Shirley Lou Smith (nee St. Clair) was born on July 18, 1928 and died peacefully June 27, 2018 at KU Medical Center after a long and brave battle with cancer, just shy of her 90th birthday. She was born at Bethany Hospital in Kansas City, Kansas and died less than five miles away although she spent much of her life in the Prairie Village area.
Shirley acted in plays at Wyandotte High School, graduating from there in 1946 and from William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri in 1950 with a degree in Psychology. She married Robert Miles Smith, PhD, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on September 8, 1949. The couple met at Chapel services at William Jewell where she was also a member of the Alpha Gamma Delta sorority. They were the parents of two children: Marybeth Sorrell (Bruce David Sorrell) of Kansas City, Missouri, and Jay Norman Smith (Jan Christine Larson) of Elgin, Illinois.
Shirley worked at Southwestern Bell Telephone Company in Kansas City, Missouri and Ohio Bell Telephone Company in Columbus, Ohio as a service representative. After returning to the Kansas City area, she was involved in her children’s school and after-school activities, serving as a leader in Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts, and later attending every one of her children’s concerts, plays and other performances.
Later, she managed the Somerset Building at 7830 State Line and was an active volunteer and benefactor of the Kansas City Chamber Orchestra, serving as a founding board member, box office manager and historian. Shirley also loved gardening and flower arranging. She was a member of the Village Presbyterian Church, Indian Hills Country Club, Junior League of Kansas City, Kansas and the Phi Kappa Psi Mother’s Club.
Shirley was a widow for many years; her husband Robert passed away on November 3, 1960. She was also preceded in death by her parents, John Norman St. Clair and Mary Bernadine St. Clair (Finn).
She leaves a brother, John Wesley St. Clair of Montecito, California, daughter Marybeth, son Jay; two nephews: John Wesley St. Clair, Jr (Lana) of Fairway, Kansas and Kenneth William St. Clair of Des Moines, Iowa.
Shirley was the proud and devoted grandmother of seven grandchildren: Andrew Miles Smith (Darci) of Fort Wayne, Indiana; Emma Marie Claire Sorrell (Taylor Dicker) of Los Angeles, California; Daniel Thaine Smith of Fort Wayne, Indiana; Hannah Christine Smith of Prairie Village, Kansas; Robert David Nelson Sorrell of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Deborah Leigh Smith of San Antonio, Texas and Lucy Elizabeth Anne Sorrell of Kansas City, Missouri; and one great-grandchild, Naomi Nash Magnolia Smith of Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Shirley will be remembered during a memorial service on Sunday afternoon, July 1, 2018 at 4:00 pm in the Marjorie Powell Allen Chapel at Powell Gardens, 1609 N.W. U.S. Highway 50, Kingsville, MO 64061. The family suggests donations to William Jewell College or the Kansas City Chamber Orchestra.
Shirley left behind a great legacy of caring for her parents and all of her family. She will be missed.