Please join us in mourning the loss of our dear wife, mother and grandmother Shirley Plevak who passed away on Friday, November 3rd.
Shirley grew up in South Milwaukee, WI with her parents, Hilton and Virginia and two brothers, Wayne and David in the idealic post WWII era. These were simple times surrounded by friends, family and some of the best Polish and German food to be found in the country. But even better than the brats straight from Sheboygan was her boyfriend from three streets over – Joe Plevak.
Joe and Shirley met at a high school dance in the early 1950’s. Shirley was voted the “queen” of this particular dance and asked Joe to be her “king.” A high-school sweetheart romance ensued. After a brief time apart as they both pursued their college degrees, the romance grew culminate with marriage in July of 1961.
Shirley and Joe started their married years as a military family in Fort Reilly, KS. They fondly recall those years shared with the tight knit military community but probably most special was the arrival of their first daughter, Janelle who was delivered on the base for the handsome sum of seven dollars…Joe had to pay for the meals.
They have four daughters in total. Julie, Jill and Joan round out the Plevak clan. While Julie was born in South Milwaukee, Jill and Joan where born in Aurora, IL where the family grew and thrived for many years. Weekend pool parties at the Plevak house were the cornerstone of the Aurora summer.
Shirley had a special affinity for children and this love was not only played out with her own children but also as part of her chosen career as lower elementary school teacher. She taught for several schools over her 30+ year career. Her Master’s degree and reputation for individual care insured she was always in high demand. Shirley routinely spent her own time on evenings and weekends making sure her home rooms were always impeccably decorated for the delight of her students.
Shirley and Joe retired in 2001 and moved to Sun City, AZ. A move that they both describe as “the best decision they ever made.” Along with the enjoyment of retirement years was the ability to focus on family. Support of her daughters and her rapidly expanding brood of grandchildren was Shirley’s special passion. She has six in all. Her triplet grandsons Garrett, Lucas and Nathan (23) along with Joe (19), Sam (16) and Lauren (15). She was always thrilled to hear about the daily adventures of her grandkids. She would sit and quiz them for hours hanging on their every word.
Shirley was wonderfully creative and active in many of the clubs in Sun City. As a regular member of the stamping, silver, beading and stained glass clubs she created little treasures for the enjoyment of her friends and family. She had a special fondness for making greeting cards and would toil for hours until her product was perfect. Receiving one of her “Made by Shirley” cards for a special occasion was always a thrill.
Like many woman, Shirley loved to bargain hunt. Any cute nick knack with a story and history was her prey. Her favorite shopping destination was Goodwill and you simply couldn’t pass a Goodwill without stopping in to peruse the latest offerings!
Few people can decorate for the holidays like Shirley. Her favorite occasion was Christmas. At the Plevak household, preparations for Christmas would begin months in advance and not stop until the house was transformed into a winter wonderland meeting her exact imagination and standards. So meticulous was she that it was not uncommon to see her completing one of her several Christmas trees on Christmas Eve…tinsel strand by tinsel strand. Until you have seen Shirley’s main Christmas tree in its full glory, you have not seen a Christmas tree!
Shirley was a loving and dedicated wife, mother, grandmother and friend. She will be greatly missed.
Visitation will be 4-7 p.m. Wednesday, November 8, 2017 at Menke Funeral & Cremation Center. A Funeral Mass will be held at 10:00 a.m., Thursday, November 9, 2017 at St. Thomas More Catholic Church, 6180 W. Utopia Rd., Glendale, Arizona. Interment will be at the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona.Print Obituary & Condolences