Shirley Mary (May) Cheney passed away Tuesday, May 21, at Skyline Hospital in White Salmon, WA, surrounded by her family. She was a long-time resident of Odell and 6 days away from her 94th birthday.
Shirley was born on May 27, 1925 in Wibaux, MT to Lewis and Emily (Pickering) Faltermeyer. She was the youngest of their six children (Claudia, Alvira, Margery, Robert, and Richard). Her father, who had been born in Bavaria in 1865, had come to the US on a sailing ship as a boy before establishing a home in Wibaux. Shirley graduated from Wibaux high school as valedictorian in 1943, obtained an associate degree, and worked briefly at the University of Wyoming. She then moved to San Francisco, CA, where she worked as an executive secretary with Matson Shipping Lines. In San Francisco, she met her soulmate Robert A. Cheney. The couple was married on May 11, 1957, and after a honeymoon of downhill skiing at Timberline Lodge, they established a home in Ukiah, CA, where their two sons were born in 1958 and 1960. The young family moved to Lebanon, OR in 1964 and to Odell in 1967, where Robert (Bob) was the technical director at the Dee Hardboard plant.
Shirley is survived by her husband of 62 years, Robert; her sons Richard E. Cheney of Chapel Hill, NC and James R. Cheney of Hood River, OR; and her daughter-in-law Linmarie Sikich and granddaughters Karen A. Cheney and Laura M. Cheney of Chapel Hill, NC. In addition to her husband, children, and grandchildren, Shirley is survived by her niece Rosemary Wood of Helena, MT and her nephew Robert Faltermeyer of Spokane, WA.
After her children were born, Shirley devoted herself to her children and husband. Shirley and Bob taught the boys to love nature and adventure, and she enjoyed skiing, fishing, and camping with her family. Shirley created amazing gardens with Bob and was a longtime member of the Odell Garden Club, serving as president and as an accredited judge for the National Flower Shows. She was also an active member of the St. Mary’s congregation and Alter Society. She always kept up with current affairs and read voraciously. She enjoyed talking with almost everyone about a wide variety of topics, and never failed to see the humor even in hard situations. She never passed up the opportunity to take a drive or a walk into the beautiful areas of the valley and the surrounding area or to go to the symphony in Portland, OR. She has always loved dogs and was seldom seen in the past several years without her bichon frises, Summer and Liberty. Shirley was always kind, incredibly loyal and thoughtful to her friends. She always did what needed to be done and never gave up fighting. She had been active and independent until a heart attack two months ago. Shirley will be sorely missed and remembered with great love.
On Friday, May 24, 2019 a Rosary will be said in her honor at 10:40 AM, followed by a funeral mass at 11:00 AM at St. Mary’s Catholic Church (1501 Belmont Avenue, Hood River, OR). A reception to honor her will follow at 12:15PM in the church basement. Her ashes will be interred at St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery, in Hood River, OR at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you make a donation to the charity of your choice.
Arrangements are under the direction of Anderson's Tribute Center (Funerals • Receptions • Cremations) 1401 Belmont Avenue, Hood River, Oregon 97031. Visit www.AndersonsTributeCenter.com to leave a note of condolence for the family.