Cover photo for Shirley Coleen Newhouse's Obituary
Shirley Coleen Newhouse Profile Photo
1935 Shirley 2024

Shirley Coleen Newhouse

January 31, 1935 — March 28, 2024

Just as the dark, rich soil supports the mighty oak; our “Granny” has been the caretaker of our family tree. Shirley Coleen Harmon Newhouse passed away on Thursday, March 28, 2024. She was born January 31, 1935, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to Floyd Ray and Laura Mae Miller Harmon. She was the fifth child of four brothers and four sisters. Her childhood was one of impoverished circumstances, but she was always proud of her down-home Oklahoma heritage and the love her family shared. Her Dad supported his family by walking miles to a government work site where he was assigned to a crew who was issued a wheelbarrow and a shovel. They dug out what is today known as Mohawk Lake before walking all the way home. He was paid less than $1.50 a day. Her Mom spent her days doing the wash on a washboard and figuring out what she could put in the soup pot to make dinner stretch when he got home. Shirley and her family lived in a two-bedroom, one bath ramshackle house. Her closet was a cardboard box under her bed, and it was a lottery every night to see how many kids they could fit in the beds, on the floor and on the couch before school the next day, where they carried a thin layer of gravy on a biscuit for their lunch. But even though they lacked in physical comforts and necessities, they never lacked in love. Granny Harmon kept their home immaculately clean and their clothes were mended and spotless. These were also hallmarks of Shirley’s home, clean, sparkling, everyone dressed shipshape!!

 

Shirley was married at 16 and had four children, Carla, Chuck, Mike, and Bobby, by the time she was 23. The marriage ended in divorce while living in Lawton, Oklahoma, where she had started a new life. Mom met Fred LaMonte Newhouse while square dancing and they were married on March 14, 1967. Monte’s three children, Linda, Fred, and Bill made seven kids in the roll call and a loving, close knit family began a new chapter. Dad introduced Shirley to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and she was baptized, as well as her children, and the marriage was later solemnized for time and all eternity in the Cardston Alberta Temple. When Monte, also known as “Pappy” to Shirley’s “Granny”, retired from the army at Ft. Sill in Lawton, Monte was hired with U.S. Customs in beautiful Eastport in Northern Idaho and the happiest chapters of their lives were written. They lived in government housing right next to the port and the adventures were many! There was hunting, hiking, horses, fishing, a church branch that we walked across the Canadian border to attend that only had about 20 or so people in it.

 

Granny was the consummate homemaker for her brood. With six kids in the house and one bathroom, and the school bus leaving shortly after 7 a.m. for the 30 plus mile ride to town, she would get everyone up in rotation, have a healthy, hot, bounteous breakfast on the table, and did so with her make-up on, hair done, and fully dressed. Since Dad had already walked next door to report to work at 6 a.m., she would walk over and sit and visit with him before coming back home and starting her daily chores. When the ravenous family arrived home for dinner, there was always a full dinner ready for the table, complete with fancy desert dishes filled with either Jello or tapioca, tapioca being Pappy’s favorite.

 

Weekends were family time. The Moyie River was right outside our door, and it was clean and clear and gave us many MANY hours of family enjoyment. Granny was terrified of water growing up, and she would always go out in the water up to her knees and stand there instructing us kids to not go any further out into the water. The boys, of course, did not adhere to this admonishment, and when she was not present would jump off of the rock cliff embankment called “Big Rock” on the Moyie and became expert swimmers. Carla, of course, being more dutiful and responsible, obeyed her mother and to this day, cannot swim and does not like water.

 

Huckleberries were a big deal in North Idaho, generations before they became a big deal everywhere else, and they were plentiful in Eastport. Granny would have all of us kids go out regularly to pick huckleberries to put in the freezer. In fact, she became what you might call the “huckleberry police”. She discovered that metal coffee cans with plastic lids were the perfect vessel for collecting huckleberries, so after procuring many cans from neighbors, we would go up on the mountainsides and she would not let us eat a single huckleberry until we had filled our cans, and if you know anything about huckleberry picking, it takes a while to fill those cans and sneaking a few huckleberries is impossible without the telltale stains on your lips! She would make huckleberry syrup, huckleberry jam, and huckleberry pies….

 

Oh!! Granny’s pies!!!   They were a delight!! Nice flaky crusts, delicious fillings, and even as the family grew, she remembered which pie was each member’s favorite! She would have many of the granddaughters over to teach them how to make pies.

 

And we can’t forget her gingerbread houses. Granny insisted on making gingerbread houses for each family to decorate every Christmas and it took her at least a week to bake them all and meticulously put them together for the ornamentation by the grandkids. And it wasn’t just six or seven – she would always make fourteen or so – just in case a neighbor needed one for their family to decorate.

 

Granny’s cooking was legendary!! Everything she made was delicious! Her trademarks were Mandarin Chicken, Scotcheroos, chocolate chip cookies, chicken fried nuggets and white gravy, and birthday cakes! Birthday cakes gave her special satisfaction and joy. She was the birthday queen! She INSISTED that everyone get together for birthday parties and there would be birthday cake. Even in her later years, when she became very ill and weak, when she realized two or three birthdays were coming up, she would light up and ask when we were going to have the party. She kept a meticulous calendar of every single one of the birthdays of kids, grandkids, great-grandkids, kid’s in-law, etc.

You can’t talk about Granny without talking about her chocolate gravy. Chocolate gravy was a staple in her childhood and that was way before it became a “thing” and Trisha Yearwood put it in her cookbook. Nothing could compare to Granny’s chocolate gravy. No one has a sleepover at Granny’s without chocolate gravy for breakfast and no one would want to.

 

Another passion for Granny was sewing and quilting. Hours were spent at the dining room table sewing clothing for school and prom dresses. Then she got into quilting and wedding quilts and baby quilts became her obsession. Each grandchild received a wedding quilt except Renae (because she was the last grandchild to get married). Granny started it and got pretty far but was too sick to finish it, but we promise, Renae, we will get it finished for you. For 30 years or more, her quilting involved hand stitching around the design on pre-printed fabric or piecing together meticulously cut pieces together to sew into intricate designs. The quilt frames were set up and long winter nights in Eastport and many nights in Centerville were spent quilting with Granny. She would do thousands of the tiniest and most delicate stitches, and then bind them by hand. She wanted to put her special kind of love in each stitch. Baby quilts, appreciation quilts, commissioned quilts. The grandbabies and great grandbabies were wrapped in her love. As she became sicker, she could not do the intricate outline stitching anymore and had to send them out for machine stitching and it pained her a great deal. She was able to do the binding stitching and that was a great comfort for her as she could still be assured that her love would be tangible. Samples of her amazing work are present on the benches today.


Granny was a whiz with numbers and budgeting. Even though she left high school early to get married when it was no big deal to do so, she shined in skills testing for math. While living in Bonners Ferry,she obtained a job as a teller at First Security Bank, and this was back in the day before computers. She loved her job and co-workers and enjoyed visiting with everyone that came in. She did so well that she soon rose to the position of head teller and was responsible for reconciling all of the other teller's drawers at the end of the day and depositing the money in the vault.


Granny valued education and when the grandchildren living nearby in Centerville became old enough, she didn't just babysit but enrolled them in Granny school. She pulled out her freshly sharpened pencils, lined tablet and box of multiplication flash cards and every kid had Granny School before they could play. These same grandkids became magnates of business and finance, business managers, entrepreneurs, educators, an attorney and rescue pilot, and thanks to Granny, they all had one thing in common - they knew their multiplication tables and could write their name!!!


Granny was so proud of her family. When she enjoyed better health, she and Pappy would travel the country attending baby blessings, graduations, weddings, birthdays, school programs, sporting events, awards, dance recitals, rodeo events, etc. The grandchildren each had a personal relationship with Granny, but each also had an individual relationship with her, and she made them feel like they were her favorite. And of course, they were! 


But the greatest love of her life was our Dad. Their love will not only last the 57 years of their marriage, but for eternity. They were never one without the other. They were not joined at the hip but at the heart. They supported each other tirelessly through health challenges, church callings, family crises, EVERYTHING!! Church was their anchor. They attended church religiously (ha!) Nothing happened on Sunday until after church. They were known as “Grandma and Grandpa Church” in Syracuse. Little children knew that Granny had a warm hug, welcoming lap, and candy in her purse. She loved little children so much! They read their scriptures every night. They prayed together every night. She cooked Dad’s favorites. She watched his diet like a hawk to keep him with her as long as she could. She kept herself fixed up for him, always having meticulous hair and makeup. She always wore two-piece suits to church because she wanted to be sophisticated and stylish for him and wanted him to be proud of her. She was and always will be his sweetheart. Holding hands on the couch watching westerns or Fox News – they were one. Even as she was leaving this earth, she would wiggle her hand until she could feel Pappy’s holding it. They truly were a remarkable of a marriage partnership that lasted through good times and bad.


Granny was always teaching and inspiring her family – and making us laugh. She had her special axioms that were a standard – whatever I have, I have to share; HYP (honor your priesthood and remember who you are); the secret ingredient is love; coming in our rooms to wake us up by singing “Good Morning To You” to wake us up – not in a sweet endearing way but in the most grating voice she could muster;   whatever works; talk atcha’ later; I love you baby, give your sweetheart a hug for me, always put pepper on your white gravy – don’t eat naked gravy”.  Granny was a remarkable lady. We are grateful for her life and influence. She made our family what it is today. Her reunion with her parents, siblings, son, and grandson is surely joyous and we are so happy for her. But we ache for her to be here with us, especially our Dad. We are here for you, Dad, watching over you for Mom as she would want us to. But in the meantime, we look to her example as our guiding beacon in this life and hold her loving words in our hearts. 


Shirley is survived by her dear husband, Fred LaMonte “Monte” Newhouse of Syracuse, Utah; children, Linda (Steve) of Burley, Idaho; Carla of West Point; Chuck (Susan) of Bonners, Ferry, Idaho; Fred (Maggie) of Ashley, North Dakota; Mike (Laurie) of South Weber, Utah; Bill of Meridian, Idaho; and Martha of McKinney, Texas; 23 grandchildren and 40 great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her youngest son, Bobby; dearest grandson, Kyle LaMonte Newhouse; precious great-granddaughter, Elyse Prow; her parents; and six siblings.


Funeral services will be held on Saturday, April 6, 2024, at 11 a.m. at Lindquist’s Ogden Mortuary, 3408 Washington Blvd. Friends may visit with family on Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at the mortuary. Interment, Lindquist’s Washington Heights Memorial Park, 4500 Washington Blvd.


Services will be live-streamed and available the day of the services by scrolling to the bottom of Shirley’s obituary page at: www.lindquistmortuary.com  where condolences may also be shared.

 

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Shirley Coleen Newhouse, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Friday, April 5, 2024

6:00 - 8:00 pm (Mountain time)

Lindquist's Ogden Mortuary

3408 Washington Blvd, Ogden, UT 84401

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Visitation

Saturday, April 6, 2024

9:30 - 10:30 am (Mountain time)

Lindquist's Ogden Mortuary

3408 Washington Blvd, Ogden, UT 84401

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Saturday, April 6, 2024

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Mountain time)

Lindquist's Ogden Mortuary

3408 Washington Blvd, Ogden, UT 84401

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Interment

Saturday, April 6, 2024

12:15 - 1:15 pm (Mountain time)

Lindquist's Washington Heights Memorial Park

4500 E Washington Blvd, Ogden, UT 84403

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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