She was loved. She will be missed. She will be remembered.
Shirley Ann White, 71, of Pomona, Calif., and formerly of Nathan and Nashville, Ark., died August 22 in Pomona. She was born June 19, 1948, at Nashville, Ark., and was the daughter of the late William Martin “Pete” White and Helen Ruth (Roland) White of Nathan. She has three sisters: Ruby Darlene Kniceley of Center Point, Ark., Treasa White of Hope, Ark., and Dena White of Pomona. She has three surviving brothers: David White of Highland, Ark., Rodney White of Nathan and Bobby White of Center Point. One brother, Billy, predeceased her.
Shirley attended Nashville public schools, completing some high school. Her parents then helped her to attend a vocational school in Hot Springs, Ark., to learn to be a seamstress. She also learned independent-living skills — which she never forgot, using them to find work as a freelance seamstress, a live-in caregiver to elderly persons and a childcare worker. She also operated a concession stand in front of the Nashville Walmart store. She was also a food-services worker for the Nashville public schools and the Little Red School House preschool and kindergarten.
Shirley was a member of the Nathan and Mineral Springs Churches of Christ. She was also an active member of Fraternal Order of Eagles Club Women’s Auxiliary in Nashville for many years. Shirley had an outgoing personality, never met a stranger and was always ready for the next great adventure. She enjoyed church, volunteering, gift-giving, sewing, quilting, cooking and shopping.
Despite having helped raise her seven younger and rambunctious siblings, Shirley dreamed of having children of her own. Although she never married or had biological children, the greatest gift in her life was the mother-daughter relationship she formed with Leslie (Roberts) Fendley of McCaskill. Through Leslie, Shirley experienced the joys of being a mother and grandmother, or “Grammy,” to Leslie’s children, Dylan Cox and Mackenzie Vermillion of Nashville, Chelsey Vermillion of Arkadelphia, and Savanah Vermillion of McCaskill.
A memorial service will be held at Latimer Funeral Home in Nashville on Saturday, Sept. 7, at 3 p.m., preceded by a one-hour visitation with family at 2:00. Mackenzie Vermillion, Steven Fendley, Rodney W. “Buddy” White, Kristopher White, Joseph Merchant, Scott Pace, and Rod Mitchell will serve as honorary pallbearers. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the American Diabetic Association.
Her California family, friends, and caregivers gathered Saturday in Pomona to celebrate Shirley’s life with a memorial service that included a live butterfly release. Butterflies symbolize resurrection, and Shirley certainly believed in an afterlife, one without pain, hospitals and nursing homes. Larry Johnson, Nestor Pacheco, Michael Federico, Miguel Humberto Pacheco served as her honorary California pallbearers.
Her ashes will be interred at the Old Corinth Cemetery