Shirley Carol Domer

Shirley Carol Domer returned to nonexistence on January 30, 2021, having avoided living in a nursing home.

Shirley was born on September 5, 1935 at home in Odessa. Missouri. Thought to be stillborn, she was laid aside. She owed her life not only to her parents, Cleo and Leslie Mueller, but also to her Aunt Vena, who noticed the baby’s slight movement and pounded breath into its body.

From this rocky beginning, Shirley proceeded through life with curiosity, exploration, and finally, disappointment in human’s failure to protect the planet for future generations. She became an avid reader at four and kept reading until she died saying, “It’s time to close the book.” She also made various kinds of art, sewed, gardened, and baked.

Shirley graduated from William Jewell College and later earned the Ph.D. from the University of Kansas, where she was the founding director of KU Info and the university’s first director of Affirmative Action. In 2018 the Emily Taylor Center at KU gave Shirley its Pioneer Woman award.

She regretted leaving her husband Dennis Domer, after 45 years together. She also left three children, James “Oz” Wille (Marianne), Nancy Reinking (Todd), and Carol Masterson (Bill Simpson); six grandchildren, Grant Wille (Blair), Logan Wille, Zachary Reinking, Cleo Reinking, Pippi Simpson, and Zander Simpson; a great grandson, Miles Wille; and her brother, Holmes Osborne (Candace.)

She was fortunate to realize her dream of living in the country at the end of a road with a 180º view of the woods. She hoped to be reincarnated as a crow.

There will be a private burial at Oak Hill Cemetery in Lawrence, and eventually a memorial service at Pioneer Cemetery for family and friends.

14 Condolences

  1. John Charlton on January 31, 2021 at 11:28 am

    Condolences Dennis, stay strong.

  2. Janelle Ballew on January 31, 2021 at 4:36 pm

    Thinking of you & sad to hear of your loss.

  3. Nurse Jessica on January 31, 2021 at 8:46 pm

    Dennis- you were a great caregiver to Shirley. You could certainly tell how much she was loved and will be missed. Cherish and hold on to the memories you shared.

  4. Rochelle Tramp and Todd Bradford on February 1, 2021 at 2:21 pm


    So sorry to hear about Shirley. She was a special lady who brightened the room when she walked in. Loved her smile and sweet personality. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

  5. Dennis Dailey on February 3, 2021 at 10:58 am

    Dennis: So sorry to hear of your loss. Shirley was blessed to have you as her loving caregiver. You”lll be in my thoughts as the week unfolds.

  6. Cille King on February 3, 2021 at 11:26 am

    Professor Domer, I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. Shirley sounds like a wonderful person.

  7. Kerry Altenbernd on February 3, 2021 at 1:54 pm

    Dennis, I’m so sorry for your loss. Having lost my own wife 17 years ago, I know what you’re going through. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you.

  8. Ron Swall on February 4, 2021 at 7:18 am

    Dennis I can see Shirley sitting on the patio taking in the view of the woods; I hope she got the wings she wanted. My thoughts are with you and your family.

  9. Pamela Cullerton on February 4, 2021 at 7:41 am

    Dennis, my sympathy goes out to you and your family. You are in my thoughts.

  10. Pamela Norris on February 6, 2021 at 10:48 am

    Dear Denny, Sending my love and prayers from Colorado. Take care.

  11. John M. Solbach on February 8, 2021 at 12:32 pm

    Dennis, Patsy and I offer our condolences.

  12. Jayni Carey on February 8, 2021 at 1:09 pm

    Dennis, Nancy, Carol, and Oz, I am so sorry for your loss. Shirley was a bright spirit, always upbeat, creative, and full of joy. She and I had many great conversations over the years and I will miss her. My heart goes out to you all.

  13. Mary Lynn Stuart on February 14, 2021 at 8:07 am

    There are so many special memories having lived next to you and Shirley for forty-five years. I recently told Shirley that I will always remember our walking on the beach of Dauphin Island off the coast of Alabama and her facial expression of utter bliss.
    Another vision: she and I going for mulch in our family “banger” truck. Four speed on the floor-windows down. Shirley with her feet on the dash and a bag of crunchy Cheetos between her knees. Whew-did we have some fun.
    There’s a hole in the “hood”.

  14. Kyle E. Ward on February 16, 2021 at 11:56 pm

    Dennis, Barbara and I feel badly for you and your family. We are very sorry. You were such a good and capable caregiver to Shirley for a very long time. When visiting your home, I noticed how carefully and skillfully you helped her sit or stand. Gentleness must be built into your being. You really developed a skill set that most of us men, will never have but wish we did when that time comes for us to need it. Do well and take care of all the milkweeds she cared about so greatly. Those butterflies will miss her too. Take good care. Kyle.

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