Shirley Rice also known as Shirley Ann in her younger days was born March 4, 1927 at her parents home in Seattle, Washington, just two blocks from what’s now known as the Seattle Center. She was the first child of Rufus Darling Spaulding and Maye Carolyn Parker. Her parents had three children, Shirley Marie Spaulding, Jack Darling Spaulding, and James William Spaulding.
Shirley’s mother Maye worked as a waitress and served as the president of Local 240 Waitresses Union (A. F. of L.). She was loved by all she met. Unfortunately, Maye passed away at the young age of 56 in October of 1962. Shirley’s father Rufus worked as a street car operator turned bus driver and was loved by all his riders. She reminisced about her father receiving gifts from the patrons of the bus. Rufus passed away in 1982 at the age of 82.
Shirley graduated from Garfield high school in Seattle Washington in the year 1944. She worked as a Office clerk at the Colyear Motor Sales Company in Seattle from 1943 – 1945. She worked as a waitress at Don’s Fine Foods in 1946 and Pioneer Café in 1955 both located in downtown Seattle. Shirley worked as a blueprint clerk at the Boeing Airplane Company in Renton from 1956 through 1959. She was the office manager at Simmons Mattress Company located next to the old Rainier Brewing Company in Seattle from 1965 through 1976 where she met Joe Rice. The company later until moved to Tukwila. Shirley’s final job was at the Auburn Mental Health Clinic as the receptionist. After retiring she began volunteering at several senior citizen centers.
Shirley was married three times. She was married to her first husband for one year. She was married to her second husband for 12 years and had seven children, Gayleen, Darleen, John, Daniel, Michael, David, and Cheryl. Shirley had been married to her third husband Joe for forty six years prior to his passing in 2012. To date Shirley has twenty two grandchildren, twenty five great grandchildren, and six great, great grandchildren with one more on the way.
Shirley enjoyed traveling, camping, fishing, going on hunting trips, knitting, crocheting, needle point, and bowling. Shirley’s passion was to play bridge and she continued playing until she was 90 years old. What was more amazing than her age was that she continued to win the game despite having Alzheimer’s.
Shirley was a lifetime member of the Washington State Grange where she held many offices including Secretary of Steele Lake Highline Grange and the King County Pomona Grange. She helped serve at Grange pancake breakfasts, volunteered at the Grange rest area coffee stops, and Grange fireworks stands. Shirley loved planning and assembling the Grange fair displays made from vegetables at the King County Fair and the Washington State Fair. She was a member of the "Let's Roll em" camping club as well as a member of the Washington State Grange Pioneer camping club for many years.
Shirley was a witty, smart, and talented woman. She was known to be ornery on occasion but you always knew where you stood with her. She was a hard worker and put her heart into every project she worked. Shirley was always there to help others and will be dearly missed.
Shirley passed away January 13, 2020 at the age of ninety two at Living Water Adult Family Home in Bonney Lake Washington where she had been since July 2018.
She will be laid to rest on January 31, 2020 at 10:45 AM at the Tahoma National Cemetery located at 18600 Southeast 240th Street, Kent, WA 98042. A memorial service will be held at Steele Lake Highline Grange hall in Federal Way, Washington on February 1, 2020 at 1:00 PM, reception to follow. The Grange hall is located at 2902 S 298th St, Federal Way, WA 98003.
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