Shirley Oden
Shirley Oden

Obituary of Shirley Oden

Our beloved Mother, Grandmother, Great Grandmother, and Sister passed into the arms of our Creator, June 28th, 2021 at home with her daughters at her side in Santa Cruz, CA.  She was 82 years old.


Shirley was born December 11th, 1938 to her parents, William Andrew Oden and Eunice Esther Hill in Pinckneyville, IL.  She grew up with her five siblings and graduated from Pinckneyville High School in 1957.  After graduation, she moved to St. Louis, MO to work at McDonnell Aircraft Company, where she met and later married Ronald Clay Montgomery in 1958.  


Shirley and Ron moved to California in 1962, along with their two daughters, Tama and Marquita.  She lived in Santa Clara, San Jose, and Santa Cruz for the next 59 years.  Some of her favorite places were the famous 17-mile drive in Monterey, Pacific Grove, Carmel, and most of all Yosemite National Park.  


Shirley graduated from San Jose State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1975.  She was an extremely creative person and a master seamstress, with the ability to create wedding gowns from the dreams of brides, obsessed with achieving the perfectly straight hemline, to the most intricate lace and beadwork, she was affectionately known as “The Fairy Godmother”.   She taught sewing and crochet classes in the Santa Cruz Community and worked as an Administrative Assistant at Norman’s Family Chapel, helping those in the time of most need.  She was empathetic and gracious, always ready to help someone else.  


Shirley was a nature lover and quite adventurous, making several white-water rafting trips down the Stanislaus, American and Merced rivers, navigating class four rapids like a professional.  She enjoyed sailing in San Francisco Bay and hiking in the Redwood forests of the California coast.  Lover of butterflies, Cardinals and Hummingbirds, she was always young at heart with her collection of teddy bears.  She was an avid sports fan and devoted Grandmother, attending every track and field event, musical theatre performance, dance competition and scholarship pageant.   She was a great storyteller with an infectious laugh that lit up every room she entered.  


Shirley is survived by her daughters, Tama Montgomery and Marquita Garcia.  Her Grandchildren, LaShana and Brandin Young, Colette and Aaron Phillips, Justin Montgomery and Danny Dimichino.  Her Great Grandchildren, Isaiah Young, Sarayah Young, Delylah Young, Josiah Young, Elijah Young and Elle Diokno.  Her siblings, Bill Oden, Mary Traylor, Nancy Lay and Deborah Schrader.  She was preceded in death by her parents William Andrew Oden and Eunice Esther Hill and her sister, Margie Ann Kellerman.


The family will be hosting a Celebration of Life memorial luncheon in December 2021 at Yosemite National Park in a private home, details to follow.  Arrangements are being handled by Benito & Azzaro Pacific Gardens Chapel,  

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a contribution to and plant a tree in her memory. 

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A Memorial Tree was planted for Shirley
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Benito & Azzaro Pacific Gardens Chapel
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