Shirley was born in Snohomish, Washington on January 15, 1942; the only surviving daughter of Eldon and Florence Marchel. She grew up on a farm in Ellensburg, Washington. As a teenager she played accordion for skating rings and local fairs. It was in Ellensburg that she met her future husband, John Robert Powell, who was an aircraft mechanic in the Air Force and stationed in Washington State. They were married in Seattle in 1960. Upon John’s transfer, Shirley went with her husband to his home in New York in 1961, where the first two of their children were born. Shirley fell in love with New York City and always thought of herself as “the farm girl who went to New York City.” In 1965, Shirley moved with her husband and children to California, eventually settling in Northern California where they went on to have two more children.
Shirley focused on raising the children while John resumed his military service, including serving on active duty maintaining aircraft operations throughout the world including Viet Nam, eventually becoming Chief Master Sergeant before retiring. Shirley worked as an EMT on an ambulance crew, built RVs for Coachman, and delivered the mail for the United States Postal Service before joining her husband in retirement. Besides being an accomplished accordion player, she also enjoyed quilting and doing puzzles, being ‘Team Mom’ for a balloon research team, and of course family, particularly doting on and spoiling her grandchildren and later her great-grandchildren. Shirley also greatly enjoyed traveling with her husband, especially to Hawaii.
She always made everyone smile and had a smile for everyone.
Shirley passed after a brief illness. She was preceded in death by her beloved husband John of 63 years and leaves behind a brother, Joe, and sons Carl, John, William and daughter Shirley, along with 13 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.
Services for Shirley will be on May 5, 2022, at 10:15 am.
Sacramento Valley National Cemetery
5810 Midway Road
Dixon CA 95620
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