She was born on Nov. 23, 1928, in Loup City, Neb., to William ‘Ray’ and Mary Rosetta Wooden. She was the sixth of seven children and grew up during the Depression. She attended country schools as a child. Before graduating she moved to Omaha, Neb., to live with her sister’s family. She completed her high school education with the 1973 graduating class of Coldwater High School, Coldwater, Mich. One day, when riding the bus back home to her sister’s near Offutt AFB, Neb., a soldier just home from the war heard her laughing over a comic book. This soldier, John Allen Townsend, Jr., and Shirley were joined in marriage May 5, 1947, in Fremont, Neb.
She was a Warsaw resident since 1992. Prior to their life in Coldwater and after marrying John, he re-joined the Air Force making Shirley a military wife. She followed him all over the world to places like Germany, France and the Philippines. They settled in Coldwater, in the late 1960s after John retired from the Air Force. After moving to Omaha she worked in a drug store. After her children were older, she worked at JC Penney’s from 1974 – 1989. She was active at the Senior Center in Warsaw. As a homemaker, she enjoyed reading, baking and gardening. She loved spending time with her grandchildren.
She is survived by four children: John Allen Townsend, III, Indianapolis; Warren Charles (Cynthia) Townsend, Trenton, Mich.; Sandra June (Brad Waldrom) Townsend, Chicago; Kathleen Townsend (Eric) Shafer, Warsaw; eight grandchildren: Jennifer Townsend; Matthew (Shelley) Townsend; Richard (Michelle) Pierson; Jessica Pierson Whitaker; Tyler (Jessica) Pierson; Elizabeth Townsend Hayes; Sarah (Sean) French; Laura (Rob) Lichy; 17 great-grandchildren; and her beloved dog: Taffy.
She was preceded in death by her parents; husband; three brothers; and a sister.
Visitation will be held from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 6, at Titus Funeral Home, 2000 E. Sheridan St., Warsaw. Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, Nov. 7, at Titus Funeral Home. Pastor Bob Jarboe, Kosciusko Home Care and Hospice chaplain, will officiate. Burial will be in Fort Custer National Cemetery, Augusta, Mich.
Memorial contributions may be directed to the Animal Welfare League of Kosciusko County, PO Box 1906, Warsaw, IN 46581-1906.