Shirley M. Alexander
Shirley Margaret How Alexander, 87, passed away December 26, 2013 at Garden Terrace of Overland Park, an Alzheimer’s specialty care center and her home for the last seven years.
Shirley was born to the late Alfred L. and Elfrieda How, July 22, 1926, in Atlanta, Georgia. Her family lived in Fort Worth, Texas during the 1930s and moved to Oklahoma City in 1939. She attended Taft Junior High and Classen High Schools where she played violin in the orchestra and was a member of the National Honor Society. She graduated from Classen in 1944. After graduating, she met Robert Alexander III, a World War II Army Air Force Gunner and Bombardier stationed in El Reno, and they married in 1945. They lived in Oklahoma City for 61 years before moving together to Garden Terrace in Kansas in 2007.
Shirley worked in the banking industry for more than 20 years, including First National and Village Banks, followed by many years of employment at the Oklahoma Tax Commission before retiring in 1993. She was passionate about nature photography and was recognized for her talent in flower photography. Shirley was a lifetime member of the Oklahoma Camera Club and an award-winning member of the Photographic Society of America. Among other hobbies, she was an excellent seamstress and served as a volunteer leader for both Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts. Shirley loved all creatures great and small, and rescued countless injured or abandoned animals. Above all other life endeavors, Shirley was devoted to her role as a mother. She was unwavering in her love, support, and protection of her children and family. A devout Roman Catholic, she was a founding and active member of the St. Eugene Parish in Oklahoma City.
Shirley was preceded in death by parents, Alfred L. and Elfrieda How; sister, Marian How; brother, James How; and daughter, Jennifer Alexander. She is survived by her husband of 68 years, Robert Alexander III; brother, Alfred L. How, Jr. and wife Evelyn; children, Robert Alexander IV and wife Melba, Jon Alexander, and Caroline Rinaldi and husband Robert; grandchildren, Lisa Hawkins, Gina Fergeson, Jon Alexander, Francesca Alexander Hoffpauir, Sean Alexander, Robert and Jennifer Rinaldi; great-grandchildren, Andrew and Matthew Hawkins, Joshua and Nathan Fergeson, Ashley Shreve and Brady Hawkins. She is also survived by numerous beloved nieces, nephews, in-laws, and dedicated care-providers at Garden Terrace.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made in her name to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Friday, January 10 at St. Eugene’s Catholic Church in Oklahoma City.