Shirley L. Marty was born on November 23, 1932 and died peacefully on October 19, 2020. She was born in Lesterville, Missouri, the only child of Roy L. and Glenna Chapman Plunk. She attended Emmaus Lutheran School in St. Louis and was part of the first freshman class to attend Lutheran High School Central when it opened in the fall of 1946. She went on to Concordia Teachers College in River Forest, Illinois, where she flourished, gaining a reputation for her quick wit and establishing lifelong friendships.

In the fall of her first year at River Forest, she met Myron Marty (Mike), a love match that lasted nearly seventy years until his death in 2019.

Following their marriage in the summer of 1954, they moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana, where she taught 1st and 2nd grade and Mike taught 3rd and 4th. In 1957 they moved to St. Louis, where Mike taught and attended graduate school while Shirley cared for their growing family. For 20 years they were members of Unity Lutheran Church, Bel Nor, where she built enduring friendships and was actively involved in social outreach programs. She also sang for several years in the Lutheran Hour Choir.

In 1980 the family moved to the DC area, where she and Mike explored the city, hosted new and old friends, and traveled with their younger son’s soccer team.

She also found satisfaction in an editorial position that let her put writing and editing skills to work. When Mike was appointed Dean of Arts and Sciences at Drake University in 1984, they moved to Des Moines, Iowa. For more than a decade, Shirley worked as a legislative assistant on the floor of the Iowa House of Representatives, a job she loved. She was involved in the Storybook Project of Iowa, which gives incarcerated women a chance to choose books and record them for their children.

She and Mike traveled. They established an enduring connection to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin community in Spring Green, Wisconsin, and Scottsdale, Arizona, where they visited often; together they wrote an oral history of the community, Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin Fellowship (Truman State, 1999).

During the Iowa years, Shirley also became a grandmother for the first time and for the rest of her life she nurtured warm and loving relationships with her granddaughters and grandsons. In 2000, they moved to Monticello, IL  to be near family and joined Christ Lutheran Church. Her lively spirit and quick wit made her a welcome presence in every new community they joined.

She was a vital part of the community at Clark-Lindsey, where she and Mike spent the last years of their life together, and until the end of her life she was an active member at Grace Lutheran Church, Champaign.

She never stopped loving her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren and she was deeply loved by them.

Shirley was predeceased by her husband Mike and an infant son, Michael David. She is survived by her daughters Miriam Marty Clark (Drew) and Elizabeth Bertolini (John); her sons Timothy

Marty (Ann) and Jason Marty (Marla); her grandchildren Emma, Mary, Paul, Matthew, Michael, Philip, Leah, Anna Louise, and Joshua; and her great grandchildren Margaret, Jane, Henry, Jack, and Jayden; and many friends.

The family will hold a private memorial service. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the Storybook Project through Lutheran Social Services of Illinois, or to Grace Lutheran Church, Champaign,

Condolences may be sent to the family at

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