Shirley Off

Obituary of Shirley Off

Shirley Off (nee Ballard) died peacefully in her London home on Wednesday, September 5th, succumbing to a year long struggle with lymphoma. She was 89.

Her death is mourned by a large and loving family including her children and their partners: Terry (Janet); Mary Jean (Michael); Carol (Linden); Michael; David (Carolynn); Joanne (Paul); and Chris (Nathalie). She will be greatly missed by her grand-children: Joel, Kristen, Matt, Emily, Sam, Denise, Jessica, Max, Maggie, Nick, Nicole, Henry, Thomas and Maxim; her great-grandchildren Chloe, Clara, Evan and Gavin; and her nieces Samilee and Beth Quarrels of Austin, Texas.

Shirley was born and raised in Winnipeg along with her two delightful sisters, Alice and Mary. That’s where she met and married the love of her life, Wallace (Wally, who died in 2011) and where they launched a lifetime of shared joy, struggle, adventure, children, travel, friends and tender care for each other through good times and bad.  Their admirable marriage gave support to so many people.

Shirley was – and remains – an inspiration. Her strength was formidable; her generosity unlimited; her sense of humour boundless and her love of life evident in everything she did. She raised seven children, adored her grand- and great-grandchildren and helped anyone who needed her care. She was always available to her many friends-- for conversation, sympathy, laughter, lunch, wine and often prayer, which she liked to share with her best friend, Jean.

Shirley was fiercely loyal to those she loved; a devout Roman Catholic; and a woman of strong opinions. At the same time, she would never miss a gathering, a happy hour or a bit of fun. She was always the life of the party.

Over the years, she prepared meals for hordes of family and friends, always finding a place at the table for anyone who dropped in. She launched festivities at family Canada Day celebrations; danced her feet off at our weddings; made countless tuna sandwiches at her parish; supplied mountains of baked good for fund raisers (“No, you can’t have cookies—they’re for the church.”); and delighted all of us with her signature piece, her legendary baton twirling pantomime. Hers was a life worthy of celebration.

Special thanks to all who helped with care during her illness but especially Doctor Chai Phua of the London Regional Cancer Centre who kept her with us as long as humanly possible. We are grateful for every extra minute of that remarkable life.

Visitation will be held on Friday September 14th from 2 to 4PM and 7 to 9PM at John T. Donohue Funeral Home, 362 Waterloo Street, London.  And then at Holy Family Parish, 777 Valleta Street, London, on Saturday September 15th at 9AM until the Funeral Mass at 10AM. Interment in St. Peter’s Cemetery.  Donations in lieu of flowers please, to St. Vincent de Paul Society