Shirley Smith
Shirley Smith

Obituary of Shirley Smith

~~On August 19, 2017, while resting peacefully in her Clarkdale residence with family, Shirley Ann Smith was summoned by the Lord to her heavenly home.  Shirley was born to James and Margaret Newell in Charlotte, NC.  Her family moved to California where she graduated from San Fernando High School and then LA County General Hospital Nursing School.  Shirley loved knitting, reading and beautiful music; she played the piano and sang in numerous choirs and ensembles her entire life.  When she sang a solo one Sunday at San Fernando Free Methodist Church, she caught the attention of a young man named Clair Francis Smith.  They were married on Christmas Day of 1954.  The couple moved to Clair’s home state of Pennsylvania in 1958.  Daughter Marcella was born that year, followed by daughter Dianne in 1961.  Shirley later earned a BSN degree from Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania and an MSN from the University of Pennsylvania.  In 1980, she accepted a position as Clinical Specialist in Oncology at the VA Medical Center in Wilkes-Barre, PA. She pioneered and implemented an inpatient hospice program there, as well as an outpatient chemotherapy clinic and various counseling and educational services.  She also chaired committees for cancer care programs and medical ethics as well as drafting policy for these programs.  She attended and was a guest speaker at numerous hospice meetings locally, nationally and internationally. She felt privileged to meet people like Mitch Albom, Victor Frankl, and Cecily Saunders.  After her retirement in 1997, she served as Educational Consultant for the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association, authored the award-winning book, “Hospice Concepts: A Guide to Palliative Care in Terminal Illness” and also established a free medical clinic at her church.  Shirley’s greatest aspiration and ministry goal was to be “a good wife, a good mom and a good nurse”. She fulfilled this goal with surpassing beauty and grace. Clair and Shirley provided a special and memorable childhood for their daughters, taking them on countless camping trips, both locally and across the United States.  Shirley loved being at the ocean and many treasured family memories were built at Assateague National Seashore, where they enjoyed seeing the wild ponies on the beach.  Shirley lived in Clarkdale, AZ for the last 12 years, where she was an active volunteer in the community and as a member of St. Thomas Episcopal Church.  She is survived by Clair, her beloved husband for nearly 63 years, her daughters Marcella (Ralph) Gilson and Dianne (Ed) Lung, her sister Mary (Marvin) Estes, and brothers Bill (Sandy), Bob (Betty) and John (Sue) Newell, grandchildren David and Bethany, and scores of additional family and friends across the country and around the world.

As Wife you were virtuous and true, faithful and unconditionally loving
As Mother you joyfully nurtured and comforted us; may God comfort us in your absence
As Sister you cared deeply for your family
As Nurse you were knowledgeable, wise, and compassionate
As Friend you opened your home to many, welcoming them as family

You will be missed at every family Scrabble game and puzzle table!

Shirley was a giver… of love, of time and of patience. We will miss her smile, her laughter and her wisdom, but we have the sure and certain hope that she is in the loving presence of Jesus.  She loved and served Him all her earthly days and now leaves us with a powerful legacy of love and faith.

On Sunday, October 1, the 10:00 worship service at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Clarkdale will conclude with a special benediction in memory of Shirley.  This will be followed at 11:00 by a celebration of her life in the parish hall.  All are welcome to join her family and friends for one or both of these services.

Information provided by survivors.