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Obituary: Richner, Shirley

Age 79


Shirley passed away on Thursday, June 7, 2012. She was born in Clovis, New Mexico on July 27, 1932. During her child-hood they lived in various New Mexico towns where her father had been called to be a Southern Baptist preacher. In March of 1950 Shirley married Don Richner in Ruidoso, New Mexico. They lived in El Paso, Texas where Joanna and Scott were born and where Shirley attended the University of Texas El Paso. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and music. In 1957 they moved to Spokane where Janet was born. Shirley taught Elementary Music in the Central Valley School District and directed the Spokane Valley Methodist Church Youth Choir. Shirley obtained her Master’s Degree from Whitworth College and then became the Dean of the Education Department and the first woman to hold a vice president position at Whitworth. During this time she also received her Doctorate in Education from the University of Idaho. She enjoyed traveling around the world as part of a national team that accredited colleges. Shirley was an inspirational teacher who touched many lives. She was constantly thinking of others and was always there whenever anyone needed support. Shirley backpacked hundreds of miles in Washington, Idaho, Montana, Utah and New Zealand with her husband, friends and family. For many years Shirley and Don enjoyed snorkeling and fishing off the Baja Peninsula and were fortunate enough to share that experience with their children and grandchildren. In addition to her love of family, playing piano, teaching and nature, Shirley also enjoyed cooking, quilting, gardening, and reading. She was active in Millwood Presbyterian Church and was instrumental in the rebuilding of the pipe organ and installation of the beautiful stained glass windows. Shirley was preceded in death by her parents and brother. She is survived by her loving husband of 62 years: Don; her children: Joanna Richner Ellison, Scott Richner and Janet Dodd (Brett); her grandchildren: Brett Ellison (Stacy), Erica Strayer (Dustin), Dirk Heniges (Sarah), Chelsea Heniges, Sierra Dodd, Aaron Richner (Rachelle), and Jesse Richner (Kaelyn), and 10 great-grandchildren. A Memorial Service will be held at 2:00pm on Friday, June 15, 2012 at Millwood Presbyterian Church. In lieu of flowers, Shirley has requested that memorial contributions be made to the Millwood Presbyterian stained glass fund. The family appreciates the care and support given by so many wonderful friends these past months. They would also like to thank the dedicated and compassionate staff at Pine Ridge Alzheimer’s Care Center and Horizon Hospice.