Shirley Ann Koster was born on October 1, 1929 to Bessie (Hansma) Koster and Harry P. Koster, in Grand Rapids Michigan, completing their family of five. She had two older brothers, George Raymond (Marjory) and Walter Jay (Rosemary) Koster. She attended Sigsbee Elementary and Ottawa Hills High School until she was 16, when her mother died unexpectedly. Shirley took over the household duties, living with her father. Being a dwarf presented many challenges throughout her life, but she managed to adapt to living independently, including driving a car with the use of shoes on extensions in order to reach the pedals.
While she didn’t have children of her own, she loved and enjoyed spending time with the many kids in her life, including 12 nieces and nephews. She learned to sew her own clothes and loved to knit, making numerous newborn baby caps and booties, donated to local hospitals. Later in life making chocolate candies at Christmas was fun for her and enjoyed by all. Playing games, such as cards and dice, was a lifelong pleasure and she played a lot of Bingo, including helping to run a Bingo program sponsored by the local Chapter of NAPH. NAPH was a significant program in her adult life, affording annual trips around the country and the opportunity to make life-long friends. Many years she served as an officer including the Presidency of her Chapter.
Much of her life involved childcare and she also worked for Easter Seals for several years. The last four years of her life were spent at Porter Hills where she was very active in all the activities. She was also a member of Wesley Park United Methodist Church.
Shirley was preceded in death by her parents; her two brothers; her sister in law Rosemary Koster, two nieces, Susan Kellogg and Barbara Dingma and great great niece Kora Kukawski and great nephew Zachary Deville She is survived by her sister-in-law, Marjory Koster and 10 nieces and nephews: Kathy (Greg) Kukawski, Patricia (John) Dennehy, Mike (Judy) Koster, Rick (Denise) Koster, Mary Chris (Steve) Hentzelman, Jane (Rick) Berkey, David Koster, Laura (John) Gardner, Joan (Brian) Day, and Jeanne (Neale) Bauman. In addition to her nieces and nephews, she is survived by several distant cousins and 27 great nieces and nephews and their children (33), along with her dear friends, Virginia Homrich (and children Joe and Ann Marie) and Geri Lurtz.
The family wishes to thank the wonderful care givers at Porter Hills and Emmanuel Hospice. Shirley was an unforgettable character and will be missed.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Shirley’s name to Porter Hills, Emmanuel Hospice or one’s personal choice, would be appreciated.
Memorial Service will be held Friday, November 8, 2019 at 2:00pm in the Meeting House at Porter Hills.
To send flowers to Shirley's family, please visit our floral section.