GROWING CONCERNS – Sitkans Andrea Fraga and Kaleb Aldred of Middle Island Gardens introduce themselves to an audience of around 100 this afternoon during the Southeast Alaska Farmers Summit in Sweetland Hall on the SJ campus. The three-day conference, organized by Southeast Alaska Watershed Coalition, Sustainable Southeast Partnership, runs through Sunday at several Sitka venues. Some of Saturday's topics include farming in Fairbanks, pest control and cultivating gourmet mushrooms. Vendor tables will be set up on Saturday and Sunday at Harrigan Centennial Hall. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Shirley Dianne (Stokes) Demmert

Shirley Dianne (Stokes) Demmert died of a long illness on Sept. 1, 2017, at her home in Kingston, Wash. She was 73.


Shirley Demmert

Shirley was born in Bremerton, Wash., Sept. 13, 1943, to Lyle E. Stokes and Ellenor Isabelle (Lockrem) Stokes. She was preceded in death by her parents, brothers Ronnie and Robert Stokes, sister Joan (Stokes) Nygren, and granddaughter Mandy Ellen Demmert.

Shirley is survived by her husband of 53 years LeRoy C. Demmert, sons Wade C. Demmert and Casey L. Demmert; daughter Jill D. (Demmert) Miller and son-in-law Ryan Miller; daughters-in-law JoAnn (Swain) Demmert and Emily (Wedel) Demmert; brother Richard G. Stokes and wife Peggy; sister Jean A. (Stokes) Reimer and Jean’s husband Tom; brother-in-law Jim Nygren; and grandchildren Christina, Kwyn, Camille, Hunter, Asa, Silas and Trey.

Shirley lived in Albany, Oregon, graduated from Albany Union High School in 1961, went on to Seattle Pacific College and graduated in 1965 with a bachelor of arts degree in elementary education and English.

She began teaching in the Issaquah, Wash., School District and later the Mercer Island, Wash., School District.

When their first child Wade was born Shirley began to stay home to care for and raise her children. Daughter Jill was born in 1968 and son Casey born in 1972 in Portland, Ore.

The family moved to Sitka in August 1973, where Lee was an educator in the public schools and Sheldon Jackson College. When their youngest child began school, Shirley began teaching in the Adult Basic Education and ESL program at the University of Alaska campus in Sitka.

In 1987, she and two partners bought a bible book and gift store.  They named their store the Shepherd’s Heart.  Shirley eventually bought out the two partners and became sole owner/operator of the business. She loved operating the store, helping the customers, decorating the store routinely to attract customers and make it a successful small business.

Shirley’s devotion was to her family, friends, and her Christian faith, which she lived out daily.  She was an active member of the Sitka Church of the Nazarene and Sitka Christian Center Church, and volunteered at the Sitka Pregnancy Resource Center until they moved to Kingston in 1997.

Shirley with her family and friends thoroughly enjoyed the Sitka lifestyle of boating, camping, fishing and all the outdoors had to offer.

A memorial service will be held at 1:30 p.m. Saturday 23, at the Bayside Community Church in Kingston, Wash., with a reception following.


In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be sent to Pregnancy Resources Center in Bremerton, Wash. 

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