Shirley Maxine Nickelsen passed assay on March 22, 2018, one month past her 96th birthday. She joined her husband of 72 years, George, who preceded her in death.

Shirley was born to (Carl) Gus Strand and Dora (McCarthy) Strand in South Prairie, Washington on February 22, 1922. She attended schools in South Prairie and Buckley. After graduating from Buckley High School, she went to Knapp Business College in Tacoma and received her business diploma. George and Shirley met at a dance in South Prairie and were married in 1943. After WWII Shirley supported George while he went to school at PLU and Optometry College in Chicago. Moving back to Washington they settled in Auburn where he opened his practice. Along with being a homemaker and raising three children, she did the business books and worked Saturday mornings at the office.

Among her interests she excelled at knitting, sewing and needlepoint. Many of her items were submitted to the Puyallup Fair winning many ribbons. She also loved baseball which was fostered during her early years in South Prairie. She even got to throw the opening pitch for a Tacoma Rainiers game in honor of her Uncle Paul (Strand). She also played softball and volleyball for the Auburn Senior Center into her mid 70’s. Pickleball with friends was another favorite.

Her passion for travel started with trips to Mexico in the 1960’s, eventually evolving into vacations to many foreign countries including New Zealand, Japan, Russia, China and many other. Cruising became a favorite for them embarking on over 50 cruises in the later years. Japan was a favorite after hosting foreign exchange students through the local community college for many years. She loved them all and fondly called them “her boys”.

Shirley is survived by her son Gary (Cherrie) and daughter Sheri Brehm, grandchildren Nickelsen Vanunu, Shaun (Jera) Hoefert and Shannon (Will) Taylor, son-in-law Nisim Vanunu and sister-in-law Pat (John) Corliss. She is preceded in death by her sister Donna Mae Lindskog and Carol Kellogg.

Services will be held April 4, 2018 at Messiah Lutheran Church, 410 H St NE, Auburn, Washington. Viewing at 10:00am and services at 11:00am. Luncheon at the church and graveside to follow.

“Mom you are already missed so very much. Keep clapping your hands and we will know you are there.”

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