Shirley Jean Marie Anderson Johnson was born June 7,1939 in Lanse, Pennsylvania, passed away after a short but aggressive battle with cancer on June 2,2022. Shirley was a second generation Swede born at home, the last of four children and the only girl 10 years younger than her youngest brother. She is survived by her husband of 57 years, Wayne, daughter Jennifer (Adam Badt), grandsons Nicholas and Christopher Comfort, oldest brother Arnold Anderson, nephew James Anderson (Cindy), 3 nephews, 5 nieces and 12 grand nieces and nephews and many close friends. She was preceded in death by her parents Arnold and Mary Anderson, and brothers LeRoy and Donald Anderson.
While Shirley’s battle with cancer was short, her life was full, long, and adventurous. Heeding the advice of her mother, Mary Anderson, she left Lanse to explore all that the world had to offer and she had a wonderful life.
She graduated from Phillipsburg State Hospital Nursing School and started that journey when she answered an ad hiring Nurses at the New York Hospital/Cornell Medical Center. Hired sight unseen she moved to New York City and started what would turn into a great career in Psychiatric Nursing becoming a Head Nurse at the Payne Whitney Clinic of the New York Hospital. There she took care of some of the wealthiest and most prestigious East Coast socialites of the time, most notably, Marilyn Monroe. Shirley regaled that story to many nurses later in life as well as her family and friends. Shirley also assisted doctors in some of the first Lithium trials, a drug used for Bipolar disorder. Passionate about her profession, she worked hard and diligently.
Although she worked hard, she knew how to play harder. She started off by traveling to Bermuda where she and friends were invited to stay three extra days paid by the Queen, after Shirley beat up an attacker who was trying to rob their hotel room. The attacker was never conclusively identified and Shirley walked away with a only a few bruises. She and 3 friends later quit their jobs and traveled to Europe on the Hanseatic for a 3 month adventure based on the book of the time by Arthur Frommer; Europe on $5 a Day. They shut down an entire village near Foggia, Italy to visit her friend’s Uncle Bracia, who wanted to honor the Americans coming to visit. Later in the trip they would travel to Cairo where they took a turbulent sketchy ride in the desert to visit King Farouk’s Tent (a tourist trap), ride a camel and thankfully return to Athens despite not having visas when they entered Egypt.
Shirley met Wayne at the original TGI Fridays on April 3, 1965, 9 days after it opened in NYC. They married October the same year at The Little Church Around the Corner. They lived in the city until 1972 when they moved to Glen Ridge, New Jersey, and in 1974 they moved to Miami when Wayne accepted a job with Ryder. Their daughter Jennifer was born May, 1976, and Shirley became a hard working devoted mother.
In Miami they joined Sunset Congregational Church where Shirley was not only active in the congregation but worked in the church office for many years. In 2001 Shirley’s heart grew bigger and she graduated to becoming a Mimi as her first grandson Nicholas was born in September of that year. In 2005 she found her family complete when her second grandson Christopher was born in October. From 2003 to 2017 Shirley and Wayne enjoyed retirement as they traveled all of the lower 48 states and Canada in their RV, meeting with friends along the way and giving their grandchildren an experience of a lifetime.
In 2005 the family moved to Saint Augustine where they became members of Arlington Congregational Church in Jacksonville. They became avid trivia players and have generally remained in the top four of the night.
Shirley’s life was filled with passion, adventure, but mostly love. Her love knew no boundaries; she cared and loved everyone as if they were her own family.
As God always has a plan, Shirley did have a chance to see a good portion of her family, blood and extended, before she passed. In her last weeks she was surrounded by her family. Her Nephew, James Anderson, played an important part in assisting the family in caring for her.
A service to celebrate her wonderful life will be held Saturday June 25, 2022, 1:00 pm at Arlington Congregational Church, 431 University Blvd. North, Jacksonville, FL 32211, followed by a reception in the Fellowship Hall. All are welcome. For those unable to attend, her service will be streamed live on the Church’s Facebook page at ACCUCC.org.
Arrangements handled by Fraser Funeral Home, 8168 Normandy Blvd. Jacksonville, Fl 32221.
Donations in memory of Shirley Johnson can be made to the American Cancer Society.