Shirley Stolp Obituary: A Life Filled with Love, Adventure, and Compassion

In loving memory of Shirley Stolp, we commemorate the life of a remarkable woman who touched the hearts of many. Shirley’s journey began in Osaka, Japan, on December 14, 1960, where she was placed in an orphanage shortly after birth. However, fate had a different plan for her. In 1963, at the age of two, Shirley was adopted by Haidie and Shigeko Hirai, a loving Japanese-American couple from Quincy, WA, along with her brother Ken. From that point forward, Shirley embarked on an extraordinary life that left an indelible mark on those who knew her.

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A Life of Adventure and Passion

Childhood and Education

Shirley’s family relocated to Chewelah in 1969 when her father started a seed potato business. She attended Jenkins High School in Chewelah, where she developed her love for animals. Engaging in the local 4H club, Shirley acquired her first horse, a delightful Shetland pony. She also excelled in sports, with volleyball becoming her favorite, and showcased her musical talent as a member of the high school band.

Building a Family

After completing high school, Shirley moved to Spokane and worked at Cyrus O’Leary’s, where she encountered the love of her life, Michael Love. They married in 1983 and were blessed with two daughters, Jenny and Kumiko. Their journey took them from Seattle to Beaverton, Oregon, before returning to Chewelah. Although Michael and Shirley parted ways in 1998, they remained dedicated parents to their beloved daughters.

A Dedicated Career

In 1993, Shirley joined the Valley Drug Store in Chewelah, beginning a remarkable chapter of her life. With over 30 years of unwavering commitment, Shirley became the store’s longest-serving employee. Customers were greeted with her sincere kindness, and her impact was felt through the numerous heartfelt comments she received. Shirley’s compassion and dedication made her a cherished member of the community.

Embracing Life’s Joys and Challenges

A Love for Animals

Shirley’s passion for animals remained a constant throughout her life. She adored every creature she encountered, and her bond with horses was especially profound. From owning her first horse in the 4H to becoming a member and officer of the Melody Riders Saddle Club, Shirley’s equestrian spirit flourished. Each horse she had, including Cougar, Buddy, and her favorite, Bugs, held a special place in her heart.

Reconnecting with Her Roots

In 2002, Shirley’s life took an unexpected turn when Asahi TV in Japan reached out to her. Intrigued by her adoption story, they featured her as the lead story on a new show. Shirley, accompanied by her husband Douglas Stolp, traveled to Japan, where she appeared live on national television. During the show, she had a heartwarming reunion with her maternal half-sister, Yumiko. This reunion sparked a close bond that endured until Shirley’s passing.

Family, Travel, and Pinochle

For Shirley, family always came first. Her daughters, Jenny and Kumiko, were not just family but her closest friends. They shared a strong bond and communicated daily. Shirley and Douglas, her husband, built a partnership on their farm on Burnt Valley Road. Splitting responsibilities, Shirley cared for the horses while Douglas managed the cows. Their shared love for animals and their ability to support each other created a strong and enduring relationship.

Travel brought Shirley immense joy. Exploring new destinations, often accompanied by family, allowed her to create cherished memories. While Japan held a special place in her heart, she also embarked on exciting adventures, such as visiting Tenerife in the Canary Islands. Unfortunately, a planned future trip to Tenerife was never realized.

Pinochle, a beloved winter activity, brought Shirley and her group of friends together. They shared countless evenings playing cards, fostering a deep sense of camaraderie. Additionally, Shirley was a proud member of the American Legion Post 54 Auxiliary, contributing to her community in various ways.

A Final Farewell

On April 16, 2023, Shirley Stolp’s unexpected passing left a void in the hearts of those who knew her. She was preceded in death by her parents, Haidie and Shigeko Hirai, and leaves behind her loving husband, Douglas Stolp, and brother, Ken Hirai. Shirley’s memory will forever be cherished by her daughters, Jenny Love and Kumiko Love-Dempsey, along with her stepchildren, Colleen Brosey and Cordon Stolp. She is also survived by her grandson, James Ehrmantraut, and numerous cousins in the United States and Japan.

To honor Shirley’s legacy, donations can be made to the “Melody Riders Saddle Club” or “Becky’s Best Buddies.” Shirley’s passion for animals and her compassionate spirit will continue to be celebrated through these organizations.

Please visit the online memorial and sign the guestbook at Danekas Funeral Chapel & Crematory has been entrusted with the responsibility of caring for Shirley’s final arrangements.

In loving memory of Shirley Stolp, we celebrate a life that exemplified love, adventure, and compassion. May her spirit continue to inspire us all.

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