Shirley Jean Kearbey (Grissom) passed away on January 10, 2022, surrounded by the love of her family and following a short illness. She was 74.
Shirley was born in Kansas City, Missouri on February 15, 1947 to Inez Grissom (Polk) and Malco Barnes Grissom, and she moved to Poplar Bluff, Missouri shortly thereafter. She was a proud daughter of Malco and Inez, and she had Malco wrapped around her little finger from the moment she was born. Poplar Bluff would become her hometown and a source of comfort throughout her life. While she enjoyed trips to the mountains and to the beach, she loved coming home to her community and truly understood the importance of home. She made a home of her own with Roger Kearbey and brought two boys into this world, a fact that she would often remind them of in their teenage years. In her sons, Jeff and Rob, she found the playmates that she had always wanted. She was the consummate fun mom, and she made sure that her sons never wanted for anything, often going out late on Christmas Eve to buy more toys and gifts so that each Christmas was the best one ever. She never missed an activity, swim meet, track meet, soccer game, play, or concert, traveling any distance to cheer at her normal volume, which just happened to be a few hundred decibels louder than the other parents. Her amps went to 11, and she loved every minute of being a mom.
Shirley was whip smart, and “independent as a hog on ice.” She was loved by friends and family and her coworkers at Robert’s Plumbing and Heating where she spent her entire work life. She had a way of keeping folks in line, often with a dry wit and clever sense of humor. She kept that sense of humor in her final days. When her sons learned recently that doctors thankfully hadn’t found anything on a brain scan, one proudly remarked, in true Shirley fashion, “that’s not surprising.” She soaked it up with that same pride that years before had grown in her as her children went off to create homes of their own. Known affectionately as Grams to Jeff and Tara Kearbey and their kids Taylor and Matthew of Memphis, Tennessee, and as Grammy K to Rob and Amy Kearbey and their kids Owen, Graham and Russell of Bethesda, Maryland, she adored her grandkids and endeavored to spoil them the same way she spoiled her own kids.
Shirley received a great gift later in life when she reconnected with her big brother Mike White of Springfield, MO. Mike was an amazing blessing coming into Shirley’s life soon after the loss of her father. Shirley is survived by her kids and grandkids, her brother Mike, her cousin and sister from another mother, Jamie McWilliams Bloodworth, and numerous other cousins, nieces, and nephews. Shirley was a devout Christian and a member of the First Christian Church in Poplar Bluff, a church home she found in recent years. Based on her faith, we know Shirley is now back home with her parents, and we trust that she has her dad once again wrapped very tightly around that little finger.
A memorial service to commemorate Shirley’s life will be held at the First Christian Church, 1601 N. Main Street, Poplar Bluff, MO 63901 on Monday, January 31st at 1:00 pm, with a visitation prior to the service between 11:00 am and 1:00 pm at the church. Interment to follow at Memorial Gardens Cemetery with Reverend Frank Chlastak officiating.
Cotrell Willow Ridge Funeral and Cremation Services is honored to serve the family of Shirley Kearbey.
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