Shirlee Petersen Roper was born May 23, 1934 to Joseph Francis ‘France’ Petersen and Mary LeGay Nelson in Malad Idaho and left this life (after sticking her tongue out) to be reunited with her eternal companion, Golden and parents on June 27, 2023. Shirlee was the oldest of 3 daughters, Karen LeGay Skanchy (deceased) and Carol Ann Petersen (who died as an infant). Shirlee grew up in her early years outside of Malad with her father farming in the Arbon Valley. When Shirlee was in elementary school, France moved his family to Bancroft where Shirlee attended school and met the handsome young man (Golden Roper) that swept her off her feet.
Shirlee graduated from North Gem High School on May 23, 1952, (her birthday), and Golden proposed that same day. They were married July 28, 1952, in the Logan Utah Temple and then moved to Pocatello where Golden attended Idaho State University until his father-in-law, France asked him to come help him on the farm in Bancroft. While living in Bancroft their first son Grant Francis was born followed by Tab Russell.
In 1960 the family moved to Logan Utah where Golden attended Utah State University. To help put Golden through school Shirlee worked at First Security Bank as a teller along with being a full-time mom. During the summers of 1963 and 1964 Golden worked as an intern at IBM in New York leaving mom a single parent for the summer with two docile boys (broken bones, heads with stiches) who never did anything wrong. We still don’t understand how she survived. In 1963 their daughter Roxie LeGay (who had an unruly amount of black hair) was added to the family.
In 1965, after Golden’s graduation, the family moved to Soda Springs Idaho and then in 1966 moved to Longmont Colorado where Golden started a career with IBM (I’ve Been Moved). In Longmont they added a third son (the greatest and most perfect son) Thomas Craig. 1976 brought a transfer with IBM to San Jose, California then in 1979 a transfer to Tucson Arizona, and in 1988 another transfer to Rochester Minnesota where they lived until Golden’s retirement in 1993 when they moved to Layton Utah.
Shirlee, or mom as we call her, had so many great characteristics and a few not so great. (Ooops, sorry mom I shouldn’t have said that). She was intelligent, talented, organized, welcoming, selfless, witty, humorous, and spiritual.
Her intellect and smarts were manifested in her love of games. She could always be found playing games, working on strategy, and of course she always won. Sometimes we think she cheated.
She shared her many talents with others, especially with the quilts and baby blankets that she made. She made quilts for her kids and grandkids from old levis and suits that may have had worn spots or holes from falls, but the quilts were done with love and to perfection. The dozens of baby blankets that were made grace dozens of homes and not just the family.
Mom loved to travel taking many trips throughout her life. After retirement her and dad ‘road tripped’ across the United States and came back west across Canada, with the goal to visit all 50 states in her life. Alaska was on the bucket list, but other priorities and health keep kept them from the Alaskan cruise they wanted to take. Once while driving across Tennessee a turtle was on the side of the road and mom stopped the car waiting for the turtle to cross the road. She was afraid it would speed up and she would squish it.
Those of us lucky enough to be around mom, had a variety of nicknames she called us. If we were pouting, she would ask if we wanted to eat mollygrubs. If we were sad, she would call us a picklepuss. If we were in trouble, she would call us by our full name and say ‘you’re going to H E double toothpicks’. If we were in really bad trouble, it was ‘wait till you father gets home’. If she didn’t know what to say she would stick her tongue out at us. Those that have had that experience know ‘the look’.
Mom wasn’t a saint. She did have her, not so good characteristics. She loved her gossip. She loved watching the neighbors and talking about what they were doing (sorry neighbors). This was more pronounced the older she got and at the end she had no filter. She would say things right in front of the person she was gossiping about. Which made for awkward or funny experiences.
Shirlee was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served in many capacities and callings throughout her life. Those included serving as primary president, relief society president, Bishop’s wife, and the past years as a Temple worker. She loved the gospel, had a testimony of Christ, and shared that with her children and grandchildren.
There are many things that can be said about mom. She was full of love. No matter how stupid or outlandish we acted or continue to act, she always told us she loved us. She showed that love in the many acts of service she gave to her family and others. There are stories we hear from those that had tragedy or distress where mom was there to help. Mom cared more for others than she had concern for herself. ‘Others always came first’ was her motto. We have seen those acts of service throughout our lives within our family.
She had family living with her throughout her life and took any kids, grandkids, and her mother into her home when they were in need. When her mother was living in a care center she went everyday to make sure she was ‘okay’. She always remembered birthdays and her and dad always traveled to be at special occasions for their kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids.
Shirlee is preceded in death by her husband, Golden; parents, J Francis and LeGay Petersen; sisters Karen Skanchy (TC) and Carol Ann Petersen; and a grandson Spencer Roper. She is survived by 4 children; Grant (Bernadette) Pocatello ID; Tab (Heidi) Boise, ID; Roxie (Val Startup) Grantsvilles, UT, Craig (Jennifer) Layton, UT; 15 Grandchildren,11 In-law Grandchildren, 21 Great Granchildren and one on the way.
Graveside services will be held Saturday, July 1, 2023 at 11:00 a.m. at the Bancroft Idaho Cemetery, Bancroft, Idaho. Friends may visit with family Friday, June 30 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Lindquist’s Layton Mortuary, 1867 No. Fairfield Rd., Layton, Utah.
We want to thank all those that have been of service to our mother, especially the staff at Fairfield Village. Growing old and having dementia can take away one’s dignity but you continued to show kindness to mom, even when she may have been feisty. Remember her as she was, a loving and kind person with a sense of humor.