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Shirley Lessard
(June 8, 1931 - March 15, 2013)

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Shirley Lessard

Shirley Delores (Wallace)Lessard, 81, passed away peacefully surrounded by her family on March 15, 2013 in St. Helens, Oregon.

Shirley, affectionately known as Mimzi by her family, was born in Twin Falls, Idaho June 8, 1931,the oldest daughter of Harry and Louise (Stom) Wallace. When Shirley was a teenager, she moved with her family to Warren, Oregon and graduated from Scappoose High school in 1949. After high school, she married Joseph Lessard of St. Helens, Oregon and they raised five children in the area. After many years working in a variety of service positions, she retired from St. Helens School District after being a classroom teaching aid at the junior high school.

Shirley loved adventure and filled her life with projects, people, and experiences that brought excitement and sometimes risks. When Shirley was fifty-eight, she decided to hitch a ride on an Alaskan fish processing boat for the summer as a cook. When she wasn’t busy working, she got a chance to meet people working on other American and international boats and was given the nickname “Big Mama” from the Japanese fisherman.

Perhaps her love of adventure started when, as a child, she rode her horse over the old Twin Falls- Jerome Bridge which was the highest bridge in the world at that time sitting 476 feet over the Snake River. Her most cherished adventure was traveling to Thailand to attend the wedding of her close friend. She spent her trip visiting ancient sites, riding precariously on the back of motorbikes, and even posed for a picture with a tiger.

Shirley was also one of the three founding members of the Shoestring Company Players, the local theater group founded in St. Helens in the early 1980s. She directed plays, was director of theater makeup for both the high school and community plays, and acted in several plays as well. Her favorite role was that of Eulalie MacKecknie Shinn in the musical, Music Man, which played in the summer of 1982 in the newly built OlmscheidAuditorium in St. Helens.

Shirley is survived by her six children, Gay (Lessard) Plahn and Richard Plahn, Cindy (Lessard) George and Owen George, Bart and Shelly Lessard, Brad and Melissa Lessard, and JobyLessard and Debbie Witt, Patti (Lessard) and Tom Klein, thirteen grandchildren, thirteen great-grandchildren, and one great-great granddaughter.

The family would like to thank the staff of Meadow Park Nursing Home in St. Helens, Oregon and Serenity Hospice Services of Portland, Oregon for the compassionate and loving care they provided to our mother.

A late summer celebration of her life is scheduled for Saturday, August 17, 2013 at 6pm at the home of Owen and Cindy George of Warren, Oregon.

Details will be publically announced closer to the celebration time.

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