Shirley was a smart, pretty, petite woman with a dry wit. It was no surprise that her future husband, Tommy Joe Stewart, was smitten by her. They were married on April 3, 1958 in Ada, Oklahoma and soon welcomed their three daughters, Tamara Jo, Cynthia Lee, and Shelley Diane.
Shirley clearly loved children and teaching Sunday School, and earned her Bachelor’s of Education degree from the University of Tulsa and her Master’s +60 of Education degree from NE OSU. She taught every grade except Kindergarten at Greeley and Cooper Elementary Schools in Tulsa, and selflessly invested her time into her students. We learned kindness and compassion listening to her tell stories at the dinner table.
Her servant’s heart was enormous for others and her gift was serving under-privileged children from her school. And so, she quietly observed which students needed coats and mittens, shoes, or supplies. Shirley anonymously delivered boxes of food and clothing to their homes in the dark of night, never seeking credit to avoid embarrassing her students or their parents.
Shirley was ecstatic when her daughters were married and ultimately ten grandchildren and five great-grandchildren came into her and Tom’s lives. She adored being a Nana, and fervently loved all her grandkids and great-grandkids. We celebrated many birthday parties, holiday get-togethers, weddings and anniversaries with our parents, Shirley and Tom.
We are confident that Shirley is with her Maker in heaven, and was welcomed by Jesus saying, “Well done, my good and faithful servant”. This confidence we have in Christ was imparted to us as children by our parents. We are eternally grateful for the way she lived her life for Christ. What a precious gift and legacy she leaves for all who knew and loved her.
Shirley is survived by her loving husband, Tommy Joe Stewart; her daughters and spouses, Tammy and Michael Bowen, Cindy and Craig Stokes, and Shelley and Robert Greene; her living siblings and their families, Donna Owens, Jim and Betty Owens, Judy Breese, Recie Mitchusson, Randy and Nancy Owens, Carol Stewart, Irene and Tommy Ray Jones, Marcia Stewart, and Ed Stewart; her grand-children Matt and Shelby Bowen, Drew Bowen, Thomas Martin and Andrew Carlson, Cullen Greene, Shelby Hersem, Aidan Hersem, Chris and Ashley Stokes, and Melissa Stokes; and five great-grandchildren Austin, Callie, Riley, and Zoey Stokes, Jackson Buck, and one great-granddaughter already on the way; her many nieces, nephews and extended family; and her dear lifelong friend, Mary Pianalto.
Shirley is preceded in death by her parents, Albert and Belvie Lee; her siblings, Lucille Hackworth, Wanda Walker, Betty Sikes, Bill Owens; and her stillborn grandson, Josiah Hersem; and her loving extended family and friends, all of whom will happily welcome her in Heaven.
There will be a public visitation from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 14, 2021 at Mowery Funeral Service in Owasso.
Due to COVID limitations on gatherings and out of abundance of caution for all who loved her, we will be live-streaming the funeral service at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, January 15, 2021 via Facebook Live. We will post the link to this live stream as the service approaches.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Shirley’s memory to The Mission, 11341 North Garnett Road, Owasso, OK 74055. The Mission serves people in Owasso and north of Owasso by offering hope, relationships and support by giving food, clothing, home and baby essentials and furniture for our local neighbors experiencing hardship.