SHIRLEY DIANNA PEARSON
July 15, 1949 - March 29, 2022
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Shirley Dianna Pearson (Rooks); our Mother, Wife, Grandmother and Friend. Shirley passed peacefully in the evening on March 29th with family by her side at St. Boniface Hospital, after a short battle with pancreatic cancer.
Shirley will be sorely missed by her loving husband Gene; son Wes (Cassie) and grandchildren Brice a Tanner (Australia); Brian (Michelle) and grandchildren Dylan a Bodhi (Winnipeg); sister Jeanette (Medicine Hat, AB), and brothers Darrel (Athabasca, AB), Clayton (Nanton, AB), and Dennis (Janet, Saskatoon, SK). Shirley is predeceased by her father George (1998), mother Anne (1999) and brother Derwyn (2017).
Shirley’s life began in the Swan River Valley, born to George and Anne Rooks on July 15th, 1949. She grew up in a vivacious household with four brothers and one sister. She attended Swan Valley High School and graduated in 1968. In 1969 in Winnipeg, Shirley met Eugene (Gene) Pearson (also from the Swan Valley). They were married in 1970 and in 1973 bought a home in Wildwood Park where they raised two sons, Wesley and Brian. She had a brief career with Manitoba Hydro, before leaving to be a stay-at-home mom. Once her boys were older, she returned to the workforce and spent 19 years working with MTS, before retiring in 2006.
Travel was a big part of Shirley’s life, both while the children were growing up and after retirement. Driving across North America in the family van was the mode of travel in the 80ʼs, with the family visiting the east coast of the US/Canada, the southeastern US, the west coast of Canada, and the south-west of the US and into Mexico. The family also made many trips west to various ski resorts in Alberta, British Columbia and Montana. These ski trips continued into the 90ʼs after both boys left home and moved west to Whistler, BC. After retirement, the travel continued with multiple trips to visit Wesley and his family in Australia, as well as an extensive trip to China, Costa Rica, and regular winter trips to Nevada and Arizona.
At home she provided a particularly nurturing environment for her kids. She promoted healthy living and education for her children, while also allowing them to find their own way and learn their own lessons. She was always highly supportive of whatever they chose to do, even if it wasn’t what she would’ve chosen. As time marched on the kids grew up and moved away, one further than the other, but both stayed close with their Mother. In later years one of her great joys was watching her four Grandchildren grow: Brice 15, Tanner 12, Dylan 7, and Bodhi 5. She had a caring and nurturing way with her grandchildren, where she both spoiled them but also taught them boundaries. Her energy and enthusiasm served her well with her grandchildren, and the grandkids always slept well after an afternoon playing at Granny’s. Not too many grandkids get sent to their grandparents house to tire them out!
Anyone who knew Shirley would recall that she rarely had an idle moment. She loved socializing with family and friends and if she wasn’t planning for an occasion, she would be occupying her time with any number of hobbies such as yoga, pilates, golf, baking, reading, needlepoint and even transcribing books to brail for a time. Outside the house and in her community, she was known for walking, biking and as an avid cross-country skier who would ski the trails of Wildwood Golf course - good snow or bad. A 6ʼ-4”, 45-year-old friend remarked last year that Shirley “blew right past him” on the trails. It’s safe to say she'd mastered the sport. It gave her much pleasure in her later years to help as an instructor for the Jack Rabbits cross country skiing club, and to pass on her enthusiasm, knowledge and love of the sport to younger generations.
It is also hard to speak of Shirley and not speak of her love of cooking and baking, and her fondness for cookbooks. Her collection of cookbooks is legendary, and she spent many hours in the kitchen baking and cooking. Her repertoire of desserts was impressive, and over the years many friends and family were the beneficiaries of her excellent skills in the kitchen.
She had a remarkable lust for life that also included a genuine pursuit of excellence when it came to being a Wife, a Mother and a Grandmother. She cared for others and was cared for deeply.
We would like to thank the nurses and staff at 6A south, St. Boniface Hospital for their care and compassion during Shirley’s short time there. We’d also like to thank Dr. Dissanayake and the other physicians and staff at HSC and Victoria Hospital for stepping in quickly in a attempt to prolong Shirley’s life.
Donations in her honour can be sent to Cancer Care Manitoba (pancreatic division) or a charity of your choice.
Shirley's family kindly requests that all of her friends and relatives take a few minutes to honour her memory by watching the photo-biography above. Please, also consider sharing your own photos, memories, and stories by making use of the comment section on this page.
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