SAVOY — Shirley Marie Walker, 89, of Savoy died at 4:25 a.m. Sunday (Jan. 3, 2021).
She was born on April 5, 1931, in Detroit, to Fannie (Sue) and Roy S. Simpson.
She attended Alma College, where she was a Kappa Iota and played many sports, including half-court basketball, softball and volleyball. She was quick to join many social organizations while in college as well.
Shirley met Jerry Lee Walker after college at a square dance. Once they were married, Shirley and Jerry moved to Fort. G. Meade, where Jerry served in the Army. Their daughter, Kimberly, was born in 1955. After moving back to Detroit, they welcomed their son, Kip, in 1958. They moved to Champaign in 1962 when Jerry became a professor with the College of Education at the University of Illinois. Shirley chose to be a homemaker and, as the children got older, she volunteered as an office assistant with Telecare and Planned Parenthood. She loved volunteering and instilled this into her children and grandchildren.
Shirley loved her social life! From organizing events with the University Women’s Club to planning a progressive dinner party or coordinating a casual dinner party with their exchange students, friends or family ... she was in her element. She enjoyed dancing, playing bridge and playing games of any kind. Shirley was a lifelong learner, and if she didn’t know the answer to something, you knew she was researching it! This, coupled with her quick wit, helped her become an expert at trivia.
Shirley and Jerry were fortunate to create many memories traveling, both for leisure and Jerry’s teaching opportunities. Her most memorable travels were to Hawaii for two summers with Kim and Kip while Jerry taught as part of the exchange program. They traveled with family, friends and colleagues to Italy, California, Aruba, Mexico, New Orleans, Kentucky, Florida and the Carolinas. Shirley’s most favorite was New York City. When Jerry fell ill in 2010, he wanted Shirley to take the “girls” to New York for a memorable trip. In June 2011, off they went! Shirley treated Kim, Kelly, Lori, Kelsey, Kimmie and Sandy to a trip to the Big Apple full of memories that will never be forgotten and forever cherished.
Before Shirley’s health started declining, she enjoyed weekend get-togethers with family. She loved spending time with her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. When she wasn’t socializing, she could be found in front of the TV watching tennis or old game shows.
Following Jerry’s death in 2011, she moved to The Windsor of Savoy and loved living among many friends they had made in the community and at the University of Illinois. In 2019, when her memory was declining, she moved into Willowbrook in Savoy.
Surviving Shirley are her daughter, Kimberly (Keith) Pillischafske; son, Kip (Lori) Walker; grandchildren, Eric (Kimmie) Pillischafske, Kelly (Troy) Schaudt, Kelsey Walker and Cody Walker; five great-grandchildren, Austin Addison, Alex and Adam Pillischafske and Connor and Tyler Schaudt; and her lifelong friends, Pat and Donna.
There will be a memorial service at a later date. Memorials can be made to the Alzheimer’s Association; National Kidney Foundation of Illinois, 215 W. Illinois St., Suite 1C, Chicago, IL 60654; or to Champaign County CASA, casa4kids.org. Condolences may be offered at morganmemorialhome.com.