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Shirley's Story

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Shirley JoAnn Smith, 81, passed away peacefully at home with her loving husband and family by her side Monday, April 17.
She was born Oct. 9, 1935, as one of 11 children of Goldie Iris (Madden) and John Virgil McKeeman in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
On July 9, 1951, she married the love of her life, Albert "Sonny" J. Smith, in Ligonier, near the home of her beloved Aunt Minnie Miller, where she was raised.
Shirley never knew a stranger and touched so many lives with her kindness and welcoming smile.
She was very artistic and loved drawing and reading, but spent the majority of her life as a "domestic engineer" as she always said, taking care of her husband, raising her four children and helping whenever possible with her many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
She was an avid blood donor, always promoting the need for others to donate as well. She served in various volunteer activities such as helping for years with the Red Cross to find volunteer drivers for anyone who needed help getting a ride to their appointments.
In addition to her husband, Sonny, Shirley is survived by her children, Vicky Koger, Kansas City, Missouri, David Smith, Elkhart, Terry (Sandy) Smith, Middlebury, and Angelia "Angie" Smith, Jasper; eight grandchildren, Cari (Ben) Schuring, Melisa (Jimmy) Fisher, Wayne "Nick" Rink, Liberty (Eric) Hartnell, Damien Smith, Joseph (Heather) Smith and Stephanie (Drew) Hollingsworth; and 12 great-grandchildren.
Surviving siblings include David (Karen) McKeeman, Doris (George) Sepnieski, Nancy (the late Bayward) Stone, Dottie (the late Tom) Orthman, Dolores (James) Koble and Cindy (Dave) Wick. Ligonier family includes Morrie, Cathy, Karen, Ruth and Mary Ellen Godfrey and Mary Lou (Madden) Roberts, Warsaw, and numerous other cousins.
Other than her parents, she was preceded in death by her brothers, Richard Wahl, Larry and Gerald "Corky" McKeeman; Rita McKeeman, infant; son-in-law, Denny Koger; brother-in-law, Lowell Bechtel; Aunt Minnie of Ligonier, who raised her; and Johnny Godfrey, cousin.
Her beautiful, dimpled smile, along with her famous blueberry cheesecake that was coveted at all the family reunions, will always be remembered fondly. No words can express how missed she will be by all who loved her.
In keeping with her wishes, cremation has been chosen. A celebration of her life will be planned for later this year.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that blood or monetary donations be made to the Red Cross or Alzheimer's Association.
Elkhart Cremation Services are entrusted with her arrangements.
Published on April 20, 2017
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