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Shirley J. Gerard
November 5, 1927 ~ June 1, 2023 (age 95) 95 Years Old
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KEWANEE - Shirley Jones Gerard, 95, passed away June 1, 2023 in her daughter’s home, after a lengthy struggle with Alzheimer’s. A private inurnment will be held this summer. A Celebration of Life will also be planned for a future date.
Shirley Marie Jones was born November 5, 1927 in Kewanee, Illinois to Forrest P. and Anna Catherine Streicher Jones. She was the second of five daughters: Elaine A. (Raymond Erdman), Jean M. (Robert Sweat), Florine E. (Carl Edwall) and Marvella “Marti” R. (Ronald Whitney). Shirley and her sisters were all graduates of Kewanee High School: Shirley was in the Class of 1945. On July 24, 1948, she married Franklin J. Gerard of Toulon. He preceded her in death on August 5, 2004. She was also preceded in death by her four sisters, three of her brothers in-law and her parents.
Surviving are two sons, Philip J. (LeAnn Morgan) of North Henderson, and Paul C. (Angela Hudson) of Burbank, CA, and daughter, Gayle A. Gerard of Kewanee. Shirley and Frank had five grandchildren: Jeremy Gerard (Christy) of Oneida, Jennifer Lair (P. Ryan) of Alexis, Justin Gerard (Lesley) of Lebanon, IL, Julie (Clint) Hensley of Knoxville, and Franklin Charles (Charlie) Gerard of Burbank, CA. Additionally, there are seven great grandchildren (Jaren, Gavin, Jayden and Hayden Gerard, Tillman Hensley, and Madilyn and Cooper Lair) and three step-great grandchildren (Kaily, Kailynn and Colton Hensley).
Shirley worked for most of her adult life until the mid-1980s. She sold the World Book Encyclopedia for over twenty years. She worked in retail, and in a number of offices through the years. In her later years, she and Frank oversaw the Tutoring Center at the First Congregational Church, and also delivered for Meals on Wheels. Shirley had many hobbies including knitting and gardening and was a voracious reader. She loved traveling to California to visit her sisters and parents and was a big movie fan.
Memorials may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the Alzheimer’s Association, or the Henry County Animal Shelter, Kewanee.