Shirley M. Jackson

SAVANNA – It is with great sadness that the family of Shirley M. Jackson announces her peaceful passing on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023, at Big Meadows Nursing Home, Savanna.

Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023, at 11 a.m. at the Merritt Funeral Home, Mendota with Rev. Mary Bohall officiating. Burial will be at Restland Cemetery, Mendota. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the funeral.

Shirley was born July 27, 1927, in Des Plaines, to Clyde and June (Bauman) Benson. She graduated from Steinmetz High School in Chicago in 1945. She began her working career at Zenith Radio. It was there that she met the love of her life Howard Jackson. Howard and Shirley began dating and were married June 28, 1947, in Des Plaines. The couple moved from Chicago to LaMoille and soon after to Mendota where they raised their two children, Richard and Kathleen. Shirley and Howard (Jack) spent 57 beautiful years together until his passing in 2004.

Shirley is survived by her son Richard (Flora) Jackson of Mendota; daughter Casey (Hap) Gehant of Thomson; grandchildren, Dale (Niccole) Jackson of Conroe, Texas, Lisa (Sean) McPeak of Appleton, Wis., Howard (Kelly) Jackson of Mendota, Jessica (Bryce) Manning and Erin Gehant (Ben Griffin), both of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Matthew (Melissa) Gehant of Thomson; nine great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren. 

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband Howard; two brothers, Clyde Benson, Jr. and Charles Benson; and a sister, Jacqueline Tite.

When Shirley's children started school, she entered the workforce and worked at Conkey's in Mendota as a purchasing agent and later for Heico as a buyer. Her working career lasted for 34 dedicated years. She enjoyed her work and co-workers that also became friends through time. Upon retirement, Shirley found a beautiful calling, becoming a volunteer at Mendota Community Hospital and OSF Saint Paul Medical Center. She loved helping those that needed assistance and was a very dedicated volunteer from 2007 to 2019. At age 91, she was greeting patients with a smile and assisting them to where they needed. In her retirement she enjoyed playing cards, exercising at the Senior Center, helping the ladies at the Methodist Church with garage sales or serving funeral luncheons. Shirley took great pride in taking care of her lawn and decorating for the holidays for all to enjoy.

At the center of Shirley's life was her family. Shirley's favorite activities were those surrounded by her family. Holidays were spent together at her home and were filled with love, laughter and sometimes the occasional pranks and games. She enjoyed family meals prepared by her own personal chef, Flora, and long talks with Buzz on the back porch. Shirley enjoyed ship 'til you drop trips with her daughter, Casey. Shirley's last two years have been spent living at the Big Meadows Connections Unit. There she was surrounded by the love and care from her caretakers. They were a joy to our mother.

Memorials may be directed to Big Meadows Connection Unit, Savanna. Online condolences may be left at