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Mrs. Shirley Pike (Turner) Darden

December 15, 2019
Shirley Pike (Turner) Darden died peacefully at her home on November 21, 2019, having two days earlier celebrated her 80th birthday. Shirley was born in LaGrange, Ga. to Andrew Howard and Lillie Mae Pike. She married John Kenneth Turner in 1959 and they had two children, Elizabeth Hope, Savannah, Ga.; and Jonathan Scott Turner, Savannah, Ga. She was a loving wife and mother and shared the ministry of The United Methodist Church with her former husband before his death in 1993. She was blessed with four grandchildren: Elizabeth Stone Douglass (Timothy), Atlanta, Ga.; Jonathan Turner, Savannah, Ga.; Adeline Turner, Cochran, Ga.; and Callaway Turner, Savannah, Ga. She was great-grandmother to Gracie, Ella, Rosalie and Leo. Shirley was known affectionately by many, family and otherwise, as Nana.

Shirley graduated from LaGrange High School in 1958. She received her undergraduate degree in Education from Georgia Southwestern College. She went on to receive a Master’s degree from Mercer University during a time few women were pursing higher education. Later in her career as an educator, she was certified as a Reading Recovery specialist and took great pride in teaching thousands of children the gift of reading. She moved extensively throughout the state of Georgia and taught in multiple school districts.

As an accomplished seamstress, Shirley often made elegant clothing for herself and less elegant, but quite adorable, clothing for her young grandchildren and great grandchildren. In 2001, she was named Ms. Senior Savannah, a title she wore proudly along with her lovely tiara. As a 50+ year survivor of breast cancer, she felt that every day was a gift. She became a regular at the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, where her long survivorship gained her rock star status.

Shirley began a new chapter in her life in 2007 when she reconnected with her high school sweetheart and first love, Frank Ellis Darden, at their 50th class reunion. They never missed a day together after that event. They married July 30, 2008. They traveled the world and life together always at each other’s side. She had never been happier and more content than during the years she spent with Frank.

She will be missed by her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren and her beloved dog, Susie but most of all, the love of her life, Frank. She was a woman of faith, integrity and strength. She cared passionately for those around her and served as an example of a strong, graceful, Southern woman to all who had the good fortune of knowing her.

Services were held November 24 at Grace United Methodist Church and her ashes were interred in LaGrange on November 30. Though she loved red roses, in lieu of flowers, the family asks that charitable donations in her memory be made to the charity of your choice.

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