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Shirley Anne Back

The Gridley Herald of Gridley, California

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Shirley Anne Back, 93, died peacefully at home on October 2, 2015.

She was a beloved mother of three, grandmother of seven and great-grandmother of nine. She lived a long and happy life and was loved deeply by her family and friends.

Shirley was born in Denver, Colorado in 1922. Her father was an executive for a large company and was transferred often. Her family lived in Lake Oswego, Oregon, Rye, New York, Chicago, Illinois and Kansas City, Missouri.

Shirley loved Kansas City and considered it her hometown. She graduated Southwest High School in Kansas City and went on to attend the University of Oregon where she met her husband of 48 years Shirley belonged to the Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority, and Ralph was a Sigma Chi. During college, WWII broke out, and Ralph fought in the South Pacific. Shirley completed college with a Bachelor of Science in English and a minor in German. When the war ended, Ralph and Shirley were married in Salinas, California and moved to Gridley. Ralph ran the Greyhound Bus Depot, and Shirley worked for the City of Gridley. She has resided in Gridley for the past 69 years and has loved Gridley and all it has to offer.

Shirley attended the Presbyterian Church, was a member of the Ladies of Moose; she was an active member in the Green Thumb Garden Club and the Writing Club (several of her writings were published in the Gridley Herald). She also volunteered in her daughter's classroom at Sycamore Middle School teaching students water color.

Shirley was an accomplished artist. She and her sister, Jean, attended art lessons under Flo Barnett in Paradise, California. In their 70's, Jean and Shirley started an art business they named "The Sisters". Their art was distributed and sold in the Western United States.

Shirley loved her family deeply, and her happiest times were spent with them. She hosted all major holidays and cooked tirelessly for the entire group with a smile on her face and never a complaint. She delighted in family trips to Trinidad, California to hunt for agates at Patrick's Point. She enjoyed gold panning, hiking and camping. She was always ready for an adventure. Her favorite kind of adventure was a road trip, and she took many throughout her life.

Shirley was preceded in death by her husband, Ralph,; sister, Jean; brother, Phillip Gillett; and her brother-in-law, Walter Julian.

She is survived by and will be deeply missed by three daughters: Carol Nails, Joan Brock (Elmer), and Ellen Fisher (Dan); grandchildren: Jennifer Sillstrop (Jody), Elizabeth Kuttler (Sage), Valerie Combs (Justin), Michael Brock (Satia), Ryan Fisher (Julie), Danielle Kaplan (Brandon), and Aaron Fisher (Amber); nine great-grandchildren; sister-in-law, Cordelia Gillett; several cousins and many nieces and nephews.

A Memorial Service will be held on November 7, 2015, at 2 p.m., at the Gridley Presbyterian Church followed by a celebration of life at the Gridley Moose Lodge. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Gridley children's charity, FOCUS, P.O. Box 1141, Gridley, California 95948.

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Original Publication Date: November 4, 2015

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