Nadine Wilson Shirley (1920 - 2010)
- Violet N. Wilson Shirley passed away quietly at home Dec. 25 from congestive
heart failure at 90 yrs.
of age. She was lovingly attended by her devoted daughter, Sunny
Lyons-Grabenhorst and her husband,
George Grabenhorst, as she joined our Lord and Savior on the greatest birthday
Violet was born at her uncle Buck Wilson's ranch on the Imnaha River in NE
the fourth of eight children and was the daughter of Leonard William "Pete"
Ethel Belle Couch. She was preceded in death by five brothers, James, Allen,
Don, Dan and Charles Wilson; and two sisters, Marjorie Chadwick and Katherine
Violet grew up on Saddle Creek Ranch in Hells Canyon where she assisted her
family riding herd over the cattle, and anything that involved being outside on
a horse or tending to the daily ranch life chores in the canyon. She graduated
from Enterprise High School, then married Lee Franklin Shirley in 1938 in
Pendleton, OR and moved back to Imnaha, then on to Joseph, OR to raise their
three children, sons- Leonard D., Chester L., and daughter Sunny A. Shirley.
In Violet's young married life she cooked for logging crews, in restaurants, and
on wheat and cattle ranches in the 40's. During the 2nd World War she drove the
Imnaha to Joseph stage and freight truck for one and half yrs. While in Joseph
she was in the Rebekah Lodge for 15 yrs. and served as a Past Noble Grand.
After living in Toledo, OR then Hood River, OR, Violet and her daughter moved to
Salem where she worked as a psychiatric security aide in the forensic section of
the State Hospital for almost 25 yrs.
After retirement Violet started volunteering at the Kirkwood Historic Ranch and
Museum in Hells Canyon, going back to the one place in the world that always
held her heart. Violet volunteered for eighteen yrs.(1986-2004), receiving the
Idaho Forest Service volunteer of the year award along with other certificates
of appreciation. Violet's vast knowledge and love of the history of the Canyon
enriched many visitor's experiences when stopping by the ranch. She loved to
spend hours each day regaling people with her stories of growing up in the
canyon. She would spend long days planting flowers and irrigating the vast
lawns, along with all manner of keeping the ranch and surrounding areas picture
perfect. She was also well known to "do away" with more than a few pesky
unwanted skunks that would have the audacity to wander into her domain.
Mother loved the quote "I have miles to go before I sleep" and felt she had many
friends and family to help while she was here. She did that grandly, and now can
rest in peace at last. We are all richer for her life and her love.
Violet is survived by her three children, three grandsons, Lane D. Lyons, Pete
Shirley and Bobby Shirley. She also leaves eight great-grandchildren and a large
extended family. There will be a Celebration of Life at Joseph, OR the last full
week-end in June during the Wilson Family Reunion. Arrangements are by Virgil T.
Golden Funeral Service.
StatesmanJournal on January 7, 2011