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Rev. Michael O. “ Father Mike” Shirley, 77, of Lawrence died after a brief illness, on Sunday, June 23, 2019 at Beth Israel Hospital, Boston with his family by his side. Mike was born on October 25, 1941 in New London, NH to the late Morrison and Lillian (Sundin) Shirley. He grew up in Waltham, MA and attended Waltham Public Schools. Upon his graduation from Waltham High School, he went on to Boston University on a full scholarship. From BU, Mike went on to study at Berkeley Divinity School at New Haven CT and upon his graduation in 1966, he was ordained deacon and in 1967 received his credentials and was ordained an Episcopal Priest. Michael served as a priest at various locations including Brockton, Newton, Belmont, Winthrop, and Amesbury. After his retirement, he moved to South Lawrence, MA and became active in various community organizations. The Rotary Club was most important in Mike’s life and he was the personification of the ideal of Rotary which is service above self. He served as president from 2012 to 2013. He also served a tenure as secretary of the club and was named Rotarian of the year in 2014. He was interested in every activity of the Rotary Club of Lawrence. Communities Together was another area of interest for Michael because he strongly believed that religious communities working together can be an inclusive instrument of Christian love. Heifer International was also of great interest to him. He always promoted Heifer because he firmly believed that ending hunger and poverty around the world is important. Mike was staunchly Democratic and was an active supporter of the Democratic Party.
Mike’s family members include his wife, Edna, his children Christopher Gordonsmith and his wife Kim, Peter Shirley and his wife Nancy, Maryellen Fillipon and her husband Robert and Anne Reilly and her husband Matt. He also leaves his siblings, Linda Reynolds, Joan Bates and Her husband Bob, John Shirley and his wife Karin, Laurie Bonica and her husband Dana. Mike also leaves his grandchildren, Katie and Matt Fillipon, Julia and Cole Gordonsmith and Ben Reilly. His grandchildren were his pride and joy forever. He will also be missed by several nieces, nephews and close friends.
Family and friends are invited to a memorial service on Monday July 15, 2019 at 1:00 pm in St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 90 Broadway, Methuen, MA 01844. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to Heifer International, PO Box 8058, Little Rock AR 72203, www.heifer.org, Communities Together after school programs, 60 Island St., Suite 214, Lawrence, MA 01842 or to the charity of the donor’s choice. Michael’s family would like to especially thank the staff of the ICU at Beth Israel Hospital for their care and concern for Michael and his family. They showed compassion above and beyond their duties in dealing with us through a very difficult situation. Arrangements are by the Dewhirst & Boles Funeral Home, 80 Broadway, Methuen. To leave an online condolence, please visit Mike’s tribute page at www.dewhirstbolesfuneral.com.