Shirley A. Koepp


MARQUETTE, MI – Shirley A. Koepp, age 86, of Marquette, entered eternal life Sunday evening, December 17, 2017, at her home, in the loving, comforting care of her family and UP Home Health and Hospice.

Born October 31, 1931, in Marquette, one of thirteen children born to Adolph and Alice (Vadnais) Swenor, Shirley was a lifelong resident. Because her own family was so large, she lived with an aunt and uncle for a time, helping to take care of their children. In 1956, Shirley married Howard Koepp and together the couple made their home in Marquette. Howard was employed in plant operations at K.I. Sawyer Air Force Base, and also as a substitute mailman, while Shirley helped raise the foster children they took in, as well as raising their own family. Shirley and Howard enjoyed traveling, especially to Vegas, and always looked forward to the weekends when their family, along with aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins would get together for large family picnics on Presque Isle.

Howard preceded her in death in 1993 and Shirley centered her efforts more on family activities. She babysat for her grandchildren and transported her sisters around town, as she was the only sister of her siblings with a driver’s license. She possessed a competitive nature and played to win, whether it be at Bingo, playing cards, or having a game of Yahtzee with her daughter-in-law. Sometimes the rules were bent a little and corners cut, but, she always won! She was loving and kind, always willing to lend a hand where needed.

Even when illness intervened, Shirley remained strong and determined, always putting on the best face possible so as not to be a burden to anyone. She dearly loved her grandchildren and was always interested in their activities. Shirley was a member of St. Michael Catholic Church and a former member of the American Legion auxiliary.

Survivors include her children, Gary Koepp of Marquette, Catherine (Neal) Dollar-Bilicki of Virginia Beach, VA; and Paul (Melissa) Koepp of Marquette; her grandchildren, Nicole (Greg) Scott, Benjamin (Michelle) Koepp, Olivia Koepp, Daniel Gregorich, David (Rachael) Koepp, and Sara (Curt) Gustafson; great-grandchildren, River, Finn, Hanna, Dylan, Alexis, James, Eli, and Isaac; step-grandchildren, Tammy and Donald Shalifoe; her siblings, Betty Belanger of Beaver Grove, Joyce (Jim) Constance and Lois (Marvin) Gibson both of Marquette; sisters-in-law, Betty Swenor and Margaret Swenor both of Marquette; numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins. Shirley was preceded in death by her parents and husband, Howard; a great-grandson, Dylan; sisters, Nancy Swenor, Florence Gezella, Mary Haglund, Rosemary Walin; brothers, William “Russell”, Donald “Wayne”, Robert, Louis “Popo”, and James Swenor; brothers-in-law, Arthur “Jack” Belanger, Adolph Gezella, Oscar Haglund, Mike Walin; and sisters-in-law, Elizabeth Swenor, Marianne Swenor, and Betty Lou Swenor.

The family will receive relatives and friends at St. Michael Catholic Church on Thursday, December 21, beginning at 10 a.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 12 noon Thursday with Rev. Greg Heikkala, pastor, as celebrant. A reception will follow in the Parish Center.

The family would like to express their appreciation to UP Home Health and Hospice, sister-in-law, Betty, niece, Peggy, Lise Plise, and neighbors, Myra and Steve Hanson for the many kindnesses extended to Shirley and her family. Your concern and support added greatly to her quality of life. Thank you.

The Fassbender Funeral Home is serving the family, where condolences may be expressed online at fassbenderfuneralhome.com.