July 30, 1930 — February 13, 2019
Shirley was endlessly selfless, effortlessly loving, always respectful, impeccably modest, and steadfastly principled.
She was stricken with Alzheimer’s in her later years, which robbed her from being a cherished friend and a devoted mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. She passed away after a long, courageous and valiant struggle. Unfortunately, during this span, she was unable to remember her remarkable life.
Shirley was a longtime resident of Corvallis, where she worked tirelessly as a realtor for Town and Country. She retired and returned to Portland in 2001. She had many friends that were very close to her heart.
Shirley (Stewart) and her sister, Sally Palmer (Portland), were born in Parkrose to Warren (1968) and Kathleen (Skipton) (1980). Warren worked at Zidell Shipyards and Kathleen was the longtime organist and pianist at the First Baptist Church in downtown Portland.
Shirley was a 1948 graduate of Parkrose High School. She went on to Lewis and Clark College where she was heavily involved. She was selected as the May Queen in her graduation year. This was quite the honor. During college, her activities included the rally squad, the choir and Alpha Gamma Sorority. Shirley also followed in her mother’s footsteps as a classically trained pianist.
After graduating in 1953, she worked briefly as a receptionist at Union Oil in Portland. In those days, she was adventurous and she moved on to take a job at Girls Poly Tech High School teaching typing and shorthand. She met her dearest friend, Janet Barber (Portland), and together, this duo was referred to as the “Gold Dust Twins” by the other faculty. Her teaching credentials eventually led her to Franklin High School.
At Franklin, she met Lido Botti (2013) and they were married in 1956. They had two sons. The oldest is Dan, who is an investment adviser in Portland. The youngest is Chris, who is the world-renowned, Grammy-winning trumpet player and musical arranger. At this point, Shirley retired from teaching and became a full-time homemaker.
In 1966, the family moved to Corvallis, when Lido got hired at Oregon State. Subsequently, Lido’s teaching took the family to Pavia, Italy for two years. During this time, Shirley and family also traveled throughout Europe and even took a trip to east Africa. Shirley also taught the family to be proficient skiers just as she was in college.
The family returned to Corvallis in 1970. Shirley immersed herself in her sons’ activities such as driving Dan to countless running races, introducing the boys and their friends to the new concept of “malls” in Portland, like the Lloyd Center, and driving 80 miles to mid-week Blazer games. She taught the boys piano lessons. Most significantly, she nourished the budding talents of Chris by making endless trips to Portland for professional instruction and performances.
The family fell on difficult financial times and this led to a divorce in 1974. Shirley had to get a paying job to make ends meet. She re-created herself as a 44-year-old real estate agent at Kings View Realty. Later, she moved to Town and Country Realty. Her efforts let her flourish in this profession.
She was an avid tennis player at Timber Hill Racquet Club. Most importantly, she made many close friends throughout the community. Incomparable Corvallis families contributed to raising the boys and supporting Shirley.
Shirley retired in 2001 and moved to Portland to be near Dan and his family. During her life, she always had a curiously keen sense of herself and she literally seemed to foresee her impending illness. Sadly, it was during these years that she began the intentional preparation for her ultimate demise.
As a young woman and throughout her life, Shirley was idiosyncratically selfless and even the ravages of the disease did not diminish this characteristic. Her close friend from Lewis and Clark and from skiing, Ray Morris (Portland), provided many photos and accounts of Shirley and also made comforting visits during these last years.
Shirley is survived by her sister, Sally; son Dan and Cendi (Hillsboro), son Chris (New York City); grandchildren, Audrey Roloff (Jeremy, Hillsboro) and great-granddaughter, Ember Roloff; and grandchildren Margo (Portland), and Jack (Bend).
The family would ask that in lieu of flowers or donations that people take an occasion to be with families and friends at a meal and during this time, to raise a glass of cheers for Shirley.
A special memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. on Thursday, March 7, at the Norwest Events Center, 2900 NE Century Blvd #100, Hillsboro, OR 97124.
Jesus said, “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God and trust also in me”. John 14:1-3.