Shirley Elaine Simkins, age 82 of Abingdon, died at 10:33 am Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at the Knox County Nursing Home in Knoxville.
Shirley was born on May 5, 1930 in Galesburg, the daughter of Ernest and Cecile (Collins) Roberson. She married Ross “Jack” Simkins on October 14, 1951 in Abingdon. Jack passed away on April 1, 1987. She was also preceded in death by her parents and her older sister, Marilyn Butler of Abingdon.
Shirley is survived by her three children: Sherry (Bob) Bilbo of Seymour, Tennessee; Cynthia (John) Mangieri of Davenport, Iowa; and Thomas (Marcy) Simkins of Galesburg. She was openly proud of her seven loving grandchildren: Jackie, Grace, and Louis Mangieri, John and Jane Simkins, Joseph (Elena) Bilbo, and Jennifer (Joe) Fisher. She had five great-grandchildren: Hudson, Brody, Colton, and Dawson Fisher, and Lauren Bilbo. Shirley’s brother, Charles “Chuck” (Helen) Roberson resides in Alexandria, Virginia and her sister, Jean Wolford, currently lives in Wilmore, Kentucky. She leaves behind several nieces and nephews.
Shirley graduated from Abingdon High School in 1948 and from the Galesburg Cottage Hospital School of Nursing in 1951. While in high school she worked at the former Sand’s Pharmacy and Bird’s Insurance, both in Abingdon. After receiving her nursing degree, she worked for 33 years as a Registered Nurse, many of those as a supervisor at the Galesburg Mental Health Center, before retiring in 1984. She was a full-time, after-hours homemaker, spending her “spare” time at her kids’ athletic and school events while helping Jack with the bookwork of his general contracting business.
She was a member of the Abingdon Christian Church. She enjoyed singing in the church choir and the community church choir. She was a member of the Kum Dubble Klass, the Jean Wolford Circle, and the Jolly Grandmother’s Club. She organized funeral dinners at her church for many years while also assisting with meals for Faith Weavers and Vacation Bible School.
Shirley and Jack volunteered for many years at the Abingdon Fall Festival where she supervised the Kids Events. She was a tireless member of the Abingdon Fire Department Auxiliary from 1956 to 1987 and served as a past leader with the Girl Scouts. She was a past member of the Blue Bell Bible Study and the Widow and Widowers Support Group. In later years, she enjoyed adult swim aquanastics at the YMCA pool and finished many a day’s thoughts inside a good book.
Shirley lived most all of her life at the corner of Pennsylvania and South Streets where she maintained a seemingly continuous search for the perfect outdoor sweat via the working end of a rake, lawnmower, flower pot or snow shovel. She was a dedicated friend to many as witnessed by her daily delivery of delicacies such as Shirley’s lasagna, butter mints, and Eleanor’s noodles to those in need in the Abingdon community; her short Friday-night sojourns across the street to support her beloved Commandos were a high point of her week. She enjoyed a good laugh, even at her own expense, and she married the right man to prove it. But above all, she never missed an opportunity to boast, even to excess, on the exploits and achievements of those she loved most.
Funeral service will be held at 10:30 am Saturday, May 12, 2012 at the Abingdon Christian Church. Rev. Darryl McDaniel will officiate. Burial will follow in the Abingdon Cemetery. Visitation will be held from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm Friday at the Hinchliff-Pearson-West Abingdon Chapel.
Memorials may be made to the Abingdon Christian Church or the Knox County Nursing Home. Online condolences may be made at www.h-p-w.com.