Shirley Marie Chavez, a long time resident of Fountain Valley, CA, quietly left this life and entered the glory of heaven on January 7, 2020. Shirley was born in the town of Akron, Iowa on January 18, 1930, the second child and first daughter of Everett and Cordelia Coyle. She grew up on a farm just outside Akron, across the river in South Dakota, and spent her school days in town. After high school, she left home to attend nursing school at Presentation College in Aberdeen, SD. After graduating and earning her RN, she worked for a couple years before setting her sights on California. At 23, she and three other friends, all nurses, boarded a train and moved west for jobs in Long Beach, She never looked back and California became her home for the rest of her life.
Shirley chose to focus her role as a nurse with the tiniest of human life and worked as a neonatal nurse initially, later moving into the regular newborn nursery. While she assisted with labor and delivery (even delivering twins by herself when a doctor was running late!), she spent most of her time caring for the babies. After taking time off to care for her own babies, she returned to work for a career that spanned 40 years.
In January of 1958, Shirley married Emilio C. Chavez after a five year courtship. They started their family soon after with their firstborn daughter and over the next eight years, they added five more children, two sons, a second daughter, and two more sons. In 1964, Shirley and Emilio, whom she affectionately referred to as her "Amie", moved from Long Beach to the newly developed city of Fountain Valley with the purchase of their first and forever home. As the family grew, Shirley became active in the school PTO and was a founding member of the Fountain Valley Woman's Club. She made lifelong friendships from her involvement in these organizations. She and Amie were founding families of three separate Catholic churches as the population of the area grew. They finally found their home with their beloved St. Vincent de Paul parish and were active members of the church community for over 40 years.
Shirley was a vivacious and out-going person with an infectious laugh, who made friends easily and was not afraid to try new things. She loved to dress in bright colors, especially reds, pinks and fuschia. She was never without her signature lipstick. Shirley was a doer, and while she didn't aspire to leadership roles, she often found herself in charge. She had many hobbies through the years including sewing, painting, crafting, and collecting Christmas ornaments, She enjoyed camping and loved to travel and visit new places. She was an avid reader and engaged in all manner of self improvement and faith formation from daily walks and morning mass, to participation in weekly bible study and rosary groups. to attendance at yearly retreats and religious education conferences. She had a great devotion to Mary and was thrilled to be able to make pilgrimages to both Medugorie and Lourdes.
Shirley is survived by her beloved husband of 61 years, Emilio, her six children, Tina Sutera, John Chavez (Gorete), Joseph Chavez, Cathy Bishop (Troy), Jerome Chavez, Charlie (Andi). She is also survived by her sister Pat Olson, and two brothers, Jerry and Tom Coyle. She leaves behind five grandchildren and one great grandson. She was pre-deceased by her parents, brother Richard Coyle, sister Joan Boe, and son-in-law, Patrick Sutera. Shirley will be remembered for her deep faith, her love of family and friendship, her commitment to service, and the joy and energy with which she engaged life.
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