Memories and Celebrations of Life:
Shirley Anne Acton
April 23, 1933 - March 14, 2020
On Saturday, March 14, 2020, in her 87th year, Shirley Acton died peacefully at the Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre with two of her beloved nieces beside her. Shirley will be sadly missed by her siblings Vera, Audrey and Stanley (Marjorie); and her ten nieces and nephews Sherie, Sharon (Richard), Brenda (Todd), Dennis (Linda), Bob (Shirley),Wayne (Sylvia), Ron (Sheryl), Doug (Lianne), Scott (Tammy), Andrew(Yvonne) and numerous great nieces and nephews. Shirley is predeceased by her parents, Sarah and Robert Acton and her sister Lillian.
Shirley was born and grew up on the family farm outside Lemberg, Saskatchewan. She shared a birthday with William Shakespeare. After receiving her diploma as a Laboratory Technician in Regina in 1953, she pursued her vocation in various cities in Canada before sailing to London, England, for two years of work, adventure, and travel. Upon returning from England, Shirley took a job in Frobisher Bay, thus engendering her life-long love of the north and the Arctic. She was recruited to the Zone Hospital in Sioux Lookout in 1971 and worked in the Lab there until her retirement in 1990. However, it was retirement in name only because she went on to work for a decade with Community Living and then established and operated Tumble Inn, a Bed and Breakfast, for 20 years, where her guests most often became long-time friends.
Shirley was more adventurous than she may have appeared. She travelled the world alone, designed and had built a unique log cabin on the lake and continued downhill and cross- country skiing well into her 80’s. Her life was enriched by her many loves – first and foremost her family and friends, then, and a very close second, her cats, but also travel, music, reading, skiing, curling, blueberries, the Arctic, nature and fun times whenever they came her way. She also loved all living creatures with the possible exception of tent caterpillars. She loved the trees she protected so fiercely on her property and walked up and down 17 steps every day to come and go to her cabin so she wouldn’t disturb the land with a driveway. When others went south for the winter, Shirley went north; she took several fabulous Arctic voyages exploring many parts of the north from Denmark to Alaska. She was known for her hospitable welcoming of friends and family to her cabin and the cottage beside it where her curries were divine even if she did burn the cookies. She was a person of strong Christian faith which she lived every day.
Shirley may have been late for dinner, but there was a good chance her reason was she was helping someone. She certainly “walked the talk” in her belief in peace, justice and charity. She was the volunteer walking up and down Moosehorn Road where she lived seeking donations for cancer care or arthritis. It was often difficult to reach her by phone because she was going through her list of calls for the NDP, St Mary’s church, Friends of Cedar Bay, the Roads Board and a host of other community groups of which she was an active member for many years. To mention a person or organization or animal in need was to motivate Shirley to do something about it and the list of her “causes” was very long indeed.
Shirley’s family would like to extend their sincere thanks to the Older Adults Program and Home and Community Care staff who supported Shirley so well when she was still in her home. Sincere thanks are extended as well to all the staff of Meno Ya Win Health Centre for their patient, compassionate and excellent care.
Special thanks go out to Shirley’s friends and neighbours who have shared their love and support, including meals, outings, transportation, visiting, and so many other forms of assistance and support.
There will be no service at this time because of the corona virus restrictions. A Celebration of Life will take place at Grace United Church in Lemberg, Saskatchewan, in July 2020 with ashes buried in the family plot of the Ellisboro Cemetery in the Qu’Appelle Valley.
Donations in memory of Shirley may be made, with thanks, to Sioux Looks Out for Paws Animal Rescue or the Sioux Lookout Out of the Cold Shelter or a charity of your choice.