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Shirley Lea Gardner passed away peacefully January 27, 2018, surrounded by loving family and friends. Born December 4, 1934, in Akron, Ohio to Wilson (Mac) and Lillian McCleary. Devoted to her family, she had a zest for life, she shared generously and will be dearly missed.
A lifelong resident of Akron and graduate of Central High School, she graduated early to marry her true love Ted in a marriage that lasted 62 years. A working mother long before the practice was common, she served the banking industry with Peoples Federal Savings and Loan and later retired from FirstMerit Bank. Known for her long legs, she enjoyed ice skating, golf and bowling with the “great eight”, a close group of cherished lifelong friends and later graduated to dominos, cards and karaoke with neighbors and special friends at the Willows Park. She was an avid Cleveland sports fan and enjoyed many winters with her Florida family at Ocean Village, living the good life. She had many cherished friends but the bond shared with South Carolina’s Millie Boyce (Taylor) stands out as her most treasured.
She was preceded in death by her husband Ted; her parents; brother, Buck McCleary; sister, Neda Sullivan; bothers-in-law, Jim Sullivan and Bob Gardner; and niece, Nona Scaife. Shirley is survived by daughters, Cindy (Dennis) Helmick and Vicky (Tom) Gray; son, Dan (Renee); sisters-in-law, Betty McCleary, Judy (Bob) Huff, and Aggie Gardner; grandchildren, Jason Helmick, Reanna Davis, Julie (Tony) Reheiser, Daniel (Christy) Gardner Jr., Lindsey Gray, David (Sarah) Gray, Shannon Maslanka, and Nicole (Daven) Primm; twelve great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren.
Special Thanks to the physicians and staff of Summa Healthcare for the tender care and comfort provided, especially those angels of mercy in palliative care.
The funeral service will be held on Thursday, February 1, 2018, at 11:00 a.m. at Family of Faith United Methodist Church, 800 E. Market St. with Pastor Ron Shultz officiating. Interment at Hillside Memorial Park. The family will receive friends at the Eckard Baldwin Funeral Home and Chapel, 760 E. Market St. on Wednesday, January 31, 2018 from 4 - 7 p.m. and Thursday, 30 minutes prior to the service at the church from 10:30 to 11:00 a.m. The family suggests donations to a charity of your choice to honor Shirley.