On this day, December 21, 2020, our mother Shirley Joanne McCauley Stuart left this world for a better place. She was 84 years old. She leaves behind her three daughters, Pamela Stanich, Rachel Garey (Butch Garey), and Sarah Faith (David Faith), four grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, her sister Marjorie and her brother John. She was preceded in death by her husband, Roger Lee Stuart, on August 30, 2019.
As her children, we heard her tell many memories of growing up on the McCauley farm in Clarion County and living in the converted one-room schoolhouse. She spoke of those days as a magical time. Later we realized there was also hardship then but that’s not how she told it. Because of our mother, our family history is so alive to us which is a legacy we do not take lightly.
Our parents met in high school and were married for 63 years. Our mother charmed our father from the start and all his life he loved her dearly.
She graduated from California University of PA with a degree in elementary education. She taught us many things but most of all how important it is to be a lady. She believed in God and the power of prayer which are lessons we never forgot.
Our mother took pride in her home, wherever that home would be. She had many “collections” (as she called them) and yet her house was always tidy and tastefully decorated, inside and out.
One place our mother loved to visit was the beach, both when we all vacationed on Hilton Head Island, SC and later when our parents joined Rachel’s family in Outer Banks, NC. Those were happy and funny times with memories that we still enjoy telling and remembering with each other.
We all think it’s fitting that her death coincides with the re-appearance of the Christmas Star this year. She would have been delighted by this omen and it suits her nature perfectly.
“I opened my eyes and the morning star
Glittering in the far depths of the sky
In a soft whiteness, infinite and lovely …
I heard a voice come from the star
Saying: I am the star that comes first
I am the one believed in the tomb, now empty.”
The Star by Victor Hugo
Dear mom, every Christmas we will all think of how you went to join our father in this blaze of glory. We love you. Rest in peace.
A memorial service will follow in New Bethlehem, PA in the spring of 2021.
Holland Barry & Bennett Funeral Home is assisting the family.