Shirley May (Kangas) Wheaton

December 18, 1934 ~ September 14, 2019 (age 84)


Shirley May Wheaton, 1934-2019, Loving Mother & Grandmother

Shirley May (Kangas) Wheaton, 84, of Leominster passed away peacefully in her home on Saturday, September 14.

Shirley was born on December 18, 1934 in Gardner, MA to Kauno Kangas and Rita (Fogarty) Kangas.

She is survived by her husband of 63 years, Alfred W. Wheaton, the love of her life and their cat Herman; a brother, Albert Kangas and his wife Jean Kangas of Arizona; a sister, Nathalie (Kangas) Kelly and her husband Norman of Connecticut; 4 daughters, Gina P. (Wheaton) Sauvageau and her husband Michael of Leominster, Kara Wheaton and her partner Megan Popham of Barre, Lisa Duncanson of Barre, and Shari (Wheaton) Sampson and her husband James Sampson of Gardner; 10 grandchildren; and 14 great grandchildren.

Shirley graduated from Gardner High School in 1952. She also attended Leland Powers School in New York City to study modeling and acting.

Her greatest pleasure in life was traveling. Shirley worked for many years at Hanslin Travel, and later, Traveler’s Depot and Peri Travel. Shirley journeyed all over the world through work and with her family. She most enjoyed her trips to Hawaii, Jamaica, England, Greece and the Haiti. If the water was warm and the music was good, Shirley was home.

Shirley believed in equality, peace and beauty. She enjoyed learning about history, world cultures, and about people. She enjoyed reading biographies, completing crossword puzzles, discussing politics and listening to music by the lake outside her home. She loved cats and was fortunate enough to love many throughout her life.

She was a humanitarian and animal rights advocate and supported many charities throughout her life including the A.S.P.C.A. and St. Jude’s.

She was an amazing mother, grandmother, and great grandmother and enjoyed spending time with her family. She believed that with a little love and determination, and a little bit of imagination, anything is possible.

She will be greatly missed.

“You may say that I'm a dreamer But I'm not the only one I hope someday you'll join us And the world will be as one” -John Lennon, “Imagine”

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Private Service

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