Date of Death: February 14, 2024

Service Details

Visitation will be held Thursday, February 22, 2024 beginning at 11:00 a.m. at Hohner Funeral Home, 1004 Arnold St., Three Rivers. A funeral service will follow at 1:00 p.m. at the funeral home with Norm Stutesman officiating. She will be laid to rest in Riverside Cemetery.

Obituary Notice

Shirley Jane Salisbury, 84, of Three Rivers, passed away Wednesday, February 14, 2024 at Optalis Health and Rehab in Three Rivers surrounded by her loving family.

She was born January 21, 1940 in Kalamazoo, the daughter of Orville and Violet (Skinner) Valentine, and graduated from Vicksburg High School with the Class of 1958.

Shirley worked at General Motors and American Axle until her retirement.

On May 6, 1978 she married James Salisbury; he preceded her in death November 7, 2008. Together they were members of (and helped build) Temple Baptist Church, and were involved with the American Legion Hice-Shutes Post #170, with Shirley serving as Auxiliary Chaplain. They also raised, showed, and bred quarter horses at their ranch, “Spanish Acres.”

Shirley loved to do crafts, watch baseball (especially the Detroit Tigers!), cooking, gardening, pool parties with family and friends, and riding horses.

Remaining to cherish her memory are her daughter, Lisa Marie Stewart of Three Rivers; son, Kenn Blade of Three Rivers; grandsons, Richard Lewis “Butch” (Kristin) Bogema, Stephen Kimble, Ryan Kuiper, and Brandon Pendell; sister, Sandra (Dan) Fleming of Plainwell; several nieces and nephews; special friend, Roger Stewart.

She was preceded in death by her parents; husbands, Kenneth Blade and James Salisbury Sr.; brother, Billy R. Blankenship; nephews, Larry Markillie and Dwayne Blankenship.

Her family wishes to extend special thanks to the ladies of Transitions Hospice – Ashley, Karen, Ann, Stacey, and Rosa – for their wonderful care of Shirley.

Additional Information

Donations in Shirley’s memory may be directed to the St. Joseph County Animal Rescue Fund. Envelopes are available at the funeral home.

Please Leave Your Condolences

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  1. Shirley’s family, I am sorry for your loss. I worked with Shirley off and on for years at General Motors and American Axle. She was so much fun to be around. I don’t think she was ever not interested in the people around her. She definitely was one of a kind….always smiling.

  2. I remember Thanksgiving and Xmas’s at the house with all of us kids together having fun playing games, swimming and lots of food. Aunt Shirley always like to have parties and she was good at pulling it off. As we got older having are own kids the family grew and bigger get togethers those were the days. The last few years the disease was getting worst and the last time we went to lunch I took the grandsons with me and she told stories to the boys about there great grandpa (Bill) and a story about tigers in the neighbors back yard as we pulled out of her driveway after dropping her off the boys wanted to go to the neighbors to see those tigers she was talking about. I will tell you that is a story I will never forget. I will miss our birthday lunches we use to have and the great stories you shared with me about family. Aunt Shirley you are now free of pain and flying with the angels. I love you and will miss you.

    Your niece Karen

  3. Dear Mom, I know we had our issues at times but what mother and daughter don’t at times? But we also had a lot of good times. I’m so glad I was with you at the end, combing your hair, talking to you, doing a puzzle and listening to music, touching you. I wish that nasty disease wouldn’t have come upon you.I will and have missed you dearly. You are out of pain now, you are with Papa and your fur babies. You watched me take my first breath, but I watched you take your last. Rest in peace now mom, I’ll see you some day again. I hope we did you justice. I will love you and miss you always, till we meet again mom. Love your daughter Lisa ❤️

  4. Kenn, Lisa & Family I’m so sorry for your loss. Shirley was a beautiful lady inside & out, I will miss her dearly! Fly high beautiful lady! Love always, Tiffany

  5. Sandy and family,
    So sorry you have lost your sister. She sounds like she was a wonderful sister. Sisters are great. Bill and I wish you comfort and peace, to your family and those who love her. Love you guys.
    Bill and Sue Kessler

  6. I don’t know where to begin, I am going to miss my dear sister. She was my big Sis. Between the two of us she was definitely the most talented. There isn’t anything she couldn’t do that she set her mind to. Growing up on a farm she had a faithful horse that she loved and at that time was her best friend. And as she grew into adulthood she continued with the passion she loved of horses. She had her beautiful show quarter horse Clipper. She also broke several horses. I can remember on the farm how courageous she was when she and I tied our bulls legs together and she had me cut the ropes after she got on him and did she ever go for a joy ride. We had a pet pig named Elmer who did not like myself or my mother at all. But Shirley and daddy could do anything with Elmer. I can remember her getting on his back and would ride him either through the field or down the road to our pond. I can recall so many things we used t do as a team. Like when mom ad dad went to Vicksburg for groceries and Shirley decide that we were going to help daddy out by cultivating the corn field as much as we could before the returned back home. So she drove the tractor and I stood up beside her singing songs as we drove along. Well we had very large portion of the field completed but what we didn’t notice is that she had knocked all of the corn over on the ground. I guess you know what was in store for us for the next few days. Her and I had to go out and sit every little corn up and pack dirt around it. She enjoyed having family Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners for family, And always made the occasions very special. Shirley had so many talents. During high school she was in a vocal group. I believe they called it a Madrical group.(I’m sure I spelled that wrong) but she had a beautiful voice. She was a very talented artist, and a crafter. Entering several things in the Saint Joseph County Fair with 2 or 3 of the going to the State Fair. She could macrame extraordinary items, knit and crochet, sew ,make beautiful displays of Emu and Ostrich eggs. So many more talents. Her and her husband raised their grandson Richie and did so very much for him growing up. They were big supporters of his love for athletics. Shirley loved tooling around in Jim and hers antique car and his antique truck. After Jim passed away she would enter his truck in car shows and got trophies that she was very proud of. Shirley will be missed by so many family and friends. I Love you Dearest Sister and miss you already so very much. You Fly High with the Angels. And Rest in Peace Forever and Ever. Your Loving sister Sandy

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