Shirley Dandeneau, 82, lost her long, courageous battle against multiple illnesses surrounded by her loving family on Thursday. She will be sadly and dearly missed by her children; Linda Huber (Charles), Florida, Denise Rankin (William), Janesville, Renee Thomas, Racine, Roy Servais (Karla) Milwaukee, Yvonne Erdman (Marc), Racine and Jeff Dandeneau, Racine, brothers; David Leach, Michael Leach, and Jeff Leach all of England, brother-in-law, Albert Dandeneau, sisters-in-law; Lucille Hrpcek, Lorraine Caspers, Lois (Dave) Richter, all of Racine and Judi Dandeneau, Georgia. Five grandchildren; Michael, Daniel, Kathleen, Joel and Brian and eight great grandchildren; Veronica, Nicholai, Delaney, Max, Oliver, Austin, Taylor, Briana, nieces, nephews, other relatives and many dear friends.
In addition to her parents, Shirley was preceded in death by her loving husband, Marcel and her granddaughter, Amy Rankin.
Shirley lived a very interesting, fulfilling and sometimes challenging life. She was born in Sidcup, Kent England to the late Harold Leach and the late Ivy Hutcheson. She lived through World War II and the bombing of England by the Germans. For three and a half years Shirley slept in an air raid shelter every night outside of her grandmothers home on the outskirts of London. As a teenager in England, Shirley was chosen as one of Miss Ramsgate’s court and was also chosen as Miss Summer Girl in Ramsgate. From 1951-1952 Shirley also served in the Women’s Royal Army Corp.
In her early 20’s Shirley moved to the U.S. as a young bride with her first husband. In the years following she worked extremely hard as a single mother to provide for her children, all while making and maintaining many wonderful friendships that she has until this day.
Shirley then met and married the love of her life, Marcel Dandeneau. They had nearly 41 wonderful years together until his death in early 2017.
Some of Shirley’s proudest accomplishments include raising a loving family of five children, and later welcoming her step daughter, Renee, being appointed to the State Medical Mediation Panel, serving as Chairwoman of the committee to provide bus service to Caledonia in the 1970’s and also her work on the effort to provide paramedic services to the Town of Caledonia. She also participated in and advocated for the Turner Syndrome Butterfly Walks.
Shirley had a huge heart. She was a fierce defender not only of her family and friends but of people in distress, people disadvantaged and disenfranchised, so as she said “If I helped a few people that makes me happy!” Most of all, she loved and worried about her family.
Shirley also served as a volunteer counselor for Women’s Resource Center. She was a Big Sister for many years, served as Statutory Chair of the Racine Democratic Party for ten years and was named Democrat of the Year for Racine County in 1995.
Shirley worked hard all of her life in many diverse jobs, including working in the restaurant industry, working at Boston Store, as a bailiff for the Racine County Court system and also at the Caledonia Town Hall.
Shirley had many interests. She loved to travel, enjoyed reading, old movies, crocheting, canning the many vegetables from Marcel’s garden, birds and flowers, cycling and walking. Shirley loved going to The Corner House, Potawatomi and Laughlin, Nevada with her husband, Marcel. She loved to dance and have fun and an occasional glass of wine or two!
Shirley loved meeting new people and had a wide circle of friends throughout the county and the state of Wisconsin and beyond. “Our mom loved life and wasn’t afraid to live it.”
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Wednesday at 10 a.m. at the Siena Center Chapel. Relatives and friends may meet with the family on Tuesday at the funeral home from 4 p.m. til 6 p.m. and Wednesday at Siena Center Chapel from 9:30 a.m. until time of Mass at 10 a.m. In lieu of flowers donations to Lakeview Hospital and Rehabilitation Center inWaterford, the Siena Center or charity of your choice is appreciated.
The family would like to give special thanks to Lakeview Hospital and Rehabilitation Center in Waterford, WI during her last weeks. We will forever be grateful for the tender, loving care she received and for the many kindnesses extended to our family.