Life Story / Obituary
Shirley Ann Whitten, 83, of Traverse City, passed away unexpectedly on Friday, March 17th, 2023.
Shirley was born on July 22nd, 1939 to Dallas and Evelyn Zeits in Plymouth, IN. She graduated from Traverse City Saint Francis High School in 1957 and then attended Davenport Institute in Grand Rapids, MI.
Shirley was devoted and loving to her family, friends and her dog Sophie.
After high school and while attending college in Grand Rapids, Shirley met the love of her life, Tracey from Maple City, MI. They were married on May 2nd, 1959 and enjoyed 61 wonderful years until Tracey’s passing on March 10th, 2020. She was a lifetime member of Traverse St. Francis Parrish. Shirley started her 45-year career as a Legal Secretary in 1967 working for Hubbell, Blakeslee & McCormick. During the course of her career, in 1990 she was nominated by her boss, John Blakeslee and chosen as the “Legal Secretary of the Year” by the Grand Traverse County Legal Secretaries Association. Shirley retired from her profession in 2012.
Shirley enjoyed her home of 46 years on Cedar Run and could be occasionally seen by passersby sitting in front of the garage with family and friends enjoying warm summer evenings and great conversations. Shirley enjoyed camping at Lime Lake with family and friends, cooking, mushrooming, raising a garden full of wonderful rhubarb along with various fruits and vegetables that she would share with all who enjoyed the spoils of her effort. She enjoyed canning and knitting as well. She & Tracey vacationed many winter years with close friends Dee & Alex in Cancun, Mexico. She enjoyed attending the picnic & boat parade during the 4th of July at her son’s lake lot on Silver Lake. She also enjoyed a trip to the casino now and then. Shirley enjoyed following Michigan’s professional and collegiate sports teams, particularly the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Lions.
Shirley is preceded in death by her loving husband of 61 years Tracey, parents Dallas and Evelyn (Zeits) and son Gregory.
Shirley is survived by sons Steven (Carolyn) and Michael (Debbie), daughter Kimberly, grandchildren Jessica (Andrew), Brent (Jennifer), Jenny (Scott), Jason (Kristin), Janna (Jacob), Brooke (John), and 13 great grandchildren.
Visitation will be held at 5pm-7pm, Thursday, April 13, 2023, at Life Story Funeral Home. A Rosary Service will take place at 6pm.
A memorial mass will be held at 11am, Friday, April 14, 2023, at St. Francis Catholic Church. The family will greet friends starting at 10am. A luncheon will be held at the church prior to interment at Memorial Gardens Cemetery.
Memorial Contributions may be made to the Orchard Creek Assisted Living Activities Program, 9715 E. Cherry Bend Rd., Traverse City, MI 49684; Munson Healthcare Foundation – Heart Services, 1150 E. Medical Campus Dr., Traverse City, MI 49684 or to St. Francis Catholic Church, 1025 S. Union St., Traverse City, MI 49684.
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