Shirley Yochim, known as “Sweet Shirley” to much of the community, passed peacefully away on the evening of June 26 in Lawrence, Kansas. Funeral services will be held at Rumsey-Yost Funeral Home on June 28 at 11 a.m. The family will receive visitors at the Lawrence Jewish Community Center from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Shirley was born in Des Moines, Iowa on Valentine’s Day in 1934. She was the youngest of five children — and the only girl — born to Jacob and Helen Dorothy Greene. The family moved to Chicago, Illinois when Shirley was young, and there she graduated from Marshall HighSchool in the early 1950s.
Shirley attended Wright Junior College and Roosevelt University, both in Chicago, from 1952 to 1955. During that time she was also employed at Berger-Rivenbergh Point of Purchase Advertising in Chicago, mostly notable for its location — across the street from the Playboy Club.
At a cousin’s housewarming party Shirley met Jerome (Jerry) Yochim, who, so stricken by her humor and beauty, suggested that his bestfriend ask her out on a date. Although that date was never made. Shirley and Jerry kept up a correspondence while Jerry was in Champaign- Urbana finishing his Masters Degree at the
University of Illinois.
In August 1957 Shirley and Jerry married and moved to Lafayette,Indiana where Jerry completed his Doctoral Degree in 1960, and then back to Chicago for a few years. The couple moved to Lawrence, Kansas in 1962 when Jerry joined the faculty at the University of Kansas. The couple originally planned to stay in Lawrence for one year and then decide if they liked it enough to settle down (and could get used to the strange noises coming from the back yard — cows).
After meeting members of the Lawrence Jewish Community Center, Shirley shed some of her city ways (and even learned to drive), and for the next 50 years the couple made Lawrence their home. Shirley was active with
the Center and the Jewish Community Women and over four decades served in various positions as the group’s Secretary, Treasurer and Blintz Brunch organizer. Along with Artie Shaw, Shirley helped establish the KU Hillel foundation.
Shirley also worked as a secretary in the Social Work Department at Lawrence Memorial Hospital and at Audio Reader, a reading service for the visually impaired. She is best known for her work in real estate at the Gill Agency and later the McGrew Agency, from which she retired in 1998.
Shirley is survived by her husband Jerry, son Jordan and daughter- in-law Amanda (Lawrence), daughter Dayana (Alexandria, Va.) and grandson Elliot (Lawrence).
In lieu of flowers the family encourages donations to the Lawrence Jewish Community Center, the Visiting Nurses Association of Douglas County, or Grace Hospice in care of the Rumsey- Yost Funeral Home, 601 Indiana, Lawrence, KS 66044.