April 9, 2020
It is with great sadness to announce the passing of our beloved “Sunshine Girl!”
Shirley left us on the 9th of April 2020 after completing 81+ years of her life. She passed quietly at Eagle Park Health Care Facility with her husband Mel by her side. Shirley leaves to mourn, her husband Mel La Plante after 63+ years of marriage. She leaves her three adult children; George La Plante (Lorelei), Murray La Plante (Vlada), Shelly Gibson (Andrew). She also leaves to mourn eight Grandchildren; George Jr., Theresa, Rae-Anne, Coltin, Kassady, Artem, Erin, & Michael. Five Great Grandchildren; Joshua, Darcy, Daxon Rory & Silas along with many Nieces and Nephews. Shirley also leaves to mourn her brother Bud Shelly (Julia). It was a given when those two, brother and sister addressed each other by a deep, mutual love – “Hey, Sister Sue (Shirl)!” Shirl would reply with a “Hey, brother Bud!” (more like a “Buuuud with a southern drawl). She loved her brother Bud.
Shirley was pre-deceased by her Father and Mother; Willett (Fat) and Edna Shelly (pioneers of Parksville), her sister Evelyn (Evie) Devitt (Ed), Grandson; Greg (Peggy) of NFLD.
Shirl’s time of passing occurred during the COVID -19 Pandemic during global isolation, therefore, A Celebration of Her Life will be postponed until further notice.
Shirley was born (Nanaimo Hospital) and raised in Parksville. She attended local schools in Parksville/Nanaimo. She was actively involved in local community events. She was crowned Parksville’s “May Queen” in 1953.
Shirley was like a “Ray of Sunshine!” she always welcomed you with her beautiful smile and warm hugs. She didn’t sit still. There was a garden to plant and maintain. Flowers to be planted and potted – Begonias were her specialty just like her Mom’s.
The aroma of bread baking in her home was constant. Jams being made. Pickles being jarred, salmon, canned and /or smoked. The list goes on and on. All the dogs and cats over the years knew where home was and they were family including “Annabelle” the pet cow.
Shirley embraced life with such enthusiasm it was contagious. She loved to go running and walks – when quiet was desired. She loved golf. She’d engage at any opportunity that allowed. She played bridge for a period of time and on a weekly basis with the long-time girlfriends. Shirley mourned deeply the loss of family and good friends over the years. You couldn’t ask for a better friend. She was a “GEM.”
Once married, a little cabin in Port Alberni became their first home, Mel worked for BC Tel at the time and opportunity presented itself for the two of them to relocate to two isolated islands up north called Swindell Island and Calvert Island. Mel was responsible for the smooth operation of a “Repeater/Relay Stations”.
During their time there they encountered many adventures that became those stories you want to hear more about. The experiences were never ending and we all loved to hear them. If it wasn’t laughter in one moment? It was awe in the next. Shirley and Mel then relocated to Quesnel, BC in 1964. There, in part, they took up cattle farming for eight of those years before relocating back to Parksville in 1980. Intermmitently, Shirley worked for the Forestry Division planting seedlings and saplings. Curling became her winter fun and entertainment. She followed in her father’s footsteps and in a thundering voice would shout “Everyone be quiet! Hockey Night in Canada is on.”
Mel loved and cared for His wife for as long as he possibly could. It wasn’t easy letting go when the time came for Shirley, now requiring special care, had to leave her home for the last time. We take comfort in knowing that our “Ray of Sunshine” is no longer imprisoned in the halls of dementia and that she is now free to go on and explore with that same passion she was born with. Her legacy she established though out her lifetime remains within every one of us that knew and loved her.
“Shirley, You are our Sunshine! Now, always and forever â€” fly high and soar Our Love!”
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