Mrs. Shirley Heiges (nee Shirley Mae Claussen), of Adamstown, died peacefully in her sleep at the Wellness Center, Buckingham’s Choice Retirement Community, on Sunday, June 2, at age 91.
Born April 26 1928, in Omaha, Nebraska, to Vernon and Marjorie Claussen, Shirley and her family moved in the 1940s to Long Beach, CA, via Reno, NV. Shirley was an active member of the Long Beach Ski Club, where she made many lifelong friends. Working as a medical receptionist in Lakewood CA, she met her future husband, John M. Heiges, on a blind date in 1962, while he was stationed aboard the USS Yorktown (CVS 10) in Long Beach.
Their first date included dinner and a movie aboard Yorktown — a unique experience according to Shirley. One year and one day later, they were married in Long Beach while John was between terms at the Navy Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA.
A true Navy wife, Shirley ran her household like a “squared-away” Navy ship, moving her three children, the family dog and often a parakeet coast-to-coast seven times after John had usually reported to his new duty station.
Shirley loved her husband, children, Basset Hounds, and throwing a great party. Over the next almost 56 years, they visited every state in the union and many nations from Poland in the east to Japan in the west. Both Shirley and John were active in local Navy and civilian Catholic Church communities for many years.
Shirley is survived by her husband, John; three children, Sharon Kneebone (Scott), John A. (Cassie), and Patricia Winter; as well as seven grandchildren and her beloved Maltese, Sophi. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. June 21 at Buckingham’s Choice with a reception to follow. At a later date, Shirley will be interred in the Naval Academy Columbarium awaiting John’s arrival.