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D: 2018-12-14
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B: 1927-03-17
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26090 Pine Street
Calumet, MI 49913
Phone: (906) 337-4600
Fax: (906) 337-4699

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Obituary for Shirley Yates

Shirley Ann Yates was born on April 15th, 1936 in Laurium, Michigan to Wayne and Mabel Wiitanen. She graduated from Alma High School in 1954 and attended Michigan State University.
In the late 1950s, Shirley worked as a general assignment reporter for the South Bend Tribune, the only female reporter at that time. While at the Tribune, she interviewed such famous people as Perry Como, Pat Nixon, and Ann Landers. She also covered the arrival of Queen Elizabeth in Chicago. While working at the South Bend Tribune, she was introduced to Jim Yates through a mutual friend. They were married December 31, 1961 in South Bend. Jim and Shirley chose to raise their family in Glen Ellyn, Illinois.
Shirley spent two years as the manager of the Glen Ellyn Speedskating Team and became increasing more active in the Amateur Speedskating Union (ASU). She served as the executive secretary and treasurer of the ASU from 1984 to 2000. Her involvement progressed and she served as Chief Judge of numerous State, National, and North American Championships. Twice Shirley competed in the Master Womans’ Class Illinois State Championship on Lake Ellyn. Shirley worked as a speedskating judge as two Special Olympics, one in Toronto and one in Alaska. Shirley was instrumental in establishing the Olympic Training Center in Marquette, Michigan which opened in 1985. In 2002, she had the opportunity to work in the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah as a timer for short track speedskating. Shirley facilitated the creation of the National Speedskating Museum and Hall of Fame, located in the Pettit National Ice Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. On May 21, 2000, Shirley was inducted into the National Speedskating Hall of Fame as a contributor to the sport.
While living in Illinois, Shirley was an early member of the Village Theatre Guild of Glen Ellyn. She started in makeup and eventually produced approximately 16 plays. In 2000, Jim and Shirley retired to Michigan. Summers were spent in their cottage on Lake Superior in Hermit’s Cove, Michigan. There Shirley was deeply involved with in the Gay, Michigan Ladies Auxiliary raising funds for the volunteer fire department. She was also a member of the Keweenaw County Historical Society. In the winter, the Yates traveled “south” to their condo in on Lake Michigan in Stevensville, Michigan where she worked at the Krasl Art Center, was a member of the Blossom Land Gem and Mineral Society and was a supporter for the Box Factory for the Arts.
Shirley is survived by her husband, Jim; sons Michael and Jonathan; daughters-in-law Beth and Carin; grandchildren Kiefer, Keegan, Coble, Ellery Ann; and sisters Kathleen Werle and Andrea Van Wyck. She also survived by many extended Finnish relatives and close friends. Her love and enthusiasm for life will be missed by all.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Shirley’s honor to:
Amateur Speedskating Union Foundation
c/o Elayne Riley, Treasurer
2877 Bailey Road
Sun Prairie, WI 53590

Funeral services will be held on Friday May 7, 2010 at 11:00 AM in the Erickson Crowley Funeral Home in Calumet with the Rev. Bob White to officiate.

Friends may call at the Erickson Crowley Funeral Home on Thursday from 5-8 PM

Burial will be in the Lake View Cemetery.

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