Peaceful 06


Shirley S. Olson White

August 29, 1928 ~ March 3, 2018 (age 89)

Shirley passed away on March 3, 2018 at the age of 89. She was born on August 29, 1928 to James Robert and LaVonne Reading Steadman in Murray, Utah. Shirley grew up in West Jordan, Utah on the family farm. She would remember many happy days on the farm with her parents, brothers and sister. Many of her extended family lived in the West Jordan area and the Steadmans were a close, nurturing family. Family reunions were always a highlight of the summer each year.

Shirley loved athletics, especially basketball and baseball and tells of “hitting a baseball out of the school yard.” She was naturally outgoing and had many friends. She was a good student and loved learning. One of her best friends was Bonnie Bateman. Shirley graduated from Jordan High School in 1946 along with her future sister-in-law, Shelba Butterfield.

Post high school, Shirley worked as a telephone switchboard operator, was an office worker, and then apprenticed at Darrell’s College of Beauty and received her beautician’s license.

From November, 1949 to June, 1951 Shirley served a mission in the LDS Northwestern States Mission. She cherished her service there and she became a lifelong “saver of souls” and master gospel teacher. She loved the exquisite landscape of the Pacific Northwest and the wonderful people she met there. She loved her work in the mission office and was privileged to spend time with Elder Harold B. Lee, who later would perform her marriage.

Shirley married Wayne Gardner Olson on June 27, 1952. They would settle in West Jordan for a short time, move to California for 2 years, then return to Midvale to raise their family. Shirley and Wayne became the parents of 3 children: Kathleen (Paul) Sorensen, Robert Wayne (Susan) Olson, and Denise (William) Daniels. They also loved as their children Rufus Yazzie, Brenda Nells Embrey, and Mark (Heather) Dodge.

Wayne and Shirley overcame many challenges together. They had happy hours fishing, camping at the Spruces, taking family vacations, attending family gatherings, participating in their children’s achievements. We knew we were loved.

Shirley served in many callings in the LDS Church. The shared missionary experiences of both Shirley and Wayne became the anchor of their lives together. They both had deep testimonies of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Their children were taught both by example and precept. Shirley loved serving the youth of the Church in callings such as Activities Director, Young Women Advisor, Stake Young Women Secretary, and Primary and Sunday School teacher. It all gave her great joy! Friends of her children have spoken many times about her influence on their lives and testimonies.

She was creative and made countless invitations, party favors, decorated newsletters, and teaching visual aids. In midlife she learned cake decorating and blessed many people with cakes for birthdays and weddings.

Shirley organized people. She served as president or officer in several organzations such as Good Sams, etc.

Beyond her service to her family, friends and neighbors, Shirley loved her work in genealogy and family history. She spent countless hours preserving family records and writing histories. She served several years as a family history missionary with her cousin Barbara Shurtz. She turned our “hearts to the Fathers” and to others. Her example of love for family heritage continues with her grandchildren.

Shirley was employed many years as a lunchroom worker and manager. It was heavy, hard work and she came home many days entirely exhausted. She also enjoyed working for a time at the BYU Salt Lake Center, then housed in the McCune Mansion in Salt Lake City.

Shirley learned the skills necessary to care for Wayne’s health. His doctors said that his life was greatly extended due to her help and their joint discipline and courage.

A few years after Wayne’s passing in 1991, Shirley married Thomas L. White. Tom and his first wife, Jessie, had been friends of Wayne and Shirley in both their LDS Ward and in the Good Sam’s Club. A few years after their spouses’ passings Tom and Shirley married. Tom became her dedicated companion and “Grandpa Tom” to her children for 23 years. She loved Tom’s children and grandchildren as her own. Tom and Shirley traveled to many exciting destinations, served in the church together, welcomed missionaries into their home, and had many other wonderful experiences in their lives together. We would like to thank Tom’s children Glyn, Dennis, Craig and Ross and their companions for their years of kind care and love shown to our mother. A special thanks goes to Cherri White and her daughter, Rebecca, for their attention to medical, home maintenance and myriad other needs of our shared parents. Sincere thanks also goes to the many kind aides and workers at Legacy.

Shirley was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Wayne; sister and brother-in-law, Myrtle and Charles Wright; brother, Jay (Florence Anderson) Steadman; sister-in-law, Irene (Dale) Steadman; brother, Steven (Robin Diamond) Reading.

Shirley is survived by her husband, Tom; children, Kathleen (Paul) Sorensen, Robert Wayne (Susan) Olson, Denise (William) Daniels; brothers, LaDell (Shelba) Steadman, and Dale Steadman. She left a legacy of 19 grandchildren and 33 great-grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 10, at the Midvale LDS Stake Center, 8171 S. Jackson Street. A viewing will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the same location. Interment, West Jordan City Cemetery.

Recording of Service

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