On Friday, January 29 Shirley Mae O’Toole passed away peacefully of natural causes after a period of declining health. She was born in Carnegie, Pennsylvania on April 11, 1931 the fourth of five children born to the late Corah Margaret "Rubye" Ball O’Toole and Edward Lawrence O’Toole. She was the youngest daughter and the special little companion to her daddy. Her fondest memories were of the time spent as a young child in Bergholz, Ohio in the late thirties. She began singing publicly at that time including performing at her oldest sister’s high school graduation. She treasured those times so deeply that she wrote a memoir at the age of 80 called 70 Some Years Ago. It’s a wonderful story told lovingly with vivid detail creating a keepsake for future generations.
She lived a wonderful life and was extremely proud of her Irish Catholic heritage. She had great fun serving her children mashed potatoes, applesauce, and frosted cake all tinted green for St. Patrick’s Day each year. Throughout her 89 years she had varied interests and over her lifetime she: went to weekly nickel movie matinees beginning her love of Hollywood; peeked under saloon doors for her adored Grandma McCaffrey looking for her Grandpa McCaffrey’s boots; started a country western band known as Shirley Mae and the Mae Boys releasing a single in 1966; sang on the same stage as Dolly Parton, George Jones, and Tammy Wynette at Ponderosa Park; sketched scenes and characters for her Jewett High School class of ’49 Senior yearbook; was a member of a card club for over 50 years; spent 6 weeks recovering from kidney disease in the Little Flower hospital in Canton when she was a young girl; perfected her delicious spaghetti sauce and meatballs; flipped more than 50 pancakes for one meal for her children; wrote numerous songs including one commemorating 9/11; recorded a CD at age 70; wallpapered, painted, refinished furniture, and collected unique items for her home; created amazing and accomplished artwork in watercolors and acrylics; opened a business; started a merchants association; designed logos for Harrison county legends Clark Gable and General Custer, painted larger than life-size portraits of Rhett Butler and Scarlet O’Hara at the entrance to a building in Jewett; composed a song titled “The Burning Memory Waltz” and sang it in person to Clark Gable’s son; cheered for the Pittsburgh Steelers ; and loved reading Agatha Christie novels passing the love of reading to all of her children.
She lived for sixty years in an always recognizable home on Main Street in Jewett, Ohio which she lovingly and creatively decorated and redecorated always with a deft hand at color and composition. She had birthday open houses for her home that was built in 1899, had the house painted red then yellow then red again then multi-colors as a Victorian Lady house and finally added a copper roof.
All of that made her life meaningful, but her most fulfilling achievement was the raising of her six beloved children: Tanya Jo (Dana), Shauna O, Vana Louise (Steven), Jordon Edward (Margo), John David (Elle), and Kelly Ray (Sue). More joy was added with her grandchildren: Martin, Brenna, Tessa, Kevin, Casey, Derek, Andrew, Blake, Ryan, Trevor, Dylan, Nikki, Randy, and Jody and then her great-grandchildren: Adrienne, Caroline, Wyatt, Wren, Maddox, Owen, Liam, Annabel, Megan, Skylar, and Olivia.
She was preceded in death by her husband Frank “Bus” Marker, her sisters Margaret Jean and Marion Louise, her brother Edward Martin, and her precious grandson Andrew. She is survived by her sister Patricia Anne and a special cousin King O’Toole, along with many other cousins, nieces, and nephews.
Per her request, she will be cremated with no visitation or service at this time because of Covid-19 restrictions. Her passionate and unique life will be celebrated with a special gathering of family and friends when we can all be close to one another again. In her memory, sing an Irish song, dance an Irish jig, or raise a glass. Sláinte!
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