Portrait of Shirley ---La-Z-Boy Center and Meyer Theater
Shirley Adele Meyer
  • 91 years old
  • Date of birth: Sep 1, 1922
  • Place of birth:
    Champaign, Illinois, United States
  • Date of passing: Nov 8, 2013
  • Place of passing:
    Monroe, Michigan, United States
Skidding into heaven sideways, Absolut in one hand, Sanders Chocolates in the other, saying WOO HOO What a Ride!!

Miss Shirley Adele's Philosophy About Life

  “Life should NOT be a journey to the grave
with the intention of arriving safely
 in an attractive and well preserved body
but rather to skid in sideways,
Absolut in one hand--Sanders chocolates in the other,
body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming,

WOO HOO, What a Ride!”

The back story: Shirley loved this quote,
first saw a version of it on "The Floridian" restaurant 
menu in Fort Lauderdale and asked that it be adapted
and used in her memorial service.  

Memorial Tributes
This tribute was added by Lee Samson on 29th February 2016


This tribute was added by Patricia Rourke on 8th November 2015

"Two years is both a long and short time.  The effect of Shirley on my life is forever.  She taught me dignity, compassion, and humor.  It was such an honor to be involved in her care.  My love extends to her family and friends."

This tribute was added by Sal Jaynes on 2nd September 2015

"Happy Birthday, Miss Shirley..I imagine you every evening I see a beautiful sky up in heaven arranging the colors, adding an artistic splash here and there and laughing that great laugh all the way...love and miss you here.  PS: Please say "Hi" to my Mom, she'd be the one standing behind you handing you the brush and colors!"

This tribute was added by ursula terrasi on 1st September 2015

"How can we ever forget our lovely Shirley Meyer- your laughter, your spirit, joy of life, commitment to your family, friends and community, unconditional love and open mind.  We learned so much from you and every day you are  in our hearts and mind. yes, a true class act.
we miss you and  the world is just not the same without you!"

This tribute was added by Patricia Rourke on 1st September 2015

"Remembering a wonderful woman who inspired me to deeply enjoy the pleasures of life and to bear the pains with dignity.  You will always be in my heart.

This tribute was added by Clint Schloop on 8th November 2014

"Shirley's life was one to emulate.  Her warmth and caring connection with all the people in her life as well as her incredibly generous spirit will stay with us forever.  Shirley was instrumental in helping me launch my new career at Liberty and we are deeply appreciative to the entire family.  With love and many great memories.  Clint and Joan"

This tribute was added by Kellie Vuich on 14th February 2014

"Meyer.....you still make me smile."

This tribute was added by Kaye Lani Wilson on 3rd January 2014

"I loved viewing this wonderful page in memory of Shirley!  Such an amazing, special lady who loved her family and her community!! I am deeply saddened to have not been able to attend her memorial services...and continue to think of her and her family. What a classy lady....   Danny Thomas once said, "The world is full of givers and takers..." Thank you, Shirley, for being a true giver and for your extreme generosity and grand leadership for our community. I am so grateful to have known you and will miss you."

This tribute was added by Suzanne Wetzel on 18th November 2013

"There is an old proverb that says: “A man in a small village needed to build a large stone fence but had only a wheelbarrow full. He appealed to his friends and neighbors to come to his aid, and before long, he had enough rocks and stones to erect a tremendous fence.”

Mrs. Shirley Meyer and Monroe County Community College and its Foundation are forever intertwined.

In December of 1997, in making one of her first gifts to The Foundation, Mrs. Meyer used this quote in a note she sent to then-President Jerry Welch, saying:

“I am happy to be able to be a part of the growth of this very important part of our community. Hopefully, my stone will act as a seed and attract many more stones, until it becomes a giant rock that will continue to grow!”

And indeed it has….

Mrs. Meyer forever changed Monroe County Community College when in 1998, just two months after The Foundation’s incorporation, she presented The Foundation with a $1 million donation. Her gift launched this young organization with momentum and enthusiasm unparalleled in our community. And then, over the next 15 years, she supported the growth of The Foundation with gifts of her time, talent and treasure….eagerly serving as the honorary chairperson of the Realizing the Vision Capital Campaign and playing a critical role in securing a $2 million gift from the La-Z-Boy Foundation.

When Mrs. Meyer launched the capital campaign in 1999 with her donation, there were no plans or architectural renderings to inspire her. The vision she so readily and powerfully embraced was expressed in words and founded in her understanding that our college and our community needed a state-of-the-art facility for use by students, by business, and by the community-at-large. She knew that such a facility would dramatically enhance the quality of life in our community and expand the hallmarks of our cultural life and our educational programs.

She saw her gift as an exciting opportunity to return a measure of her family’s success to the Monroe community and share with all of us her love of the arts.

MCCC President Jerry Welch truly captured this moment and the feelings in all of our hearts when he wrote to Mrs. Meyer,

“As someone once noted, ‘we live in the present, we dream of the future, and we learn internal truths from the past.’ Much of what you have done is reflected in this quotation. Through your contribution this year, you have inspired and given life to a dream, and the reality of the dream will enrich the lives of many and illustrate to all that, indeed, it is more noble to give than receive.”

In 2000, the Monroe County Community College Board of Trustees recognized Mrs. Meyer’s contributions to the college and her community by awarding her an Honorary Associate of Arts Degree for distinguished serve to the college. And while this might seem the culmination of a truly inspiring story, it is far from it.

Mrs. Meyer carried the college’s story with her and proudly told everyone that she believed the college to be the “crown jewel” of Monroe County and that it would take all of us to insure that this valuable resource continued to grow and enhance lives.

When the La-Z-Boy Center and Meyer Theater opened in 2004, I don’t believe there was a happier or more proud person than Mrs. Meyer. I remember the grand opening celebration as if it were yesterday – the Black & White Gala. As the lights came up on stage for the first time, there was no brighter light than Mrs. Meyer’s – seated in Row F, center stage in what would become “her favorite seat in the house.” And the party that followed – well, let me just say that when Mrs. Meyer was in the house – we were going to have a party that everyone would remember.

In 2007, we all learned that since the grand opening of the building, Mrs. Meyer had been searching for “just the right piece of outdoor sculpture to welcome students and visitors” when she donated “Circled Squared,” a dynamic, contemporary sculpture to be placed at the entry to the building.

I think I need to clarify, some of us learned she had been searching – it’s now my understanding that her family might have more accurately called this a “quest” that they had all been on for three years.

In donating the sculpture, Mrs. Meyer said that it “spoke to her” and that she hoped it would speak to all of us and that we would find it both fascinating and beautiful in its simplicity, yet projecting a very high level of kinetic energy. She believed that its artistic energy was emblematic of the human energy in the performing arts and that it represented her highest aspirations for the facility.

Mrs. Meyer’s leadership and philanthropic spirit, coupled with her belief in the mission of the College and her desire to give back to the community she so dearly loved, stand as ideals for all of us. She was an extraordinary individual, and we all feel so fortunate to count her as both friend and benefactor of the college.

Her remarkable spirit lives on with us and as the stage lights come up on each and every performance in the Shirley A. and Richard M. Meyer Theater, she will be with us….enjoying, celebrating, and anticipating the next time we will be together."

This tribute was added by Catherine Andrews on 15th November 2013

"As well as the many civic contributions she has made to the Monroe community, I will always remember, with great fondness, the significant role Aunt Shirley played in providing me with happy childhood memories.  

Cathy Meyer Andrews"

This tribute was added by Ruth Flint on 14th November 2013

"Whenever I hear Frank Sinatra's song "My Way"  I think of Shirley. She certainly did it "her way" and had a great time doing it! She took so many people along for that fun ride and we each have memories of her that we will always cherish.  

Thanks Shirley! Its hard to say goodbye!"

This tribute was added by Randy Daniels on 14th November 2013

"Deanna and I truly enjoyed getting to know Shirley. Her zest for life was contagious! We are reminded of her genorisity and philanthropic spirit each time we set foot in the wonderful Meyer Theater at MCCC. Although we cannot be there on Saturday to help celebrate her wonderful life, we send our deepest sympathy, love and prayers. She will be missed."

This tribute was added by Judy Nixon on 13th November 2013

"So happy to have known the unforgettable Miss Shirley Adele.  Am humming Our Song: "Twas a cold winter's evening....".  We had SO much fun together.  Shirley will always be with all who knew her in her great spirit.  Love to you and to her.   Judy & Dave"

This tribute was added by Ron and Delle Campbell on 12th November 2013

""From the inception of the college we provided for Performing Acts, lectures, music Vocal as well as Instrumental. More than 40 years later the dream of having a beautiful 600 seat Auditorium with amazing acoustics became a reality! Thanks to the generosity of a beautiful lady. We will miss you Shirley!!!  Delle and Ron Campbell"

This tribute was added by Kathleen Guy on 11th November 2013

"What a grand and full life lived.  She has left a tremendous legacy of generosity to her beloved community and college.  I feel lucky to have been able to meet her through Monroe County Community College."

This tribute was added by Sally Jaynes on 10th November 2013

"So sorry to hear about Shirley passing.  She was an amazing, wonderful character.  Loved her PIZZAZZ!  The hair, the laugh...what fun it was to be in her presence.  Mostly,what a wonderful MOM, she so loved every minute with you, Mike and was so proud of you. We've always been , too.  You have your mother's fun sense of humor & loyalty to community. She was much loved & you are , too."

This tribute was added by Ursula Terrasi on 10th November 2013

"Shared a story"

This tribute was added by Margie Bacarella on 9th November 2013

"As each of us passes through time we reflect upon the characters in life and the characters that are larger than life, characters that are perhaps from a bygone era. Shirley Meyer was one of those extraordinary individuals, larger than life itself, a member of the Greatest Generation whose remarkable actions and selfless contributions made our community a better place in which to live."

This tribute was added by Terry Carlton on 9th November 2013

"Monroe has lost a grand lady in the passing of your mother, your aunt, your grandmother and our friend, Shirley Meyer. She was a great woman and a role model for all. She was a strong and bright force that got things done and led others to follow her generous path. We  will  miss that beautiful smile! Good Bye dear friend and neighbor."

This tribute was added by Darrell Granger on 9th November 2013

"She was amazing woman!  I am truly blessed to have known her.  I will always remember the weekend we spent in Key West with Dame Shirley, Lee, Michael and Bill.  What Fun !  Her peels of laughter will ring in my ears forever!  And, yes, she was the quintessential DAME !!"

This tribute was added by Joe Verkennes on 9th November 2013

"I had the pleasure of first meeting Shirley on a trip to Ft. Lauderdale in the mid 2000s to videotape a testimonial from her about her gift that made the Meyer Theater a reality.  We shot the footage on her yacht, and then spent the rest of the evening having dinner and listening to Shirley tell wonderful stories about her life.  It was a night I will never forget.  Truly an amazing woman."

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This memorial is administered by:

William H Braunlich


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