Shirley Eleanor (Ketcher) Ketcher Obituary
Shirley E. Ketcher was born September 19, 1926 to Agnes M. and Allen M. Ketcher in Chicago Illinois. She was also known as Sally, Sal and Shirl. She was 93 years old when she passed away peacefully on August 17, 2020 in Atlanta, GA while residing with her daughter Joan. Shirley lived in Naperville, Il for over 40 years and called it her home. At the beginning of the COVID-19 public health crisis in March 2020, Sally relocated to Georgia to live with Joan. She was a Chicago and Oak Park girl at heart and is where she spent her childhood and early adulthood, until she moved to Lombard, IL with her husband Jack Singer and her four children, Jeff, Mick, Tim, and Joan. Her youngest child John (aka Sean) was born in DuPage County at Elmhurst Hospital. Shirley was a loving, supportive mother and always available for her children and grandchildren. She was a very active and industrious woman who worked until she was 91 years old as a Registered Nurse (RN). In fact, Shirley was one of two known documented RNs over the age of 90 in the United States still licensed and practicing nursing in some capacity. She obtained her GED in her 50s, her RN license at 65 and worked until she was 91yo. At age 66, she worked on the oncology ward at Cook County Hospital for several years. On second shift, she drove from Naperville to Chicago winter and summer because she loved nursing and helping her patients. She was an active volunteer with the Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago and in Appalachian mountain rural areas, helping people in need of health care. She was an avid student of the Bible and enjoyed Bible study groups with friends she made in Naperville.
Sally lived on Indiana Avenue in Naperville, IL and had a strong network of friends in the neighborhood and her bible church. She kept an active lifestyle and was a strong advocate for herself and maintaining her independence even up to her final few days. She also modeled for her children what it meant to be resilient, independent thinkers. Sally was a creative soul and has left behind for her children numerous oil paintings, sculptures, and other beautifully crafted pieces of art. In the 1970s, Shirley was known for her craft work with pine cones. She sold wreaths and Christmas trees made of pine cones. Her most famous trees were sold to Macy’s and Tiffany’s in Chicago where they were used in their famous Christmas window displays on Michigan Avenue in the late 70’s.
Shirley was a true patriot and part of America’s Greatest Generation. Family and friends were especially important as she raised her family. There were many memories with Grandma Agnes, Uncle Charles, Grandpa Al, Uncle Sam, Aunt Catherine, Aunt Rosemary and the Asta cousins Sam, Kathleen, Larry, Brian, Debbie, Liz and Billy from Franklin Park. She worked at Illinois Bell as an operator in the early 1940’s and kept in contact with close friends she made there her entire life, many times taking them to doctors appointments and bringing them gifts in the later years. Sal would take elderly neighbors to doctor appointments, get them groceries or take them fresh baked cookies or soup. She took care of Uncle Charles through his later years and kept tabs on many friends and relatives, always doing something nice or helping out if it was needed. Shirley’s most sorrowful times were losing her sister, Catherine, close friend Gladys, enduring the loss of her first child, Jeff, who passed away in 2005 at age 59 after living with a long-time chronic illness and the sudden tragic loss of her son Mick’s first born, Eric, from a motor vehicle accident in 2015.
Some of Sally’s favorite things were taking care of her yard, her flowerbeds, picking up sticks. The cardinal was her favorite bird and always had her bird feeders full inviting them to come over. She loved taking walks with her kids at the Naperville River Walk and Lilacia Park whenever they visited. Shirl loved watching mysteries like Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie and had many VCR tapes. Sal loved to laugh and her family would laugh along with her favorite comments like, “…for crying out loud” and “…..for cry eye” and ….”get out of town”.
Sally challenged her kids to be better, whether it was getting GED’s, college degrees or striving to make a good living at whatever they decided. All five of Sally’s children served in the U.S. military, with her blessing and she was very proud of this.
Her daughter Joan and youngest son Sean were with her around the clock during her final weeks, days, and moments as she transitioned into her peaceful bliss on August 17th, 2020.
Shirley is survived by her 4 children Mick, Tim, Joan, John, 8 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren. Predeceased by son Jeff and grandson Eric.
Shirley, Mom, Gramma, we love you. Thank you for your unbridled love and support always. We miss you. We will see you on the other side one day.