Shirley Mae Whitney, 94, passed away on May 14, 2023 in St. George, UT. Shirley was born on July 13, 1928 in Long Beach, CA. She was adopted at a young age and raised by her adoptive parents, James Smith McClure and Beulah Hesket, they later divorced and she lived with her adoptive mother.
At fifteen, Shirley left California and moved in with her adoptive father, James, in Las Vegas, NV. She got a job at Johnson’s Apparel on Fremont Street and worked there for several years. She was asked to represent the store on their float for the 1946 Helldorado Rodeo Days in the parade, she was named the Beauty Queen of the Rodeo event. During this time, she was being chased by a young man named George Whitney, and they were married in Las Vegas, NV on August 16, 1947. After she married, Shirley went to work at Trader Bills as a clerk, where she met and befriended several movie stars, such as Rex Bill.
She and George worked hard in their marriage, and started their family, supporting each other with starting business and building apartments. They opened Bongberg-Whitney Electric together, and in her later years she became a realtor. They had many adventures together, traveling, hunting, fishing, camping and a love of Lake Mead and eventually water ski racing as a family. After their children married and had families, they loved Brianhead and spent many holidays there when George suffered a stroke. Shirley was his caretaker until they moved to Overton in 1999 to be closer to be closer to their family, Shirley was his caretaker until his passing on June 19, 2000. Shirley then met Tom Milner, and they became partners until his passing in 2018. Shirley was a loving person, beautiful in every way. She was the sweetest grandma, often reaching out to her grandchildren, and taught them to be fearless.
Shirley is survived by her children, Tracey Thornton and George “Mac” (Deanna) Whitney; her grandchildren, Brandon (Jen) Thornton, Aaron (Stephanie) Thornton, Ashley (Gabe Torres) Thornton, Nichole Whitney, and Colton Whitney; and great-grandchildren, Bailey, Tessa, Austin, Sawyer, and Davin “Bubba”. She is preceded in death by her husband, George B. Whitney; Tom Milner; her son-in-law, Cliff Thornton; and her granddaughter, Breanna Whitney.
A viewing will be held on Saturday, May 20, 2023 2-3:00 p.m. at the Moapa Valley Mortuary, with the Funeral service to start at 3:00 p.m. Graveside services will follow at the Logandale Cemetery. The family invites you to leave a message or memory in their Guest Book at www.moapavalleymortuary.com.
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