Shirley Ann Rose Gillespie
June 26, 1932 – May 21, 2022
Shirley Ann Rose Gillespie, 89 years of age, of Omaha, NE, passed from earthly to eternal life on May 21, 2022, in Omaha, NE, of natural causes.
Born on June 26, 1932, in Omaha, NE, to William and Mary Thies and lived in a variety of towns during her grade school years while her father installed telephone systems throughout the Midwest. While attending Mercy High School in Omaha she met the love of her life and soon after graduation married Howard Milton Gillespie on April 7, 1951, at St. Ann’s Catholic Church.
Shirley’s life was dedicated to being a loving wife and mother to her seven children. Whether the children were participating in sporting events, scouting, piano lessons, dancing or other school activities, Mom and Dad were present and supportive. Having moved often during childhood, she was adamant about staying in Omaha, and after a few years in their first home, Shirley and Howard lived over 30 years in each of their next two homes. She valued a Catholic education for her children. She participated in the Altar Society at St. Mary’s Parish in the ‘60s and along with Howard, served as the first co-presidents of Daniel J. Gross High School’s Home and School Association and volunteered at the school’s Learning Resources Center during the ‘70s and ‘80s. Shirley became a Marianist Affiliate in 1974. Over the years she enjoyed many games of Scrabble, card games, read many good books and was fond of square dancing with the Huff’n Puffers and Westernaires. A big fan of bingo, she played at almost every bingo hall in the area. She once organized the women of her South Omaha neighborhood to convince city government to keep Morton Park pool open as a safer local alternative to the new Hitchcock Park pool opening on the other side of busy “Q” Street. Throughout her life Shirley was a continual source of joy and love for her ever-growing family. Shirley and Howard were blessed to celebrate 71 years of marriage earlier this year.
Shirley was preceded in death by her parents, William and Mary Thies; her sisters, Dorothy O’Connor and Mary Alice Abraham; her infant brother, William; and her grandson, Brandon. She is survived by her husband, Howard; her children: Sheryl (William) Lenagh, Omaha, NE, William (Lucy) Gillespie, Omaha, NE, Daniel (Gaylin Jepsen) Gillespie, Omaha, NE, Michael (Miguel Sanchez Ferrusco) Gillespie, Houston, TX, Timothy (Theresa) Gillespie, Omaha, NE, Eileen (David) Smith, Omaha, NE; Diane (John) Hower, Omaha, NE. She is also survived by 13 grandchildren and 28 great-grandchildren: Brooks (Andrew, Linnea, Emily, Matthew); Lori (Kevin “KJ”, Kalin, Katie, Alex, Tommy, Cody, Allison); Ryan; Billy (Sadie, Keaton); Jennifer (Maiah, Brandon, Liyah, John); Jeff (Madelynn, Dawson); Melissa (Oliva, Avery); Timothy; Ashley (Mikaela, Dominic); Brian; Kimberly; Johnny (Judah); Kevin (Jackson, Brayden, Graysen, Kamille).
VIGIL SERVICE: Tuesday, May 24th, 7pm at the West Center Chapel, with VISITATION from 5pm to 7pm. MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL: Wednesday, May 25th, 11am at St. John Vianney Catholic Church (5801 Oak Hills Drive). Interment: St. John’s Cemetery.