We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Christie's Funeral Home & Crematorium
Shirley Eleanor (Osmak) James was born September 14, 1935 in Yorkton, Sask. She was the only child of John and Nellie Osmak. She passed away peacefully the morning of August 30, 2022 in Yorkton, Saskatchewan with Carey Hull at her side.
Soon after graduating from high school Shirley’s work life begun. She started her work life hoping to be a teacher, it was her calling she often said. Soon her parents called her back home to help out in their garage, Osmak Garage in Willowbrook as it was beginning to be a very bustling business. From there she moved on to work at the Ford Dealership in Yorkton until she joined The Co-operators Insurance Group. Shirley worked at the Yorkton office of Co-operators for over twenty years and was well known for her friendly, efficient service.
At that time the Co-operators was located in the West Broadway Mall, next to the Pediatric doctor's office of Dr Brian Datta. This is when she met and became a close friend of Brian, his wife Indra, their children Samir and Anita, and sister- in law Bula. Bula and her became dear friends and over the years Shirley took Bula under her wing. She encouraged Bula to walk to work and see how beneficial it could be and also shared her love of fishing, teaching Bula, Samir and Anita. Many days were spent at the Theodore Dam, Shirley showing them how to catch and fillet fish. Many meals were shared with the family.
During the last year, while Shirley was going through her many challenges with health, Dr. Datta and his wife Indra were able to work closely with the health care system to enable Shirley to get the best service the system could provide. Shirley was humbled and fortunate to have them as advocates and friends.
Shirley met her husband, Ken while working at her dad’s gas station. Ken, an officer of the Canadian Armed Forces was impressed with the service at the gas station, particularly the staff, Shirley. Shortly after Shirley and Ken began dating and soon after were married. They spent many years together all over Canada as demanded by Ken’s service in the
Army. Eventually they decided to settle down in Yorkton where they bought a house and a cottage at Burgis Beach where they spent many happy years together. They were avid bowlers, gardeners, and travelers.
Being a caring person, Shirley was always aware what was happening in the lives of her relatives, friends and in the community. She never missed visiting any of them whether at home, the hospital, taking food to their homes when they needed comfort and care, and helping in any way she could. While Shirley was living in Regina, she continued to subscribe to the Yorkton newspaper, as she had a long deep rooted connection with Yorkton and community. Newspaper clippings were a favorite hobby. If she seen anything in the paper she was interested in or if she knew the person she cut out the clipping and saved it.
In December of 1998 Shirley lost her husband Ken after a short battle with cancer. That same year Carey Hull bought the house next door and Shirley quickly became very close to the family. Carey was like a daughter to her and she attended to Carey’s children Cara, Jacey and Bretten, as her grandchildren. She attended and supported their hockey and soccer games, school concerts, hot dog days to name a few and spent Easter, Thanksgiving Christmas and
birthdays celebrating with them. She spent countless hours with them all but her favorite accomplishment was sharing her love of gardening with Carey’s son Bretten.
In these years Shirley also travelled on her own visiting California to see her cousin Delores and family, BC to see niece Doreen and family, Alaska and the Maritimes with friends to name a few.
In 2012 Shirley decided to embark on a new journey, she sold her home in Yorkton and purchased a condo in Regina to be closer to airports and doctors. While living in Regina she spent time with her good friend Vicki Mongrain, the Datta’s and met many new friends in the condo unit. She enjoyed condo living and the view of the vast field from her condo balcony. She often said she had the best view in Regina, she had a pond full of ducks and geese to enjoy and a view of the highway that took her “back home”. Shirley continued to use this highway returning often to visit her family and friends in Yorkton.
One of Shirley’s most memorable days she had while living in Regina was a birthday party she attended 7 years ago today. This was to mark the special occasion of her own 80th birthday! Carey organized a special surprise party with a few close friends, she always remembered this as one of her favorite days and spoke of it often, it was remarkable. Small things done for Shirley were when you seen her biggest smile!
Thru 2021 2022 Shirley’s health started to decline. She was determined to remain independent but eventually after many conversations with those close to her she knew it was time to make another move that would offer her some assisted living amenities. This was when Shirley decided it was time to sell her condo and move back home to Yorkton. With the help of Carey and her family and friend Vicki, Shirley was moved back to Yorkton and into the Yorkton Crossing March 2022. She was very excited to be back home.
Sadly, upon her move her health declined rapidly. She spent many days in and out of hospital and convalescing at her care home with Carey always at her side. She fought a hard battle March thru June giving those around her many scares but never giving up. Slowly thru July and August her health started improving, August was her best month she was back doing word puzzles, playing solitaire and cutting out newspaper clippings. She was looking forward to the birth of Jacey’s baby, Cara’s upcoming wedding and the opportunity to get back out into the community and seeing old friends.
Being an ardent recycler was another of Shirley’s attributes. Anywhere Shirley found a stray can or bottle she would pick it up and make sure that it was recycled. She did not like wasteful practices, she organized garage sales to recycle and reuse things that otherwise would have been thrown out. Shirley was fondly called the “Queen” of garage sales by her friends.
Shirley’s kindness touched many lives. She was generous with her love and resources. She will be remembered for the contributions she made to make positive changes in so many lives, expecting nothing in return. She donated to the charities of her choice and did that diligently even in the last few months of her life. She made sure they all had her new address sending address change notifications where most of us discard these in the nearest recycling bin. Her loyalty and generosity was exemplary.
Shirley’s turkey dinners, zucchini loaves, HUGE cabbage rolls and sweet potato pumpkin and lemon pies were her signature dishes. Anybody who has enjoyed these dishes will remember fondly the meals and food shared together in great fellowship.
Shirley enjoyed visiting the casino in Yorkton and Regina, she considered this another charitable donation she occasionally could make, but more importantly she always hoped to bump into someone she knew.
She was an ardent sports fan following the Toronto Blue Jays, Tiger Woods and any curling game that she could find but following Bretten during his years with Yorkton Minor hockey was her favorite. Many could attest she had the loudest leather mitts of any one in the Kinsmen rink always clapping and cheering the kids on.
Shirley was a person of great stature. She was a tall woman physically but in kindness, caring and giving she was even taller.
She leaves behind many family members and friends who will miss her dearly. Shirley's Auntie Laura had special place in her heart and it was well known. She also loved going out and visiting with her friend Pauline from Yorkton. Ken’s niece Doreen from Langley BC often visited and recently made the trip to Yorkton to visit. Her door was always open to family and friends.
The friends and family of Shirley that united to compose this obituary/eulogy apologize if they missed anyone. Everyone that Shirley knew was important to her.
In lieu of flowers in Shirley’s memory please donate to plant a tree in her memory thru Chrisitie Hill Memorial. As the tree grows Shirley’s memory can keep giving to the world or as Shirley was a generous donor to many charitable organizations please consider keeping her legacy alive with a donation to a charitable organization of your choice.
We would like to invite you after the grave side service to join us for coffee and celebrate her life, share memories and enjoy birthday cupcakes in memory of her 87th birthday today.
We love you Shirley, may you rest in peace.
Viewing will be held on Tuesday, September 13, 2022, 7:00 - 8:00 PM at Christies Funeral Home in Yorkton, SK.
Funeral Service will be held at the Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Yorkton on Wednesday, September 14, 2022 at 2:00 PM. The service is being recorded and will be posted here later.