Shirley J. Garnhart died Nov. 12, 2018 at a local facility under hospice care in Oak Harbor, after a brief illness. She was 90.
Shirley was born June 4, 1928 in Pontiac, Mich. to Ralph N. Parks and Gwendolyn Salome (Ball) Parks and grew up in Pontiac. She enjoyed her childhood, attended Christian Church, was active in the Girl Scouts of America and formed several life-long friendships. She earned her spending money from babysitting.
She was the oldest of three girls and maintained a deep and lasting friendship with her sisters. When she was just 10 years old, her mother was very ill for about six months. During and after that time, Shirley shouldered many household responsibilities. In 1944, at the end of her sophomore year in high school, the family moved to Southern California for her mother’s health, and settled in Pasadena. She earned her spending money working in nearby Thornton Carlson’s candy making and retailing shop, and also in the Sunkist wholesale lemon packing plant. While attending Pasadena Junior College, she met her husband-to-be, Gordon Garnhart. They dated for several years and were married June 25, 1950 in a double ceremony with Shirley’s sister Charlotte and Richard Hauck. Gordon had just finished his junior year as a mechanical engineering student at UCLA, and was planning to complete his studies in the following year.
But he was called into military service and eventually saw combat duty in the Korean War. He returned in the spring of 1952 and graduated from UCLA the following year. Their first child was born while he was still attending classes. Shirley held a very responsible position in accounting with the Pasadena office of General Motors Acceptance Corporation and continued until their first child was born. She then became a full-time homemaker and devoted her life to her husband, her daughters and her home.
During the time they lived in Downey, Calif., from 1958 to 1968, she was a Girl Scout troop leader. In 1968, Gordon was transferred from the Lynwood, Calif., plant to Everett, Wash. In 1998, after Gordon retired, they built a home and moved next door to daughter Linda in Oak Harbor.
Shirley was a member and participated actively in the life of First Baptist Church in Everett, and later First Reformed Church in Oak Harbor. Her hobbies included gardening, knitting, and reading. She was a faithful loving wife and a devoted mother and will be missed by all who knew her.
Shirley was preceded in death by her parents, and survived by her beloved husband of 68 years; sisters Charlotte Hauck of Duarte, Calif., and Janene Tressler, of Santa Barbara, Calif.; three daughters, Linda Joanne Preder of Oak Harbor, Kathryn Elaine (Frank) Bushakra of Knoxville, Tenn., and Beverly Jean (Gary) Micallef, of Ellensburg, Wash., and; six grandchildren, eight great grandchildren and two great great-grandchildren.
After cremation, burial will take place at Maple Leaf Cemetery in Oak Harbor. A memorial service is being planned for a later date.