Erickson, Shirley Estelle Altemus

Shirley Estelle Altemus Erickson, of West Grove, PA, formerly of Newark, DE, passed away peacefully at home, while surrounded by her family, on Friday August 6, 2021, at the age of 80.

Shirley was born in Wilmington, Delaware on March 3, 1941, and is predeceased by her parents, Arthur B. Altemus and M. Estelle Altemus (Hall). She is survived by her husband, John L. Erickson, Jr., her son, Joshua A. Erickson (Kelly), her daughter, Kristin H. Erickson Boldaz (Joe), her sister Barbara L. Crawford (Rodney) and her five grandsons, Austin E. Boldaz, Cameron A. Boldaz, Spenser G. Erickson, Casey W. Erickson, and Ryan S. Erickson.

Shirley graduated from Henry C. Conrad HS in 1958 and from the University of Delaware in 1962. She taught kindergarten at Maple Lane Elementary and then decided to stay home to raise her children. Later she went back to work outside the home at BASCO/BEST stores and transitioned to a final career as a professional with the Chesapeake Bay Girl Scout Council.

Shirley loved her family and especially her grandsons. She had a true appreciation for nature, was an avid collector of rocks and seashells, and enjoyed traveling the country and visiting National Parks. Shirley had an immense love of music, all genres. She played the piano and sang in the church choir most of her life. She was a lifelong member of St Paul’s United Methodist Church, having been baptized in 1941 at the 10th and Jackson St. location. She also loved to dance with her husband. An avid knitter, she was known to make beautiful sweaters, mittens, hats, scarfs, shawls and even kitchen cloths. Shirley knew her way around the kitchen, she was a wonderful cook and an excellent baker. Aunt Shirley’s “Cool Cake” was a favorite among the family. As an educator, Shirley had a real passion for learning and helping others to learn. Shirley loved children and especially loved to read to children, even volunteering at her grandson’s school to read. As a University of Delaware graduate, Shirley loved to attend U of D football games, especially enjoying the band performances, and she made a point to attend all her grandsons sporting events and musical performances. Shirley loved to visit museums, Winterthur, Longwood Gardens and attend musicals and theatrical productions, especially the UD Rep Theatre. She enjoyed watching Jeopardy and was always reading a new book. Her guilty pleasure was watching GH (General Hospital). Shirley cared deeply for the Girl Scouts organization and worked to promote the advancement of young girls. She was a Girl Scout Leader for many years. Shirley also had a love of fashion.

She was a kind, loving and extremely caring woman who always had a smile and a kind word to offer.

A Celebration of Shirley’s life will be held on Saturday, August 21 at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church (1314 Foulk Rd, Wilmington, DE 19803) at 2:00 pm. Visitation will begin at 1:00 pm. Burial will be private. In lieu of flowers, donations in Shirley’s name may be made to The Nature Conservancy (Donate Now to Protect Nature | The Nature Conservancy), the World Wildlife Federation (You Can Help Protect Wildlife and Wild Places | World Wildlife Fund), Chesapeake Bay Girl Scout Council (Support | Invest in Girls | Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay ( or St. Paul’s United Methodist Church (St. Paul’s UMC Home Page (

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