COOPERSTOWN – Shirley M. (Busse) Walrath, 76. One of Cooperstown’s gems “Shirl the Pearl” Walrath responded to her final job interview and joined the staff in heaven on March 20, 2019.
The job description stated, “searching for qualified individual to maintain order using a hands on, no nonsense approach.” Those who knew Shirley are sure that the job will be well done.
Born June 5, 1942, in Cooperstown, Shirley was the daughter of Cecil and Hilda (Bennett) Chandler.
She was a lifelong Cooperstown resident and a well-known “local institution.” Shirley was one of Cooperstown’s biggest fans; she loved living in the village.
From a young age, Shirley took care of others. She left high school to care for her father and brothers when her mother died. She was a hard and dedicated worker always giving 110 percent.
She worked as a cook at one time or another for many of the restaurants in Cooperstown, among them the Lakefront, Hitching Post, Glimmerglass Café, TJ’s, Toscana’s and Mel’s, as well as volunteering at the Vet’s Club.
Shirley always had a big smile, a loud and uniquely distinctive voice and gave an affectionate greeting, “Hi honey” to everyone she met. And, she made it her mission to greet everyone. As a struggling and single mom she raised her three boys and worked to make sure they had what they needed. She enjoyed giving more than receiving. She adored each of her grandchildren and great grandchildren as well as her cat “Smokey”.
Shirley is survived by her sons, Richard (Kathryn) Busse of Cooperstown, Robert (Trudie) Busse of Cooperstown, and Jacob Busse of Florida. She is also survived by six grandchildren, Derek, Kristen, Carly and her husband Thiago Brentini, Robert Jr., Lucas, and Jacob Jr., and by two great grandchildren.
Shirley was predeceased by her two husbands, Albert Busse, to whom she was married from Oct. 28, 1961, until his death on Aug. 6, 1981, and by George Walrath to whom she was married from March 17, 1984, until his death on Dec. 24, 2004.
She was also predeceased by her parents and by her three brothers, Cecil, Ernest and Robert Chandler.
The family extends its thanks to Sal Grigoli, Shirley’s landlord, for the many kindnesses he showed her.
A memorial service will be at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 24, at the Tillapaugh Funeral Home, 28 Pioneer St., Cooperstown, with Rev. Thomas LeBeau, pastor of the Cooperstown United Methodist Church, officiating.
The family will be present to receive friends prior to the service from 1 to 3 pm.
A celebration of Shirley’s life will be held immediately after the service at the Cooperstown VFW, 60 Main Street. In lieu of flowers the family suggests that those who so desire make contributions in Shirley’s name to the “Cooperstown Veteran’s Club Woman’s Auxillary”, 60 Main St., Cooperstown, NY 13326.
Arrangements are under the care of Tillapaugh Funeral Service, Cooperstown.