Shirley Rae "Shirl" Whitnack

February 11, 1935 ~ October 21, 2023 (age 88) 88 Years Old
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Shirley Whitnack Obituary

JERSEY SHORE - Shirley Rae Whitnack, aged 88, passed away peacefully with her family in Jersey Shore Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center on Saturday, October 21, 2023.

Shirley was born on February 11, 1935 in Waterbury, CT to Martha Stella (Day) Whitnack and Lloyd Alvin Whitnack.  She grew up in Williamsport and Nisbet. She was daddy’s little girl.  She attended South Williamsport High School, where she lettered in bowling and wrote the Senior Class Song which was performed on Senior Class Day.  She graduated from South Williamsport High School on June 2,1953.  Shirl faithfully attended the class reunions and maintained several lasting friendships with classmates.

Just out of High School, Shirl got a job as an operator with Bell Telephone and quickly moved up into a supervisory position.

In 1958 she married John Edward Halloran and they moved to Norristown. They subsequently moved to Emmaus, and eventually bought homes in Bethlehem and then Reading. Along the way they had five children, Eric Joseph, Erin Joan, Christopher John, Carol Ann and Andrea Jean.  Shirl loved to bring her family to the library, to parks for picnics and hikes, and, best of all, to the shore.  Accompanied by her sister Bonnie’s kids, Aunt Alice’s kids and Grandma Mart (Meme), the Halloran children and their children have many happy memories of spending summer days with ‘Nana’ at the beaches near Barnegat Light, NJ.

Family and roots were very important to Shirl.  With her sister and best friend, Bonnie Eisley, she assumed responsibility for organizing and hosting the Day-Hopple Reunion at Rauchtown State Park, which she proudly proclaimed was the longest continuously running family reunion in Pennsylvania and beyond.

Christmas was a special time of year for the Halloran Family and the couple would set up the Christmas tree and wrap presents but not until after every child went to bed. At that point they worked well into the wee hours of the morning to preserve the magical mystery of Santa Claus for the children.

Shirl loved to read and loved to write.  For many years she had a cooking column in the Allentown paper of record - the Morning Call Chronicle. Her weekly Cooking with Econo-Me column had many loyal followers and several of those subscribed to her self-published (hand-typed with carbon paper) cookbook and cookie sheets.  She was also a very successful travel writer, posting articles about local attractions in the Lehigh Valley and Berks County for travel magazines as well as the Reading Eagle newspaper.

Shirl took a job with the WEEU Radio Station in 1976 in Reading PA. There she became a radio announcer and produced the very popular ‘Feedback Show’ with Jack Holcomb who became a lifetime friend.  She always got great enjoyment feeding the birds and squirrels in her backyard but became even more fascinated with them while working with Jack ‘The Birdman’, on the weekly Bird Talk radio program.  In addition to announcing and producing programs for the radio station, she worked in sales for the radio for many years. She was so competitive on the station’s volleyball team that she once broke her wrist diving to retrieve a spiked ball. 

Shirl loved photography, had photos published with some of her articles and, in 1979, won first place in Nature Slides in the Berks Camera Club. She always enjoyed following team sports on TV and had her favorite players and coaches.  Other hobbies she enjoyed were hiking, gardening, decoupage, and collecting.  She turned her love of collecting books and vintage clothing and jewelry into a small business endeavor called ‘Serendipity’.

In the 1990’s Shirl got the urge to return to Lycoming County to “live near the mountains and rivers of her youth.”  Shirl put her exceptional phone skills to work once again becoming a valued member of the call center team at Woolrich.  She enjoyed ten years of rural living in a beautiful Craftsman home in Salladasburg on Larry’s Creek before moving to Jersey Shore. In 2020, Shirl fell and broke her hip and her rehab along with subsequent falls and breaks led to permanent and final residence at Jersey Shore Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.  She had a special relationship with some of the staff at the Center.  The family thanks the staff at JSSN Rehabilitation Center for their compassionate care of her over the past three years.

Shirl was preceded in death by her mother, Martha Whitnack; father, Lloyd Whitnack; ex-husband, John Halloran; brother, Larry Whitnack; and daughter, Erin Halloran.  Shirl is survived by her sister, Bonnie Eisley (and husband Bill); brother, Lloyd Whitnack (and wife, Barbara); children, Eric (Rick) Halloran (and wife, Carolyn); Christopher Halloran (and wife, Maryann); Carol Halloran and Andrea Halloran (and husband, Paul Cummings); grandchildren, Kelly Halloran, Eric (Ricky) Halloran, Amy Koller, Brenda Hernandez, Meghan Egolf, Ryan Halloran, Christopher Halloran, Kevin Halloran and Troy Rowan along with many nieces and nephews and six great-grandchildren.

In accordance with Shirley’s wishes there will be no calling hours nor service.

There will be a celebration of life for family members in the future. In lieu of flowers and cards, the family urges well-wishers to donate to Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, or The Salvation Army.

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