Cover photo for Shirley Jean Gillespie's Obituary
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Shirley Jean Gillespie

December 4, 1927 — January 13, 2024

Shirley Jean Gillespie

Shirley Jean Gillespie, 96, of Atlantic, Iowa, formerly of Missouri Valley, was welcomed home by her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ on Saturday, January 13, 2024, at her home.

Shirley Jean (Sorick) Gillespie, the daughter of Buell and Olive Eileen (Bennett) Sorick was born on December 4, 1927, in Missouri Valley, Iowa. Shirley was thankful for her heritage and reminded her daughters that they came from a long line of Pioneer Women.  At age 19, Shirley was baptized in a Baptist Church and always trusted God.  Her three children were the delight of her life and she worked hard to raise them to be productive citizens.  Vicki recalled her mom being the first, best and toughest boss she ever had when she worked under her at Mars Café.   Shirley could think of things to do that never left a boring moment and taught them all a great work ethic.  She was a hard worker herself and they recall that she would go in two hours early to cover for other people just to earn $1.20.  Her son, Jimmy remembers when there wasn’t quite enough to go around, mom would just nibble the scraps and leftovers after urging the kids to eat their fill.  The plus from that time for Shirley, might have been keeping her girlish figure; decades later she smiled to remember that there was a period when she and both of her daughters were all the same size and could share their dresses.  

Shirley was a reader from a young age and even after her own adventures and trips, always said it was her favorite way to travel.  Travel she did, from the Pella Tulip Festival to visiting her daughter, Linda and grandkids in Alaska and Hawaii.  She even worked a couple of seasons in a fish cannery while in her 60’s while visiting Cordova, Alaska.  It was remote and they had to travel by ferry boat but she loved it!  She visited casinos with her daughter Vicki in Las Vegas and along the Colorado River.  A favorite trip was to Winterset, Iowa, to the local historical sites, including the John Wayne Museum.  One trip, while vacationing with her daughter, Vicki, they saw a fantastic Kenny Rogers impersonator and she laughingly recalled what a heartthrob he was, “he made her liver quiver!”

Coming to Atlantic in 2016, she and Vicki took apartments next door to each other; always careful to “stay out of each other’s back pocket!”  Life quieted down a little, but she loved that little spot in the world.  Shirley claimed to have a black thumb but would talk to her flowers and they were the prettiest in her neighborhood!  She relished working crossword puzzles in her quiet time and continued to read, read, read!  

Shirley is survived by her daughter, Vicki Gillespie Rodgers; son, Jimmy (Vickie) Gillespie; sister-in-law, Karen (John) Sorick; greatly loved grandchildren and great-grandchildren; and nieces and nephews.

Shirley was preceded in death by her daughter, Linda Gillespie Baker; granddaughters, Shellie Noelle Gillespie and Michelle Calmer; brothers, John Sorick and Richard “Dick” (Bev) Sorick; sisters, Jo Lynn Blumenstein and Joyce (Bill) Tiffey; niece, Kathleen Sorick; nephew, Rick Setchell; step-father, Ed Blumenstein; mother, Olive Eileen Blumenstein; and father, Buell Sorick.

The family will host a Celebration of Life Memorial service at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, February 24, 2024, at the First Church of Christ in Atlantic.  Immediately following the service, a time of food and sharing of memories will be held in the church fellowship hall.  Burial will be held at a later date at Oak Grove Cemetery in Missouri Valley, Iowa.

In lieu of flowers memorials may be directed to the family for later designation to missionaries, Anthony and Elizabeth Smith with Pioneer Bible Translators, a cause that was dear to Shirley’s heart.  Memorials may be sent to Roland Funeral Home, PO Box 129, Atlantic, Iowa 50022, in care of Shirley Jean Gillespie.

Roland Funeral Service is caring for Shirley’s family and her arrangements.   Condolences may be left at

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

Past Services

Celebration of Life Memorial Service Hosted by the Family

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Starts at 11:00 am

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