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Margaret Alice Shirts

March 20, 1918 - November 15, 2016




Margaret Alice Shirts, age 98, of Salem, OR (formerly Kalispell, MT), passed away peacefully on the evening of November 15, 2016 at Salem Hospital in the companionship of her daughter and granddaughter. Her family and close friends encompassed her with their love and support in her final days. With unwavering faith in her Lord, she looked forward to flying with the angels in Heaven. 
 
Margaret was born on March 20, 1918 in Heaton, ND to Frederick and Ivy (Abbott) Thurston. She lived with her family on a farm, and fondly told stories of her adventures with her brothers and love for the piano. She continued to play and teach piano for many years. 
 
After attending a teaching college, Margaret married Lowell Alvin Philip Shirts in 1940. Being an adventurous woman, Margaret joined Lowell in Tannacross, AK, where he worked for Pan American Airways. Living in the middle of nowhere, they enjoyed each other's kind heart and sense of wit, adventures together, and dogsledding. 
 
Together they had two children, Edwin Leroy (1942) and Carolyn Ann (1944). The family settled in Martin City, MT during the building of the Hungry Horse Dam, where Margaret began teaching first grade and Lowell opened Glacier Radio. Her daughter Carolyn was one of her students, who fondly remembers her mother’s class. She continued her love of teaching upon their move to Evergreen, MT, where she helped Lowell move his business. As a family they enjoyed hiking through Glacier National Park, driving the Going-to-the-Sun Road, and playing music. 
 
In 1969, they closed down the shop in Evergreen and moved into town (Kalispell), where Lowell passed away from cancer in 1982. In 1990, Margaret moved to Salem, OR to be closer to her family. Her granddaughters cherished the many sleepovers and playing duets together. In 2003, she moved in with her daughter's family where she loved eating Indian food and playing with her great-grandchildren. She remained there until her death. 
 
Margaret had a zest for life and a deep devotion to her family, friends, and God. She served as a Deacon, Elder, and Sunday school teacher over her many years in church. Her kindness was beyond compare and her wit came at just the right moments. She was truly loved and will continue to be cherished.
 
She is survived by her younger brother Donn, daughter Carolyn and husband Mahendra, son Ed and wife Madeline, grandchildren Deva, Urmila, Cathe, Doug, Sandy, and six great grandchildren.

A Celebration of Life will be held on 2:00pm Friday, December 2nd at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 3737 Liberty Road South. In place of flowers, please make a donation to Marion Polk Food Share http://www.marionpolkfoodshare.org/ways-to-give/

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It was with both delight and sadness that I read "Mrs. Shirts''" obituary.  Delight in being reminded of such a lovely woman from my youth and knowing that she lived such a long life surrounded by her family.  Sadness of course that she is no longer with us. 
I grew up in Evergreen and always remember seeing Glacier Radio and giggling at the sign, "Bring Your Shorts to Shirts".  I remember being sad that I didn't get to be in Mrs. Shirts class at Evergreen School but seeing her often at the school.  I was also sad (perhaps even mad! ) that my sister got to take piano lessons from her and I didn't.   Perhaps my best memory was being invited to watch Cinderella on "The Wonderful World of Disney" on one of the first color TVs in Kalispell at the Shirts' home.  So Exciting!!! 
 Needless to say, I have enjoyed reminiscing about the old days in Evergreen.  Please accept my condolences for your loss as well as my appreciation for warm and happy memories of a special woman.