I want to dedicate this page to the memory of my mother-in-law, Shirley
Joyce Meier, Lanza.
She was born September 24, 1924, in Eau Galle, Dunn County, Wisconsin, daughter of Edward Gustav
and Constance (Connie) Isabelle Cassel Meier.
Shirley's young life was marked with tragedy when at the young age of 6 years she lost her mother
Connie. Connie died in 1931 after giving birth to a son, her sixth child. Her father was suddenly alone to raise
6 very young children.
Her father lived much to far from his mother and siblings to ask them for help and his youngest
sister had just died after giving birth and left his mother to raise his niece at the age of 55 herself.
Her father then tried hiring many housekeepers that just didn't work out but finally he met a wonderful
widow, she herself struggling to raise 4 children of her own, and they soon married. He had known her years before because
she was married to Connie's first cousin Gordon Cassel.
Her name was Margaret Gilmore Cassel, known as Peggy. Putting her 4 and Ed's 6 children together
made quite a family! But Ed and Peggy would have 4 more children of their own in the years ahead, making the family
a total of 14 children.
Shirley and her siblings were raised
by Peggy. Shirley adored her step-mom! (Her "Ma", loving referred to by Shirley)
Shirley lost her "Ma" in 1949 and the
family was never the same. Her father remarried to Alma Sweeney, another widow with a grown daughter but the attachment
to Peggy was so strong that the children never seemed to have much affection for Alma.
Shirley lost her father in 1956, just
10 years after Shirley had married.
Shirley had started school when she
was 4 years old so she finished high school at the age of 16! Shirley attended nursing school in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
This was a long way from home for someone that had never been away from home.
This would be the same town in which
she would met her husband Sam and marry him in 1946. Sam was a wounded veteran recoperating in a Milwaukee Veteran's
hospital at the time. He was from Warren, Ohio.
From the story I got, Shirley and
Sam met on a blind date that was set up by a friend. The friend's boyfriend was to bring a friend to be Shirley's
date but he walked down the street and picked Sam and didn't even know him!
Sam was a Marine in World War II and had been
badly wounded in April of 1945 on the island of Okinawa, Japan.
They were married in Milwaukee
on May 24, 1946 and their first child was born in Milwaukee in 1947 but they soon moved to Warren, Ohio where Sam's parents
Sam got work with the U.S. Government and
they proceeded to raise a family in the Warren, Ohio area. More children were born to Shirley and Sam and by the early
1960's they moved to Pennsylvania where Sam was working at Oakdale, PA Army Base as a housing manager.
Six of their 7 children were born in Ravenna, Ohio, just
west of Warren before they moved toPennsylvania.
For their retirement years, in 1981, they
moved back to Warren, Ohio. Over the years Shirley always kept in touch with her very large family from Wisconsin.
Many family reunions were attended and Shirley enjoyed getting together with all her brothers and sisters, never using terms:
"step" or "half" siblings. They were all just her brothers and sisters, (even though her step siblings were also her
Shirley loved traveling and did a lot of that,
mostly to visit and for veterans conventions. She was very active through the years with all kinds of veterans activities,
as was Sam.
Shirley went home to be with the Lord on March
20, 2003 in Warren, Ohio.
Throughout her life Shirley was more than
a wonderful, caring and loving:
Daughter; Wife; Mother; Sister; Grandmother; Great-grandmother;
Great-great-grandmother; Sister-in-law; Aunt; Mother-in-law; and a Friend to so many, she was faithful to people and
to her Lord.
Everyone loved her!
Shirley's dedication and devotion to our country
and to our veterans will be long remembered and honored. She made such a difference and set such a wonderful example
for all of us to follow.
We will remember most her laughter, her smile,
her devotion to her family and her devotion to her everlasting faith in Jesus Christ that was a "Living" example to everyone
that met her.
I pray that none of us forget that she "IS"
in heaven with the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ because she not only "HAD" faith in Him, but "Lived" her faith on this earth!
"Mom, you are gone from us for a time but
you live on in our memories, always will, until we see you again."
We Love You and Miss You "Mom"!
It's never goodbye, but "see you later,
Love, your daughter-in-law,
business partner & friend