A blessed soul and one who blessed us departed to heaven on Wednesday morning, August 24, 2022. Shirley Genette (Meeker) Scaggs, age 85 of LaPorte, Indiana, was a mother, grandmother, a hard worker, a good friend, and a radiant beam of sunshine. She was born on February 28, 1937, in Veedersburg, Indiana. Her parents were John M. and Daisy (Phillips) Meeker.
Shirley graduated from Veedersburg High School in 1955 and married Robert Scaggs on December 31, 1957, in the Luray Caverns in West Virginia. The couple first lived in Crawfordsville, Indiana and moved briefly to San Bernardino, California. They returned to Indiana living in Valparaiso, then for most of her life in Knox (Bass Lake), and then on to Michigan City and La Porte. She and Bob had eight children, the eldest, Rick, predeceased her in 2010 and their infant daughter, Patty, unexpectedly passed in 1968. Husband, Robert, passed away on March 29, 1988. Continuing Shirley’s legacy are her children, Karen Small and her husband, Douglas, of South Bend; Michael Scaggs and his wife, Kay, of Clearwater, Florida; Mark Scaggs and his wife, Patti, of Knox; Beth Poehl and her husband, Mark, of La Porte; Kathy Weber and her husband, Scott, of Indianapolis; and Debbie Schlang and her husband, Steve, of Scroggins, Texas. Shirley wrote that she considered her children to be her “Jewels.” Shirley was blessed with 13 grandchildren – Rick Scaggs (Mindy); Miles Small & Kemmery Small Keultjes (Charlton); Dustin Scaggs; Jeania Gennette Scaggs St. John (Jason) & Sarah Scaggs Washington; Ariana & Specialist Lucas Poehl, who sadly passed away last year; Annie, Sam, & Ben Weber; and Hana & Jake Schlang. Shirley also found herself with 10 great-grandchildren - Allie & Kelsey St. John; Trey, Olivia & Alex Conner; Henry Small; Maive, Lana, & Kline Keultjes; and Patrick Scaggs. Shirley was also preceded in death by her siblings, Patricia Mazac, Kathleen Matthews, and John Meeker. She is survived by her youngest sister, Lura (Richard) Slaughter of Michigan City.
Shirley worked for more than 25 years for Sears as a parts manager at its stores in Knox, Michigan City and Merrillville. After her retirement, she went on to work several years as a recess attendant at Critchfield Elementary School in LaPorte where she was affectionately referred to as “G-Ma” and “Grandma Shirley.”
Shirley was multi-talented. She was a great cook with her specialty being fruit pies with their tender, flaky crust. She made “sit tight” pie crust for her children & grandchildren by taking the remaining pie dough and sprinkling cinnamon sugar on top. It baked quicker than the pie, so her children and grandchildren could “sit tight,” enjoying the sugary crust while they waited. She was an expert seamstress and an avid quilter. She sewed her children’s Halloween costumes and the “Scaggs kids,” as they were known around Bass Lake, would typically win first place at Bass Lake’s Halloween parties. She made T-shirt quilts for all of her graduating grandchildren, and she spent her last few years making yo-yo quilts for nearly everyone in the family from gathered fabrics and sentimental pieces of clothing. She collected teacups and teapots, and held dainty tea parties with her grandchildren, teaching them to drink tea with their “pinkies up.” She loved visiting her family, traveling wherever they were, including Arizona, California, Florida, Hawaii, Texas, Vermont, Wisconsin, and Germany where she even went downhill skiing. Shirley had a green, green thumb. She grew her garden with lush vegetables, sharing with friends and family, and planted vibrant flowers around the family home with potted plants inside. Most autumns, Shirley and her daughters canned fruits and vegetables for the upcoming year. Her grandchildren anxiously awaited the holidays, hoping they would receive canned jams and jellies from their “G-Ma.” She was an animal lover and, on more than one occasion, became the next stopping point for a pet which one of her children was no longer able to keep. She was the family’s go to dog/cat sitter. She was a voracious reader, always exchanging books with her daughters and granddaughters. Oh, we almost forgot, she was also an expert “line dancer.” On Tuesday nights, she made it known that she was busy and would go out with her cousin, Marcia Averit, to the Senior Center in Michigan City and dance her heart out! Unfortunately, she was too early for America’s Got Talent. She was the kind of grandmother that attended many of her grandchildren’s school and extracurricular activities, including climbing the dunes in her 80s.
We are incredibly blessed to have Shirley in our lives. She was only 4’11”, but she was bursting with love, joy, and acceptance. When she smiled, her whole face glowed, her cheeks bubbled and rose, and her eyes glinted. There was a warmth that penetrated your very soul. She made everyone feel welcome, she accepted people as they were, and she hugged them with her whole being. Good fortune traveled with her - she could find a four-leaf clover in nearly any lawn or field. We are so lucky to have her as a mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, great-grandmother and friend. Indeed, several of her daughter’s ex-boyfriends came to her home to visit with her. She will be forever missed and never forgotten. She was our four-leafed clover.
Shirley spent the last months of her life at Rittenhouse Assisted Living in Indianapolis. The staff there were wonderful, and we want to thank them for the help and compassion they provided to Shirley and her family. While there, she benefited from the expertise and understanding of Dr. Kevin McNaulty with the Center for Healthy Aging. In lieu of flowers, Shirley’s family requests donations be made to Cure Alzheimer’s Fund (https://curealz.org) and American Brain Foundation (https://www.americanbrainfoundation.org).
Funeral services will be held on Friday, October 7, 2022, at The Ott/Haverstock Funeral Chapel, 418 Washington St., Michigan City, IN. A visitation will take place at 9 AM CST with a service at 10 AM CST. A private family burial service will follow at Union Christian Cemetery, Veedersburg, IN.