston, TX, Rochester, NY, and Portland, OR before moving to northwest Ohio.
When Shirley’s children were young, she babysat and took in ironing jobs. She and Larry were foster parents to several special needs children over the years. After the family moved to Bowling Green in 1973, she worked at JC Penney in downtown Bowling Green. She was thrilled to graduate from nursing school at the age of 45 in 1983. She worked in a variety of positions, rounding out her career as the nursing supervisor at Woodhaven, retiring in 2003.
She loved to travel and returned frequently to Michigan, Shipshewana, and Cancun. She was a reader, quick to laugh, and relished nothing more than spending time with her three children, whom she adored. (We suspect the real light of her life, though, was her dog, Toby, who preceded her in death in 2021. She was never quite the same after he died.)
In 2019, she became a resident at Woodhaven with Toby when an Alzheimer’s diagnosis prevented her from living independently. Toby and Shirley made fast friends with the other residents, and she was reunited with employees she had supervised years earlier. Several of the current Woodhaven staff still fondly remembered Shirley for her loving patient care, professionalism, and perfectly-made-bed requirements.
There will be no funeral service and memorial contributions may be made to Bridge Hospice or Woodhaven Health Care.