Patsy Lee (Clemens) Shira was born on June 3, 1938, to Ted and Alberta Clemens in Spokane, Washington. She lived with her parents, younger brother Ted, and younger sister Lynn on a ranch outside of Chewelah, Washington for her entire childhood. The ranch was home to a very diverse extended family who she loved dearly and always felt safe with. Her fondest memories were of the rich heritage she was surrounded by during her younger years and is the reason she loved her current family so fiercely and why she so easily loved and accepted all people, despite their backgrounds.
She was a tomboy, preferring to play sports with her brother and his friends rather than spend time with “silly” girls. She was very athletic. In high school she was a pitcher on her softball team and she ran track. She also loved to play baseball with the boys.
In 1954 she married George Marshall and moved to Florida where she had her oldest son Rick in May of 1955. She didn’t have it easy during that time, and some of the most rough and unlikely people were the ones who showed her the most kindness, which reinforced her love and acceptance of all people. Things didn’t improve for her, so she took her baby and returned home to her parents in Spokane, Washington.
This is when she finally found the church she had been seeking ever since she was 12 and had heard the story from her cousin about a book and a boy who had prayed and seen God. After work one day, her father went and found a Mormon church and walked in and said “my family wants to join your church, what do I need to do.” The missionaries showed up the next day and shortly after she was baptized along with her dad, her mom and her sister. Her dad was electrocuted 1 year later changing a yard light at a construction site. Several years after that, her younger brother was crushed and killed by heavy equipment. Patsy’s new knowledge of the Gospel and knowing that families can be together forever are what got her through this difficult time.
In 1956 she met Bryan Eugene Shira who was attending mechanic school in Spokane. They were married in Coeur d’ Alene Idaho in 1957. They had their first child, William Eugene Shira in 1958. They moved from Spokane to Grangeville in 1959. Tami Lyn (Shira) Fehlman was born in 1960 and Shari Jo (Shira) Laufenberg followed in 1963. Patsy missed her years on the ranch and wanted her kids to be raised out of town like she was, so she convinced Gene to buy a ranch just outside of Clearwater, Idaho in 1965. She was a good horsewoman and enjoyed riding in the wilderness surrounding their ranch. She loved chickens and always had a bunch of them for meat and eggs. She also loved having large flower and vegetable gardens to keep her busy. Her favorite flowers were roses and she grew lots of different kinds, always buying new rose bushes every year. Her flower gardens were huge and always well kept and beautiful.
Her love of flowers convinced her she needed to own a flower shop. So, in 1985 she decided to pursue her dream and went to Arizona and trained under a famous florist. She was a natural and ended up being the top student of his class. Then in 1986, she and her sister in law Janet Shira purchased the Grangeville Flower Shoppe. Through this business she trained her daughter and many of her granddaughters to love and arrange flowers. The business also allowed her to touch the lives of so many in the community. It was never about the money for her. It was always about the people. She loved, helped and accepted everyone without judgment.
In August, of 1986, soon after opening the flower shop, she lost her husband in a tragic accident. She felt God had placed the flower shop in her life at that time so that she would be taken care of.
In 1999, Patsy served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in London, England. She loved the people of England and loved teaching them about the “boy who talked to God.” The people fell in love with her as well, given her easy laugh and her gift to love others.
For those who think she might have been too perfect, she did have one flaw. Back in her days on the ranch, when she had cows and kids she became quite the curser. One time while working with some cows who didn’t want to go where she wanted them to, Patsy was cursing a blue streak. Her oldest son Rick asked her why she was cussing, and shouldn’t she stop? Patsy looked at him and said, “Any woman who has to raise a bunch of damn kids and work with a bunch of damn cows has a right to cuss!” Then realizing what she had said she burst out laughing and said, “Don’t you dare tell the branch president I said that.” Another incident occurred while she and Bill were working together and Bill caused their project to be ruined, of which caused her to curse. In all innocence Bill looked at his mom and said, “Mom you shouldn’t cuss.” Of course, Patsy chewed him out to which he replied, “But mom you asked me to help you stop cussing.” Pointing her finger at Bill she said, “Not when you’re the reason I’m cussing!” She had a wonderful sense of humor that never left her, even in her last days.
No matter how bad, or how good life was for Patsy, she always went to church. Her faith never waivered. She taught Gospel principles to those around her every single day through her example. She loved her family. She adored her grandchildren and great grandchildren and she LOVED babies. No one in her family could ever doubt her love for her Savior. No one could ever doubt the deep love and devotion she held for her family.
The last words she spoke in this life were to her son Bill. She said, “I love everyone so much.” Six days later, on August 16th 2023, in the company of her oldest granddaughter, Amy, Patsy left this life peacefully and entered into her eternal rest to rejoin her parents, younger brother and sister, her daughter, two grandchildren, her husband, and many other family members who had gone on before her.