Sarah Shirley Gaster Player, age 83, passed peacefully, surrounded by loving family, on Friday, May 3rd in Murray, Utah of acute myeloid leukemia.
Shirley was born in Waycross, Georgia to Harvey Crawford Gaster, a farmer, and Hattie Mae Griffis, a homemaker. Shirley grew up on the edge of the Okefenokee Swamp and has always loved the South, her numerous cousins, and Southern fried food. Among her favorite times were the many trips back to the South and to her beloved Waycross.
Shirley moved to Utah as a young teenager. She graduated from Jordan High School, attended BYU, and met and married her sweetheart of 62 years, Udell George Player, in the Salt Lake Temple on March 1, 1957. Shirley and Udell were fortunate to raise three sons – Udell Jr., Gene, and Mathew.
Shirley worked as a school bus driver for the Jordan School District for 25 years. She loved picking up extra bus trips that allowed her to drive her son’s basketball teams to the games. It was always fun to have Shirley drive the teams to the games. She was great at cheering for her sons during the games. While playing the game, you could always hear Shirley yelling with a booming voice, “Come on Player, get it together.”
She loved camping, fishing, hunting, and spending time in Midway and at Bear Lake. Shirley loved her Biscuit Buggy Crew, a 40-year tradition. Shirley, her cousin Betsy, and their dear friends enjoyed a Diet Coke and visiting at McDonald’s every morning, except Sundays.
Shirley loved being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served in numerous callings. She especially loved the Young Women of the Church and served in many different areas with them. As Stake Camp Director, she took the girls on many adventures. She also served as the Ward Relief Society President and was currently serving as a Sunday greeter inviting everyone to come unto Christ. All that came to the doors of the chapel felt welcomed by her warm hello and hug.
Mostly, Shirley loved her family. She chose to spend time with her numerous extended family, both hers and her husband’s. Shirley loved her grandchildren. They all have fond memories of hunting together, cabin visits, and sleepovers with Grandma and Grandpa. They love Grandma Player’s Southern breakfasts, Grandpa Player’s milkshakes, and sliding down the stairs on mattresses. Shirley also fiercely protected those she loved.
Shirley is survived by her devoted husband, Udell; sons, Udell, Gene (Kim), and Mathew (Marcela); five grandchildren, two granddaughters-in-law, and one great grandson. Shirley also leaves behind her sister-in-law, Naomi Hansen, and many beloved nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends. Shirley loved and helped so many. She led a full, rich life, and she will be missed. She is preceded in death by numerous and dear loved ones. We know her reunion with them is joyous.
A viewing will be held in her honor on Friday, May 10 from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints church building located at 1050 East Galena Drive in Sandy. Also a viewing will be held on Saturday morning, May 11 from 10:00-10:45 a.m. at the same location. Funeral services will then follow at 11:00 a.m. Interment will be at the South Jordan City Cemetery (10630 South 1055 West). In lieu of flowers, Shirley would love for you to do something fun with your family.