Shirley Rasmussen was born in Blue Island, Illinois on Feb. 17, 1951 to Edward and Clementine Piotrowski. She passed after a short unexpected illness on March 30, 2022. Shirley grew up in a small Polish, Catholic community where family and Polish traditions were important. She attended Catholic schools all the way to High School graduation. Growing up in a family that valued tradition, Shirley and her sister Betty were not allowed to move out of the house until they married. Thus, Shirley married her first husband Terry Keyes and moved to Boise Idaho where she gave birth to her only son Brett. She attended Boise State University and received a degree in Education. She and her husband then started a private Carden school which they ran for 5 years before selling it and moving to Vancouver, Washington. That marriage ended and after that she met the love of her life, Ray Rasmussen. They married in 1999 and in 2001, moved to Oak Harbor.
Having grown up in the conservative Polish neighborhood where her parents never owned a car, she rarely had a chance to travel. For her first 50 years she had never been outside the U.S. Shirley had an adventurous spirit. Her first trip out of the country was with Ray and his best friend Everett to Costa Rica. After marriage, she and Ray moved temporarily to the Big Island of Hawaii where they planned to live for 8 months. Within a week, she landed a job working at the Holualoa Inn B&B and Ray found a job at the Kona Country Club. They had a fabulous experience living in Hawaii but after 6 months she was ready to come home. In her first trip to Europe, she was able to see where her mother was born in Poland and visit distant relatives. The next 10 years she and Ray traveled the world returning to Europe 5 more times, doing trips to Cuba, Argentina/Chile, Australia/New Zealand and Southeast Asia as well as cruises to New England/Canada, Greece/Turkey, and the Caribbean. The last 18 years they traveled with their RV throughout the US and Canada. A trip to Iceland was planned for May.
Shirley enjoyed her work at The Center in Oak Harbor, where she put together local travel trips. She was a gourmet cook and enjoyed cooking for family and friends. Meals were always unique, delicious, and beautifully presented. Shirley was committed to exercise, enjoying hiking miles locally and on trips. She was known to travel with two 7-pound eights wherever she went.
Shirley was predeceased by her parents, Ed and Clem, and her brother-in-law Bob Niedoborski. She is survived by her loving husband, Ray, her son, Brett Keyes of Vancouver BC (wife Erica), grandson Blaze; stepson Lee Rasmussen (wife Tiele), grandsons Aiden and Arthur; stepson Rhett Rasmussen (wife Heather) and granddaughter Addison all from Gulf Port, Florida; sister Betty Niedoborski of Pensacola, Florida who as her loving sister said “I will always love and have her in my heart”’ and incredibly special nephews Tom Niedoborski (Anne) of Chicago and John Niedoborski (Riya) of Seattle who said “I will miss Aunt Shirley for the life advice, sense of outdoor adventure, and her bigheartedness that she shared with me. She was a second mom to me and will be fondly remembered for it.” Shirley will be missed by many relatives, friends, and neighbors. She will be especially missed by her husband Ray who will love her forever. Too many adventures waiting to be experienced. Too many meals yet to be cooked. Too many hugs waiting to be given. Happy trails, Shirley! Love from your family and friends.
To share memories and condolences with the family, visit her online obituary at www.evanschapel.com/obituary/shirley-rasmussen