Cover photo for Shirley Mae Canther's Obituary
Shirley Mae Canther Profile Photo
1935 Shirley 2023

Shirley Mae Canther

April 19, 1935 — January 27, 2023

Shirley Mae Canther (Kelley), 87, passed away on January 27th, 2023 at her home in Cottonwood, AZ. Shirley was born April 19, 1935 in Detroit, MI, to Victor and Margaret Marie Kelley.

Tragically, Shirley lost her father in a car accident when she was seven. Having witnessed this firsthand helped drive her passion to be trained and later teach youth in First Aid and many other life skills through the Pathfinder Club program of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Shirley obtained her pilots license at a young age and met the love of her life, Gerald (Jerry) Ira Canther, in the Civil Air Patrol in Michigan. Realizing their shared passion for service and adventure, they soon married. Together, they were blessed with two sons, Dennis and David.

Shirley became a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church soon after she and Jerry were married. They served many years as Pathfinder Club directors and regional area directors. Soon after their move from Michigan to Florida, Shirley started coordinating Pathfinder and church mission trips to the Bay Islands of Honduras. She managed a large Community Service retail center in Florida for many years and participated in disaster relief efforts throughout the state.

Swimming, snorkeling, shelling, pottery, gardening, birding, crafting, Pathfinders, mission work, nurturing her family, and cultivating friends were her passions. But most of all, she loved Jesus and the beautiful plan of His salvation for her life. In a memo Shirley wrote, she stated “God has led me through many exciting adventures. Yes, it was not always fair, but it was never dull. When I ask God to use me, I ask ‘Lord, lead me to the person you want me to speak to through my life today.’” Shirley never missed an opportunity to share her love of Jesus with all those around her.

Shirley is survived by her loving sons, Dennis (Kristi) and David (Sherri), her grandchildren, Tiffany, Benjamin, Andrew and Autumn, and her seven great-grandchildren, Aleksia, Éva, Liam, Jaxson, Mason, Vincent and Adelyn.

Shirley is preceded in death by her husband, Jerry, and her sister, Patricia Jensenius.

A Celebration of Life will be held at the Cottonwood Seventh-day Adventist Church, March 11 at 3pm, 51 West Mingus Ave.

Donations are welcome to Shirley’s mission of choice, GR3 International (please mark for Bay Islands, Honduras Youth Ministries), 11450 Nellie Oaks Bend, Clermont, FL 34711 or online at [email protected]

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Shirley Mae Canther, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Saturday, March 11, 2023

Starts at 3:00 pm (Eastern time)

Cottonwood Seventh-day Adventist Church

51 West Mingus Avenue, Cottonwood, AZ 86326

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