Thousand Oaks, CA
Shirley Darlene (Johnson) Mehrens passed away on Monday, March 29, at Belmont Village Senior Living in Thousand Oaks from Alzheimer's complications. Our beloved Shirley was born in Fruitdale, South Dakota on December 24, 1935 to Henry "Hank" Johnson and Sally (Johnson) Maki. As was not unusual during that time, she was born at home and slept in a dresser drawer during the first days of her life. Shirley, the baby of the family, was much loved, treasured and doted upon by her three older brothers, Wilbur, Clifford and Donnie.
She attended Grant School and Butte High School, graduating from Girls Central High School. She was a baton twirler during high school and performed at many of Butte's athletic games. During this time, she met her husband and love of her life, Bill Mehrens, while working as a concessionaire at her brothers' baseball games. They married in Sacred Heart Church on June 25, 1955. Shirley is at last once again dancing with her deeply loved husband, this time in Heaven, doing the jitterbug in the clouds to one of their favorite tunes. Anyone who knew them, knew that theirs was truly a marriage made in Heaven as their love was like no other. The following was found in the personal effects of Shirley's husband after his death with her name written on it and certainly testifies to the beauty of the love they shared.
Edward Hays (Prayers for a Planetary Pilgrim) Psalm of Farewell
Beyond the touch of death, I leave myself to your memory, with love.
I leave my thoughts, my laughter, my dreams,
To you whom I have treasured beyond gold and precious gems.
I give you what no thief can steal, the memories of our times together.
The tender, love-filled moments, the successes we have shared,
The hard times that brought us closer together
The roads we have walked side by side.
I also leave you a solemn promise that after
I am home in the arms of God,
I will still be present, whenever and wherever you call on me.
My energy will be drawn to you by the magnet of our love.
Whenever you are in need, call me: I will come to you
With my arms full of wisdom and light to open up your blocked paths
To untangle your knots and be your avenue to God.
And all I take with me as I leave is your love
And the millions of memories of all that we have shared.
So I truly enter my new life as a millionaire.
Fear not, nor grieve at my departure, you whom I have loved so much,
For my roots and yours are forever intertwined.
Their profound love for one another of 66 years influenced many of their life decisions. Bill once said that as long as he had Shirley as his wife he could live anywhere. And that they did, moving from Butte, Montana to Great Falls, Montana to Arizona and on to several cities in California. Shirley skilled in typing and shorthand, worked in the clerical field during the early years of their marriage and then again as a secretary while living in California. But once those grand babies started arriving, her days of working outside the home were over. All her love and care were now focused on these treasured gifts from God. She loved being "Gi Gi" to each of them and enjoyed providing childcare for all five while their parents worked. Their special bond still exists to this very day.
As a woman who deeply believed in God, she devoted her life to her husband and daughters. Before Bill and Shirley married, she converted to Catholicism and they raised their daughters in the faith that they shared.
Shirley is survived by her daughters Kathleen Williams and Sharon (Bob) Allen; grandchildren Annaka (Kyle) Magill, Stephanie (Chris) Vail, Tyler Williams, and Anthony and Brock Allen; brothers and sisters in-law, Ron (Carolyn) Mehrens and Linda (Mick) Dennehy in addition to cherished great-grandchildren and nieces and nephews. Shirley was preceded in death by her husband, Bill, son of deceased Albert J and Jane Mehrens; mother and step-father, Sally (Anderson) and Arnie Maki; father Hank Johnson; brothers Wilbur (Margie), Donnie (Judy), and Clifford Johnson; and sister-in-law, Sister Jane Albert (Sharon) Mehrens.
We wish to thank the loving and compassionate staff of Belmont Village Senior Living for the exceptional care that they gave Shirley over the past six years.
Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Friday, April, 9, at 10:30 a.m. at St. Paschal Baylon Church in Thousand Oaks. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations to the Alzheimer's Association in Shirley's name "Memorial Gift".