Shirley North Barnum
Shirley Anne North Barnum, 88, of Missoula, passed away on Monday, January 15, 2024, at Providence St. Patrick Hospital.
Shirley was born on December 6, 1935, in Scranton, Pennsylvania, to Alois and Julia Stuckart. As a young girl, her family lived in Kingston for several years and then they moved to Hazleton, where Shirley attended St. Gabriel’s School until her graduation in 1953. While in high school, Shirley was a member of the pep squad for all four years. After graduation, she worked for Karn’s Trucking Company as a bookkeeper and telephone operator, in addition to cleaning houses on Saturdays. Some of her fondest memories were of spending time with her family at their cottage on Penn Lake, as well as her time spent with her Godparents at their home on Lake Carey.
On August 24, 1957, Shirley married Daniel North in Hazleton and they moved to south Philadelphia, while Dan attended nursing school. Shirley worked as a bookkeeper for a year, until they started their family. They bought their first home in Bridgeport, PA and lived there until the Air Force transferred them to Plattsburgh AFB in New York. Dan was deployed to Viet Nam in early 1966, while Shirley stayed home with their five small children. Once Dan returned, they were transferred to Luke AFB in Glendale, AZ in 1967, where they spent two years before their family of eight moved to Homestead AFB in Florida in 1969. In early 1971, they retired from the Air Force and moved to Missoula, MT. They bought their home on Crestline Drive that summer, installed a pool, and made many great memories with family and friends. The “North” house was the gathering place for many events and parties over the years.
Shirley had her hands full raising six kids. She helped with homework, taught CCD, and filled a whole pew at St. Francis with big and little Norths. Mom encouraged us to try everything, like ski lessons after school and tennis lessons in the summer. She attended many competitions from swim meets to football and basketball games around the state. Mom hosted team dinners, her spaghetti and meatballs were a swim team favorite; she was an amazing cook. Shirley often played the part of lifeguard in our back yard. She continued these endeavors even as she re-entered the workforce in 1978, starting as a receptionist and then becoming an insurance agent while working for Sharkey Insurance Agency. Later, Shirley/Gigi attended the many track meets, swim meets, hockey, basketball, volleyball, football, softball, soccer, and baseball games of her 10 grandchildren.
Shirley was incredibly dedicated and active in her community, including membership in the Missoula Business Women, the Insurance Women’s Association (past president MT), the Missoula Southside Lions Club (past president), and served as the secretary of the MT Tavern Owner’s Association. Mom had boundless energy to serve in many roles, her favorite was taking tickets at the Griz games for the Lion’s Club. Shirley started racewalking and it became a passion for her and brought her many new friendships. She delighted in collecting the many T-shirts from all her races and loved it when her grandchildren came to cheer her on! Shirley also started hiking and went on a few weekend treks with friends after her husband, Dan, passed away in 1995. The Catholic faith was a very important part of Shirley’s life. In Missoula, she and her family were members of the Holy Family Parish and later, the Blessed Trinity Parish.
In 2003, Shirley met Dale Barnum at a St. Patrick’s Day dinner at Holy Family Church. They married on June 26, 2004, and spent many hours hiking and taking long drives in the mountains around Western Montana. One of Shirley’s fond memories was of their trip to the Holy Land. They also bought a home in Tucson and spent several months each year enjoying the sunshine and warmer weather down south. In 2021, after living in the Crestline home for 50 years, she and Dale moved to the Orchard Homes area for several months, before moving to The Springs.
Shirley was an amazing woman who made an impact on everyone she met; she was a wonderful wife, a loving mother, a doting grandmother (known as Gigi to her grandchildren), and a caring friend. Shirley was preceded in death by her parents, her sisters, Elizabeth and Frances, her husband, Dan, and all her aunts and uncles.
Survivors include her husband, Dale, Missoula, her children and their families: Dan North Jr., Santa Rosa, CA; Anne North Jones, Walla Walla, WA, Whitney (Peter) Olson, Carl (Jodie) Jones, Victoria (Robin) Mathews, Tabitha (Parker) Dressler, Tyler Jones; Mary North-Abbott (Doug), Butte, MT, Gwenn, Doug Jr. (fiancée Hailey); Kay North, Missoula, Winn; Al (Marcie) North, Missoula, Austin, Cassie (fiancé Alex); Julie (Tom) Vacura; stepchildren John Barnum, Helena, Barbara Barnum, Helena; and numerous nieces and nephews.
A Vigil will be on Tuesday, January 23, at 7:00pm and the Funeral Mass will be on Wednesday, January 24 at 11:00am, with a luncheon to follow. All services will be held at Blessed Trinity Catholic Church, 1475 Eaton St., Missoula, with Father Ed Hislop officiating. Shirley’s cremains will be interred with her husband, Dan, at Saint Gabriel’s Cemetery in Hazleton, PA, later this year.
A special thank you to Shirley’s caregivers at The Springs and to all the doctors, nurses and caregivers at St. Patrick’s Hospital the last few weeks. Your kindness and compassionate care for Mom/Shirley is truly appreciated.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, an organization that was near and dear to Shirley’s heart. Donate by mail: 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105, or online: www.stjude.org/donate.