Shirley (Gename) Spence passed away on March 4, 2015, with her loving family by her side.
She was born February 11, 1939 in Kenosha, WI, to Kenneth and Lucille Gename. She married Donald Spence in Kenosha on February 21, 1959 and they recently celebrated their 56th wedding anniversary. Don and Shirley moved to Jacksonville, Fla., in 1959 and then back to Kenosha in 1961.
Shirley is survived by her husband Donald; her children, Kathy (Mike) Duffy, David (Karen) Spence, Michael (Linda) Spence, Jeffrey (Karen) Spence; her grandchildren, Joshua Duffy (Niki Bryant), Julie Duffy, Jeffrey Duffy, Jamie Spence, Christopher (Elizabeth) Spence, Sarah Spence, Samantha (Christopher) Larson, Jacob (Cassie Thomas) Spence, Lucas Spence, Dustin Spence, Nicole Spence, Danielle Spence, Jennifer Spence; and great grandchildren, Jordan and Serena. She is further survived by her siblings: Patsy (Vince) Shuler, James (Joan) Gename, Joann (Cliff) Johnson, and Carol (James) Schweitzer.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Lucille and Kenneth Gename.
While raising her four children she earned her bachelor's degree in history at UW Parkside and her master's degree in reading at Carthage College. She taught for ten years at St. Marks Catholic School and fourteen years at Frank Elementary in Kenosha Unified School District as the Title 1 Teacher. She presented at the International Reading Conference in Florida, where she met many authors including Sally Ride, the astronaut. She was listed in Who's Who in American Education. She was a lifetime member of the National Education Association and a member of the Wisconsin Education Association.
In 1955 she began playing the organ at First Christian Church for the evening services. In 1970 she became the regular Sunday morning organist until her retirement in 1997. She made three separate 300 mile, week-long bicycle trips across Wisconsin with SAAGBRAW. Don and Shirley retired to Pardeeville, WI, and they attended Grace Bible Church in Portage, Wis. She volunteered at Pardeeville Grade School for ten years in their reading program and for twelve years at the community food pantry. Don and Shirley were also members of the Badger Antique Auto Club. Since retiring to Pardeeville, they have spent part of the winter in Davenport, FL.
Visitation was held on Saturday, March 7, 2015, at First Christian Church in Pleasant Prairie, WI with the memorial service immediately following.