Shirley was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on September 20, 1928, the second child of loving parents, Orville and Mary Griffin. Shirley and her big sister and protector, Corinne, were lifelong best friends until Corinne passed away in 2008. Shirley and Corinne (Morgan) grew up in Maplewood, Missouri, and graduated from Maplewood-Richmond Heights High School. Despite difficult times during the depression, she had a wonderful childhood and lived in a very happy home. Throughout her life, Shirley had quite an imagination and prided herself on doing things her way, sometimes to the chagrin of friends and family.
Shirley made friends wherever she went. She met dear friend Jean Sharp when they worked together at Brown Shoe Company and despite Jean moving to Florida a few years later, they remained lifelong friends until Jean passed away in 2019.
In 1955, Shirley met Charles Kelm at a roller rink. They married and had two children: Mike and Kathi. They bought a home in Glasgow Village in unincorporated St. Louis County. The family enjoyed traveling: visiting Jean in Florida, Disneyland in California, and many National Parks, including Mt. Rushmore. The couple later divorced while the kids were in grade school.
Shirley’s favorite movie was Gone with the Wind, and like Scarlett O’Hara, she could be quite the flirt and often chose to “think about it tomorrow.” She was very proud that in high school, she flirted with a boy in her biology class just to convince him to dissect a frog for her.
Shirley was devoted to her parents. Many Saturdays were spent at her parents’ home in Maplewood with Mike and Kathi, sister Corinne, and Corinne’s children, Kevin, Dennis, and Sally. The sisters would often drop the kids off at the Maplewood Show and go shopping together. The five cousins are more like siblings and have many wonderful memories “at Grandma’s house.”
Shirley enjoyed being Grandma to Stacy, Rebecca, and Andrew, and great-grandma to Gary and RJ. She especially loved playing Uno and Chinese Checkers with the kids. Not one who enjoyed cooking or baking cookies, she preferred to take the kiddos to McDonalds.
Shirley made many friends during the 15 years she worked in the Purchasing Department at Peabody Coal in St. Louis and made many more later when working at A.G. Edwards. Shirley’s last job before retiring, and her favorite job, was working for the St. Louis County Older Resident Program where she was a Neighborhood Coordinator. Shirley enjoyed connecting seniors in Spanish Lake and Normandy with needed services.
Shirley was fiercely patriotic and enjoyed going to Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day celebrations with Kathi to honor our veterans. She also volunteered at the St. Peters Senior Center until walking to the center became too much for her.
When Kathi moved to Rapid City in 2012, Shirley missed her daughter terribly. When Shirley’s health deteriorated in 2016 and she required full-time care, Shirley started a new chapter when Kathi moved her to Good Samaritan in New Underwood. This city girl quickly turned into a country girl, complete with pink cowgirl hat and her Tough Enough to Wear Pink t-shirt collection. Having always been an animal lover, she loved getting out and seeing the baby calves and goats, horses, and alpacas. She truly enjoyed the wide-open spaces of western South Dakota and loved going for rides in the area. The wonderful folks at Good Sam kept her busy with many activities and “baby-sitting” the dogs that would come to visit. Shirley also loved the resident cockatiel, Ginger, and he was fond of her, too. They visited together several times a day and Ginger would whistle at her when she went by. Shirley, however, hated the name Ginger, so she started calling him Charlie. She loved the resident beta fish and one of the angels at Good Sam gave her a red one which Shirley named Robert Redford. Shirley was very fond of all the wonderful caregivers at Good Sam.
Her new life in South Dakota was like being on vacation all the time. Shirley was fascinated by the Lakota culture that was new to her and loved watching the dancing at the Black Hills Pow Wow. Shirley and Kathi went on many adventures together: Shirley’s beloved Mt. Rushmore, Bear Country, Custer State Park, Old MacDonald’s Farm, the Air and Space Museum at Ellsworth, the Badlands, Crazy Horse Memorial, the annual Veteran’s Day and Native American Day parades, and Shirley’s favorite restaurant – Harry’s Hideaway in New Underwood. She even went to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally once, as well to the Shriner’s Circus where she rode an elephant for the first time at age 89!
While we will miss her, there’s no doubt that she’s happy to be reunited with her beloved parents and sister whom she missed so very much. She’s all yours again, Aunt Corinne. Your vacation is over.
Shirley was preceded in death by her mother and father, sister, many dear friends, her dog, Alex, and her red Beta fish, Robert Redford Sr. She will be greatly missed by all those who knew her. The family wishes to thank all the wonderful people at Good Samaritan who not only took great care of Shirley, but supported Kathi as well - especially, Kimberly, DeLynn and Ronda, as well as all the wonderful CNAs and nurses. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to Good Samaritan New Underwood or the Humane Society.