Shirley L. Tibbetts (Cook) after a long illness died peacefully in her sleep at Benchmark Assisted Living in Billerica on Sunday March 8.
Shirley was born on September 20,1930 in Lexington, MA to Ethel and Ralph Cook. She graduated from Lexington High School in 1948 and went on to earn an Associate’s Degree in Administrative Practice from Hitchcock Secretarial School in Boston in 1950. She began her career at the Boston YMCA where she met Kenneth M. Tibbetts of Bridgewater, MA. When he was discharged from the Navy in 1956, they got married at the Reading Baptist Church. In 1958, they moved to Billerica and over the next two years welcomed their children David and Susan.
As her kids grew, she kept her administration skills sharp in producing the North Billerica Baptist Church weekly program for which she recruited her kids, assigning them the tasks of sorting, collating, folding, stapling as well as licking thousands of stamps. When the children reached middle school age, she resumed her career becoming the Executive Assistant to the Superintendent, of the Billerica School Department. She also became the stenographer for the Billerica School Committee where she was able to practice her stenography, the practice of taking short-hand and typing those notes at lightspeed. She retired in 1999 after 27 years of service.
Early in their retirement Ken and Shirley volunteered several days a week at Shriner Hospital for children. They spent many summers in Gilford, NH at their summer place while watching their grandchildren grow up. They began the snowbird lifestyle, migrating each winter to the Villages in Lady Lake Florida and returning north each summer to visit the family. Everybody was surprised when she took up golf and became a huge Tiger Woods fan. At one point, she hit a hole in one.
Her children remember her as a loving mother who set an example by being a woman of her time who successfully took on the challenge of balancing family, home, and career, while encouraging them to pursue their goals.
Shirley was 89 years old and is survived by her children, David M. Tibbetts of Westford, MA and Susan B. (Tibbetts) Koning of Billerica, MA; three grandchildren, Robert W. Koning and his wife Jesslyn Koning of Pepperell, MA, Alison L. Koning of Billerica, MA and Jonathan Tyler Koning of Carlisle, MA, and her Sister Phyllis Annis of Merrimack, NH, and many nieces and nephews.
The family would like to thank those angels at the Benchmark Assisted Living at Billerica Crossings for their dedication to mom’s comfort and care and the degree of empathy and they showed during this difficult time. A.J. Weir and Will Kratch also contributed a great amount comfort.
Funeral service will be held Thursday, March 12, at 10:00 AM in the Burns Funeral Home, 354 Boston Rd., (Rt. 3A), Billerica. Visiting hours, Wednesday, 4:00 to 7:00 PM. Relatives and friends invited. Interment, Fox Hill Cemetery, Billerica, followed by a reception at Garrisons Restaurant, 303 Boston Road, Billerica. All are welcome to attend and celebrate Shirley’s life. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Shriners Hospital for Children (donate.lovetotherescue.org). The family would like to thank the angels at the Benchmark Billerica Crossings Assisted Living for their dedication to moms’ comfort and the degree of empathy and care they showed during this difficult time.