Shirley Heinke

Obituary of Shirley Heinke


Shirley Ann (Cochran) Heinke, 83, of Tacoma, Washington passed away on Sunday, September 29, 2019 at Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Tacoma, Washington following a challenging recovery after surgery.

She was born on June 26, 1936 in Deer River, Minnesota, the daughter of the late Howard Cochran and Edith Folk.  She grew up in both Deer River and Duluth, Minnesota. She lived in Richmond, Barstow, Chula Vista and San Francisco, California before residing the remaining part of her life in Tacoma and Puyallup, Washington where she raised her children.

She was known for her warm heart and big hugs, her smile and great looks, her fire and determination. In her younger years she enjoyed modeling, bowling, playing pool and darts, sports and dancing. Later, she took pleasure in gardening, building anything and fixing all things broken, crocheting baby layettes and blankets, scarves and hats. She was also an amazing artist that created treasured paintings that will be etched in our hearts forever. She was a huge sports fan who loved her Seahawks, the Mariners and big time wrestling. She continued to love dancing and we know she will be forever “DANCING IN THE SKY”.

Holidays were very special to her. She loved when her family gathered to celebrate. As holidays approached, she could be found in the kitchen all month baking all our family traditional favorite treats; date balls, fudge (with and without nuts and peanut butter), coffee/boil cake, divinity, peanut brittle, pumpkin and apple pies and popcorn balls in every color.

Shirley treated all she met with grace and kindness. One of her consistent joys was spending time with family and her dear friends with whom she always had a story to tell and her love and unwavering support to offer. She loved helping people. After retiring, she spent several years volunteering her time and nurturing new friendships at the Puyallup Activity Center for Seniors until early last year.

Despite her declining health these past 2 years, she maintained her quick wit, humor and positive outlook.  Known for a having a stubborn streak, she maintained her independence, as she desired, until the very end. Everyone that knew her thought she was tough as nails and was the strongest person they knew. It was believed that would be here forever and outlive us all.

The family would like to thank her neighbors for their steadfast love and support of their mother. From the bottom of their hearts they would like you to know how much their mother had grown to love them for sharing kindness, love and concern for their mother. It was because of them that their mother could continue to live independently as she so wished.  God bless you Cindi, Jim, Claudia, Pat and Bob. She was so blessed to have developed such deep love and friendships with you all.

Shirley is survived by her children, Diane Olander, Tammy Beaver, Kathleen (Ed) Marlatt, and Gary (Denise) Heinke Jr., and her sister, Alice Baze. She was preceded in death by her sisters, Betty Stewart, Patricia Shaughnessy and Sandra Nielson.  She was blessed to have had 10 grandchildren, Chris, Curtis, Katrina, Ronnie, Jake (Hailee), Maddy (Ricky), Ryan (Courtney) Kyle (Shala), Bailey and Blain. She adored her 14 great grandchildren; Veronica (Tee), Rachel, Melissa (Josh), Marcus, Francisco, Megan (Hunter), Kirsty, Dailee, Edie, Angel, Amora, Eli, Ember and Lucas. She had 4 beloved great-great grandchildren; Mylie, Easton, Annie and Adelynn.

She was the BEST NANNY EVER and her grandchildren will always love her to the moon and back!

Shirley will be remembered as a giver who embraced life and touched her family and all those she met in a positive and genuine way. She will be dearly missed by all that were fortunate to have her in their lives.

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