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Shirley Perham McFarlane
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Birth: 1922
Cambria County
Pennsylvania, USA
Death: Apr. 7, 2011
Oxford County
Maine, USA


Norway-Shirley (Perham) McFarlane, 88, of West Paris, ME died Thursday, April 7 at Stephens Memorial Hospital, Norway, ME., surrounded by her children, grandchildren, sisters, and sister's grandchildren. Born in 1922 in Spangler, PA to Roy and Myrtle Perham, she grew up in West Paris, ME, graduating from Agnes Gray School in 1941. As a teen, she opened a small dance studio in West Paris and taught ballet and tap to area children. After high school graduation, Shirley moved to Pittsburgh, PA, where she met William (Bill) McFarlane. They married in November 1942. She became a devoted wife and partner during Bill's career and was the beloved mother of Anne, Norah, Alan and Laurie. In the late 1950s, she was a part-time aide at an institution for the developmentally disabled in Lynchburg, VA, caring for infants and toddlers with severe mental and physical disabilities. In the 1960s, in her homes in Richmond and Newport News, VA, Shirley raised her own four children and also cared for her nephew Paul and niece Debbie. In addition, she took in children awaiting adoption or foster homes through the Catholic Charities. Towards the end of Bill's career, they adopted Mary, a special young girl who touched their hearts. When her husband retired in 1985, Shirley was able to fulfill her dream of returning to live in her home town, close to her sisters. She and Bill built a home in West Paris on land belonging to her family, carved out of the thick Maine woods, rich in wildlife and natural beauty, a powerful source of wonder and pleasure for her. Here the world was ordered to her liking, and she was its heart and soul. When asked what they would remember most about her, her children and grandchildren said: her unconditional love; her warmth and care for everyone, especially the weak or disregarded; her faith; and the joy she derived from giving care and comfort to others. When her husband Bill died in 2005, he was eulogized as the rock of the family. Shirley was the earth on which that rock rested. In addition to her beloved husband, Shirley was predeceased by her parents Roy and Myrtle Perham, her sister Kathryn Patterson and her brother Roy Jr. She is survived by sisters Patricia MacDowell and Dorothy Farrar; children Anne Toepker, Norah Lackey, Alan McFarlane, Laurie and husband Alex DiSanto, and Mary; grandchildren Daniel McFarlane, Anna Bailey, Megan Bailey, Amy and husband Curtis Patton, Dustin Lackey and wife Brittany; step-grandchildren Chris Toepker and wife A-Chi and Lisa (Toepker) Moore and husband Bob; and great-grandchildren Ryan and Rachel Siegrist; Dorothy, Denny and Dillon Toepker; Tori, Curtis and Danny McFarlane; and Billie Patton. She also leaves behind her many nieces, nephews, grand nieces, grand nephews, and great-grand nieces and nephews, all of whom she loved.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:00 am on Thursday, April 14 at St. Catherine of Sienna Church in Norway, ME, followed immediately by a luncheon and memory-sharing downstairs in the church hall. Interment will be in late June at the Wayside Cemetery in West Paris. In lieu of flowers or other memorials, donations may be made to the Medical Mission Sisters, 8400 Pine Road, Philadelphia, PA 19111, 215-742-6100,, an organization that Shirley valued and supported for many years. The family wishes to express its heartfelt thanks for the exceptional dedication and compassionate care provided by the physicians, nurses, and CNAs who cared for Shirley, and them, at Stephens Memorial Hospital during her last days
Wayside Cemetery
West Paris
Oxford County
Maine, USA
Created by: John W. Van Dyke
Record added: Apr 09, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 68129329


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