Cover photo for Shirley Kay VanVleet's Obituary
1948 Shirley 2024

Shirley Kay VanVleet

March 13, 1948 — May 10, 2024


Our loving mother, sister, and precious aunt Shirley, passed away at South Lincoln Medical Center in Kemmerer, Wyoming. This was a sudden event and she taught her grieving family and friends an important lesson in love when she left us to be with Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the early morning hours of May 10th, 2024. Shirley was born March 13th,1948, to James E. Van Vleet and Wanda J. (Jump) Van Vleet in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The youngest of three children, Shirley, soon became the oldest daughter in her mother’s second marriage to Jackson pioneer (Mormon Row) rancher, Claude Blair. Claude was an extraordinary man and was a devoted father to his four children. Shirley would always hold his memory in the highest of esteem while she was on this earth.

She attended schools in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and later Bozeman, Montana. A strong drive to help others led her to join a cardiopulmonary program at a training hospital and she began her lifelong career in healthcare. After school, she married Ernest L. Pachl in Billings, Montana. To this union, Nicole and Ernest James “Sonson” were born. As a couple, they both enjoyed managing businesses ranging from discos to Am Way and were well known in that community. In 1977, they lost their son in an auto-pedestrian accident and the marriage did not survive the tragedy. Shirley would move with her young daughter to Evanston, Wyoming in the spring of 1980. In those years, she would travel on I-80 to be the relief Respiratory Therapist for both the Evanston and Kemmerer hospitals. Her skills and dedication were in high demand. She would soon cut those long commutes short by becoming a Kemmerer resident in the winter of that year. Shirely was the Director of Respiratory Therapy for South Lincoln Hospital for more than two decades and was instrumental in the establishment of the Home Oxygen Department. She was dedicated to quality care and loved her hospital family whole heartedly.

Shirley had a genuine smile and a good ear for most who had a chance to encountered her. She enjoyed laughing and hearing your stories. She was a regular for coffee with the girls at the Short Stop Café back in the day and she never turned down a visit with pals at the local watering holes. Shirley had survived numerous friends of more than forty years. Camping, animals (dogs), nature, cooking, and driving up country were passions that she shared with her dear friend, Sim A. Mayne. They would marry and enjoy several years before eventually separating. Never holding back on dishing out hugs and advice, she was dearly loved by her nieces, nephews, in-laws, and cousins. To her daughter she leaves her kindness and strength. Shirley was a fantastic mother who reassured her daughter with faith and positivity right to the end of her life. Her daughter would like to say thank you to the friends and members of the family who were close by to check on Shirley when she needed a hand. May the Lord bless and keep you always.

Shirley is preceded in death by her young son, mother, father, stepfather, ex-husband, and sisters Claudette Blair (Higgins) and Doris J. Van Vleet (Hyde). She is survived by her daughter Nicole Pachl, ex-husband Ernest L. Pachl and her brothers Cutis J. Van Vleet, Les

Blair, and Lynn Blair. The family would also like to extend their gratitude to the following teams at South Lincoln Medical Center, Kemmerer Emergency Medical Services, the Diamondville Police Department, the Senior Citizens Center, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A celebration of life will be held in Wyoming and New Mexico this summer pending the notification of family members and devoted friends. Shirley had asked for cremation with internment next to her son in Billings, Montana. And so it is.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Shirley Kay VanVleet, please visit our flower store.


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