A fiery, loving wife, mother, and grandmother passed away of old age on Monday, September 14th at her home at Beacon Crest Senior Living Center, at the age of 86.
Shirley Anne Wilson Anderson was born May 25th, 1934 in Provo, Utah, to Billie Woodrow Wilson and Ethel Lucille Murdock Wilson.
Twelve years later a baby brother was born, William Douglas (Jeanette Thompson) Wilson. The two children spent most of their childhood in Provo. Frequent visitors at the Wilson home were the Murdock aunts and uncles from among her mother’s twelve siblings, who all entertained and played musical instruments. She was adored by a widowed grandfather, William Mercer Wilson (whom she called “Poppy”.) The Wilson aunts and uncles were also there often.
Shirley Anne was a redheaded, braided star with a gorgeous smile, she had a keen sense of humor that she kept to the very end. She and her husband John Anderson, had the kindest, funniest, longest running banter of words between them, which endeared them to their children, as well as so many close and wonderful friends. Their children aspire to similar happy, wonderful marriages!
She met her future husband, John, at a Church social. He loved her the minute he saw the beautiful girl at the piano, smiling his way and playing chop-sticks. At the time she was a BYU Courgarette and he was a tall dark handsome BYU football player. (She was President and choreographed many of their marches.) The magic began at this social, and their great love story proceeded to unfold. They were married in the Salt Lake Temple on September 4th, 1953. They had three children before he graduated from law school. In those early days they lived in Stadium Village Apartments, just off the U of U campus. Final tally they had six children: Julie (Craig White) - Beaver, UT; Denece (John Stillings) - South Jordan, UT; Karilee (Kevin Olsen) - Bluffdale, UT; Laurie (Terry Gale) - Saratoga Springs, UT; John Douglas (Julie Rodeman) Anderson - Aurora, UT; Amy Plott - Eagle Mountain, UT; and 32 grandchildren; 101 great-grandchildren, plus spouses.
They raised their family in Sandy, UT. In the earlier years Shirley sewed most of the clothing her daughters wore. She made doll clothes, baby clothes, school dresses, costumes…and later prom dresses and bridal dresses. She gave perms, put in pin-curls and did hairdos for five girls. She did scouting, sports and a mission with one boy. She liked fast, fancy cars. She rode Doug’s motorcycle around the house before tipping it over. She spoke her mind and excelled in articulation and assertiveness.
Shirley sang in quartets, choirs, and with her family. She gathered her children around and played guitar while they sang. She encouraged them to likewise perform with piano, quartets, high school marching groups, cheerleading, plays, ballet and every other kind of lesson to be had. She believed in recreation and entertainment. On Monday nights she made an outstanding dessert for her family and entertained them as though they were her best friends. And they still ARE.
She oil painted, toll painted, and decorated. She made pottery. She cooked and entertained friends and loved people. She had faith and believed you could do absolutely ANYTHING you truly wanted to do. She believed in Santa and said that if you ever stopped believing, he would stop coming, which turned out to be true.
Mom did not preach, but she absolutely believed in Jesus Christ and followed his teachings. She did everything in her power to support the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She taught the children and youth. She presided, she organized and directed. She was a strong leader.
Shirley listened to her children. She always seemed to know how to support her family and what to say in each situation. She was a problem solver. Her first objective was to raise happy, balanced, successful people who would contribute to family and society. She was a tough disciplinarian. Shirley supported John in his attorney work and especially when he was a Bishop, and a Stake President. At that time she single-handedly kept the family on course. Only a woman of super strength could have managed a large family, entertained church leaders, and given her children what they needed.
Shirley Anderson sold real-estate when her children got older. Sometimes she appreciated the real-estate so well that she moved in! John supported her in whatever she wanted to do because he thought she had amazing judgement. They discussed a lot before making decisions together.
She certainly did have great judgement! She taught us to put our spouses and our families first. She taught us to have empathy, understanding and volunteerism for those less fortunate and fight for the things we believed in. Her children developed a fierce desire to help and foster others because of her teachings.
Our mom taught us to get together and have fun with our siblings. She said they were our “eternal friends”. She was hostess for “millions” of parties, picnics, dances on the patio, camps of every kind, and programs. She taught us to bring out the wonderful food, the music, display our talents, plan get-togethers, teach our kids what was truly important, “put away jealousies, envyings and strifes,” to support each other and reunions so we could stay close to one another as parents, siblings and cousins.
Mom adjusted to situations that weren’t easy. She overcame relative poverty, kids’ bad decisions, cancer, broken bones, old age, care centers, and even death. She was not a complainer! She was a template of peace, possibilities, and set a precedence on how to live an extraordinary life and “endure to the end.” We are so proud of you, our wife, mother, sister, friend and exemplar!
Funeral services for Shirley Anderson will be held on Saturday, September 19th at 1:00 PM at the Londonderry Chapel located at 11164 S. Londonderry Drive, Sandy, with a viewing one hour prior to services. Interment to follow at Larkin Sunset Gardens, 1950 E. Dimple Dell Rd., Sandy. Please use precautions and remember that elderly persons, like John Anderson are at very high risk of Covid. Funeral services are under the direction of Larkin Mortuary. We thank the staff there and also the staff at Beacon Crest.
Doug Anderson has invited guests to a Zoom Meeting for those who wish to view the funeral online. https://uso2web.zoom.us. Meeting ID: 8337310 0690, Passcode: 502960