Photography

Shirley Ann (Elam) Navratil

February 22, 1933 ~ February 1, 2024 (age 90) 90 Years Old

Shirley Navratil Obituary

Born on February 22, 1933 to Errol and Veda (Denison) Elam in Pendleton Oregon.
The Elam’s lived on South Main a few houses below Isaac. The Folsom’s lived a couple houses down
from that, and they had a child, Kathleen, the same age as Shirley. The two became lifelong friends.
Kathleen’s family owned Folsom’s Funeral Home. In those days, the hearse was horse drawn and Shirley
spoke many times about playing in the carriage house and the hearse at the funeral home. The girls both
loved horses and frequently rode the horses. The Folsom’s had a cabin where Shirley and Kathleen spent
many an ideal summer of antics, adventures and riding horses.
Shirley went to Pendleton High School and was part of the Lantern staff and pep club, graduating in
1951. She attended BYU in 1952 and 1953.
Shirley’s aunt Bessie and uncle Howard Hanson owned a wheat ranch near Choteau MT where she
would go to visit in the summer and hang out with her cousins. The Hansons had a son named Charles
who was very close in age and he and Shirley, along with other friends and family did a lot of exploring
on the ranch. In later years’ trips to the ranch, Shirley helped with harvest including driving the wheat
truck.
It was at the ranch she met Muryl Navratil who was working as a hired hand. Her cousin Charles was
instrumental in bringing about the whirlwind romance that resulted in Shirley and Muryl eloping at the
end of the summer. They were married on September 15 th , 1953 in Coeur d” Alene Idaho. The courtship
was short, but the marriage lasted over 66 years until Muryl’s, death in 2020.
The newlyweds went back to Chouteau and a plan was made that they would both go to school. They
drove to BYU, but when they arrived, they found out it was too late to for Muryl to enroll. Money was
short, so they came back to Pendleton and settled in Pilot Rock where Muryl took a job at the newly
opened Oregon Fiber Mill (later US Gypsum) in Pilot Rock.
Less than a year later, daughter Denise was born, followed by April, Mike, Morgan and Mark.
As if raising 5 children wasn’t enough, Shirley always gave the gift of service to others. She was very
active in the LDS church and over the years served the children in Primary and the women in Relief
Society. She and Muryl served on a mission and worked at the Temple in Kennewick WA every week for
many years. In the mid 80s, after the kids were mostly grown, she went back to school and became a
Registered Nurse. She found her calling at The Oregon State Hospital Cottages in Pendleton, taking care
of the residents until she retired.
Shirley was an adventurous cook. The family went to the Seattle Worlds Fair in 1962 and she came back
and experimented with several foods she saw or ate there, including Sushi, Stir Fry and other
international cuisine that were unheard of at the time. She bought a “few” cookbooks, and the family
was exposed to, and sometimes endured, her culinary experiments.

Shirley liked to sew. It is unknown if it started out of necessity or pleasure, but sew she did. Her mother
frequently made quilts and Shirley did too. The front room was frequently blocked by quilts set up on
quilting frames. The quilts were given to family members, church members and friends. No babies were
added to the family without a quilt made for them. Shirley often used the phrase, “Out of one, comes
many.” If she saw a doll or toy made from fabric, she would buy one, and she and friend Connie Wilson
would reverse engineer it and make them for kids, grand kids and other family members. A niece
remembered her favorite doll went missing when she was in town for a visit one summer. When it
reappeared, the doll had an all new wardrobe made for it.
Shirley loved books and collected many over the years. When Muryl remodeled the house in the 60s, he
made built-in bookcases to corral the books, but over the years the books outgrew them. If you had
been to the house, you saw the ever-growing mountain of books that grew next to her favorite chair.
She usually knew what books were in the literary mountain, but it was subject to bookalanches during
retrieval. She had a particular fondness for pop up books and every grandchild was given several.
After retirement, Shirley and Muryl went on travel adventures including Scotland, and many trips to visit
grandchildren and other family members scattered around the country. In her 80s, her body began to
wear out, and had to have a knee replaced and later fell and broke her hip. She was always adamant
that she wanted to live in her own home until she died, so everyone did what they could to enable her
to do just that. Finally, though, her health declined to the point she went to assisted care for her last few
months. The staff there treated her well and she was able to reconnect with some friends from her past
who also lived there. She was never the same after Muryl passed away and often spoke of how much
she missed him. We believe that on February 1, 2024, Muryl swept her off her feet in the afterlife like he
did in Montana all those years ago.
Services will be Saturday February 17 th at 9am, viewing at 8am, at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-
Day Saints in Pendleton Oregon.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Pendleton Friends of the library.

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Services

Visitation
Saturday
February 17, 2024

8:00 AM to 8:50 PM
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
609 NW 12th Street
Pendleton, Oregon 97801

Funeral Service
Saturday
February 17, 2024

9:00 AM
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
609 NW 12th Street
Pendleton, Oregon 97801

Donations

Pendleton Friends of the Library
500 SW Dorion Ave., Pendleton OR 97801

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