- About Us
Shirley Darlene Hanson was born October 28, 1927. She was 90 years old, but in spirit she would have chosen her 50s as her real age—truly young at heart. Shirley grew up with her Norwegian grandparents, Helga and Otto Hedemark, in Fargo, North Dakota; her mother Elsie Hanson was close by. Shirley was an avid reader and somewhat shy from a young age, but her true essence was how she made you feel—that she had been waiting all day to be with just you. Shirley would make any day, outing, party, family gathering infinitely better with her presence, sense of humor, and her infectious laugh that would emanate from her whole being, especially her big, sparkly blue eyes.
She was adventurous with a quiet confidence; she knew what was right for her without fanfare. In 1945, after graduating from high school, Shirley decided she would join her mother, stepfather, Arnie, and half-sister, Delores in South Seattle instead of getting married in North Dakota as her grandparents wanted—at least as legend would have it. In Seattle, she got a job as a typist for the Western Union during WWII and spent time at the White Center roller skating rink on the weekends. It was there she met Elwyn Bushaw, her husband of almost 70 years. He watched her skate and asked if she was from North Dakota because of her dance style on the rink. She said, “Yes,” and they were married a month later on May 17, 1946.
Although young, Shirley ventured forth to have three children, meld into her husband’s very large family after growing up an only child, remodeled a home on a shoe-string budget, managed their young family when her husband was working full time and going to trade school at night, gathered the kids and all that goes with that to go camping on the weekends, hosted big parties, and made lifelong friends. She was there for each of her kids when they had their families, moved to new homes, went through the crises that families can go through. Mom and Dad or Nana and Papa were the pillar of our family in everything we did, a foundation that cannot be seen yet held us all profoundly. It never occurred to her that was the case however. She did everything she could with what she had, and always with Elwyn by her side.
She went by Shirley, Mom, or Nana, and was one of the most kind-hearted, welcoming, and loving people we will ever know. She was generous in everything she did whether it was in helping to do a house project, cooking dinner (or supper as she called it,) sewing or hemming, knitting a blanket, throwing a party, cleaning pretty much anything, or listening, laughing, or crying with you at the exact time you may need it. She never complained and didn’t dwell on circumstances outside her control. Somehow her presence would allow you to do the same.
She loved to be outside in her garden or even a patch of weeds that needed to be pulled. Shirley and Elwyn had a trailer for many years and could be found playing cards or cribbage by a campfire at night with their dog by their side—almost always, this included friends or family at the picnic table as well. They bowled and went square dancing, had property near the ocean and would go clamming and eat oysters with soda crackers. They made their weekend rounds to visit grandchildren and great-grandchildren whether it was just a regular Sunday afternoon, a birthday, or a holiday. And, of course, they loved to “putsy” around the house and yard too.
Shirley lived a full, love-filled life. She and Elwyn worked hard together as true partners. It wasn’t always easy but somehow they made it seem like it was—sometimes it was just her that pulled us through with her kind heart and ease in which she moved through the world.
As they got older, Elwyn and Shirley were never without each other. She would even go sit at the casino with a book because Elwyn didn’t want to be without her. She might have wanted to be on her couch with a blanket reading that book or working on her flowerbeds, but she would go anyway, for him.
Shirley is preceded in death by Elwyn and her sister Delores, as well as the many friends and family who felt her indelible presence in their life. She is survived by their three children Doug Bushaw (Roxanne), Greg Bushaw (Kim), and Debbie Ziebarth (Jim), eleven grandchildren and sixteen great-grandchildren, as well as the many second-generation friends to which she was a role model of kindness as they came of age. Shirley made our small part of the world infinitely better with her good-natured spirit, laughter, and heart. She was a sparkly one…