Shirley Rose (Spitznagle) Klinker, 86, of Lafayette passed away February 14 at St. Anthony Health Care. Shirley was born on April 8, 1934 in Lafayette to Edward and Katherine (Fassnacht) Spitznagle and graduated from Monitor High School in 1952. A devout Catholic, Shirley had a deep trust in God and relied on daily Mass and her daily rosary to bless her family and all those close to her. Her faith sustained her and everyone who knew her could see the joy in her heart. She loved an adventure and had many passions including her family, friends, cooking and crafting.
After graduating from High School, Shirley moved to Miami, FL, and became an airline stewardess with Eastern Airlines. Upon returning to Lafayette, Shirley went to beautician school and began cutting hair as her craft. Shirley was also an excellent seamstress, a self-taught organ player, and a fantastic figurine painter. She specialized in painting Santas, angels and bird houses.
In 1960, Shirley married the late Jerome F. “Jerry” Klinker. Together they had four children - Craig (Cheryl) Klinker of Fort Wayne, Neil Klinker of Lafayette, Lori (Curt) Johnson of West Lafayette and Lynn (Rich) Unger of Pittsboro. Shirley had nine adoring grandchildren - Lindsay, Joseph and Cassidy Klinker, Chelsea (Ted) Huff, Brooke and Paige Johnson, and Megan, Ashley and Rachel Unger. The grandchildren will always remember games of Crazy Eights, Old Maid, Aggravation, Trouble, Scrabble, and Big Bad Wolf amongst others played with grandma. Shirley was a fabulous cook and would always make morning rolls, buttermilk pancakes, caramel corn and chicken and noodles for her adoring grandchildren.
Shirley was a competitor! As an avid Purdue basketball fan, she and husband Jerry attended home games for years. She enjoyed golfing and was a spirited card player. Shirley loved family euchre parties and played competitive bridge. She made many great friends in her bridge clubs and shared many laughs and jokes with her friends.
Shirley’s husband, Jerry, was proprietor and owner of Saint Anthony Health Care for over 30 years. A humble woman of great faith, Shirley was an active participant and served in the St. Anthony’s chapel with her spiritual friend and mentor, Fr. Samuel Kalu.
Shirley is survived by sister Ann Rettig. She was preceded in death by sisters Katherine Biltz, Mary Cochran, Arlene Spitznagle, Dorothy Spitznagle, Gertrude Buckles, Marge Gick and Patricia Smith, and by brothers William, Leonard, Bernard, Francis, Merle, Earl and Daniel Spitznagle. She is also survived by many nieces and nephews that she loved like her own.
In her final years, Saint Anthony Health Care was her home. Saint Anthony was family to Shirley, and their love and support kept her spirit alive. In return Shirley provided the staff many smiles as their beloved matron. The family is forever grateful to the staff of Saint Anthony.
Memorial contributions can be made to Food Finders Food Bank or a food pantry of choice.
A walk thru visitation will be held at St. Mary Cathedral from 10:00 AM until the Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00 AM on Friday Feb. 19, Fr. Samuel Kalu, Celebrant and Fr. Anthony Rowland, Concelebrant officiating. Masks will be required and social distancing expected. The interment will follow at St. Mary Cemetery. Hahn-Groeber Funeral Home of Lafayette is honored to serve the Klinker family. Please leave memories and condolences at www.hahngroeberfuneralhome.com
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