CARPENTER, Shirley Ann, 73, a resident of Brilliant, Ohio, passed away Thursday, Aug. 16, 2012.
Shirley was born to Thomas L. Carpenter and Anna Balint Carpenter on Nov. 10, 1938. She was the "middle" sister to Wanda Holloway Carpenter and Lawrence D. Carpenter.
Shirley attended elementary and high school close to home, where the foundation of many friendships that would last her lifetime began. These friends were the family she didn't start out with, but were the unforgettable people that staked a permanent claim in her heart. These were her chosen sisters, the ones who left her pondering what she did to deserve them, but best of all, felt the same way about her. Her friendships were as comfortable and comforting as a well-worn pair of shoes. Others were full of excitement and adventure. The best ones were laced with laughter and softened with tears and strengthened by a spiritual bond that was loyal and self-sacrificing. It was the friends she met along her journey that made her trip more fun.
Shirley was a lifelong employee of the AEP Cardinal Plant, starting out as a secretary on construction and retiring as secretary to the plant manager. The joke around the plant was that they put Shirley in a field and built the plant around her!
Shirley loved her little village of Brilliant and was a former clerk to the village. She and her friend Linda, organized and brought back the Brilliant High School Reunion. Even now, more informally, those high school "kids" are still meeting for lunches and dinners.
Thoughts on how to memorialize another resident of Brilliant, Linda Ensell, and a way for other Brilliant villagers to memorialize their friends and loved ones, Shirley and another friend, Myra, organized the "Tree People" project: a plan to beautify Brilliant's streets with flowing trees. A drive through the streets of Brilliant, especially in the spring, is beautiful (and smells wonderful, too!) Its inception, in 1999, continues today.
Shirley was more than a big brother to Lawrence, she was a friend and defender, a listener, conspirator, a counselor and a sharer of childhood memories. To Karen, she was a teacher, a friend, a sister without blood lines. To her nephew and nieces, Thomas, Jocelyn and Devan, she was, and is their guardian angel. She was someone they could run to when in need of the special love that only Aunt Shirley could provide. She made the good things better and the bad things not so bad.
A friend recently quoted that Aunt Shirley was an Aunt Shirley to her children. In fact, there are many young adults, friends of Thomas, Jocelyn and Devan, whom she was Aunt Shirley to. She loved watching the sports her nephew and nieces participated in and was always well heard in the stands: "GO IRISH!"
She loved, while Lawrence was in college, having him bring home his fraternity brothers and friends. She was always ready with food, snacks and spirits and loved to be entertained by the shenanigans of the Phi Kapps. She loved the boys Lawrence brought home and it was clear, they loved and respected her, too.
She radiated kindness, intelligence and great wit. She had a wonderful sense of humor and an infectious laugh.
To the world she was just one person, but to each one of us, she was the world.
We thank God upon every remembrance of her.
Friends will be received at the Wheeler Funeral Home, 712 Third St., Brilliant, on Saturday from 6-8 p.m. and Sunday from 1-4 and 6-8 p.m. Funeral services will be held on Monday at 11 a.m. at the funeral home, with Dr. Marc R. Tinstman, minister, officiating. Interment will follow in New Alexandria Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family request donations be made to the "Tree People Fund", c/o Myra Martin, 1009 Hukill St., Brilliant, Ohio 43913.
Offer condolences at www.wheelerfuneralhomes.com