Shirley Mae Bullock

Shirley Mae Bullock, age 86, passed away on July 8, 2020, in Lawrence, Kansas.

She was born on December 30, 1933, to Clarence Raymond and Harriet Josephine (Whitney) Mulch in Munden, Kansas. After graduating high school in Belleville, Kansas, she lived and worked in Colorado and California before moving to Topeka, Kansas. There, she worked at Bell Telephone and met the love of her life, Clifton “Clif” Gale Bullock, who was home on leave from the Navy visiting his brother who owned a business adjacent to Bell.

In 1955, Shirley and Clif married in Nevada. The couple soon moved to Topeka and started their family. They moved to Lawrence in 1960, where they raised their children as diehard Kansas Jayhawks fans. Shirley worked for Kansas Public Gas Company for 30 years, and its annual retirees’ luncheons were a highlight for her after she retired.

Shirley was soft-spoken and big-hearted, and she showed her love through acts of service. Her hobbies included hand sewing, and she quilted baby blankets by hand for each of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She made legendary fried chicken dinners for family gatherings and always had sweet treats to offer visitors. For each special occasion and family member’s birthday, Shirley unfailingly sent a card with a kind note voicing her pride and affection.

After Clif passed away in 2007, Shirley missed him greatly and frequently said, “It’s just not right to not ‘go’ together!” But she made the best of her time without him and became active in her neighborhood, enjoying weekly lunches with her friends. She joked that as the youngest, she was the “designated driver,” so each Saturday at noon her trunk was filled with canes and walkers, and her car was filled with laughter as they drove to nearby restaurants. She served as treasurer of the neighborhood board and participated in numerous potluck dinners. When she could no longer attend the dinners, she appreciated the neighbors bringing her plates of delicious food. Shirley also was a proud member of First Presbyterian Church of Lawrence.

During the latter years of her life, Shirley bravely battled cancer. Although she was in a great deal of pain in her final days, she maintained her kind, peaceful disposition.

Shirley is preceded in death by her parents and her sister, Pat Carbonneau. She is survived by her two brothers, Dean Mulch of Clarkston, Washington; and Jim Mulch of Independence, Missouri; three children, Debbie Shmalberg and husband Scott of Lawrence; Janel Torres and husband Brian of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma; and Scot Bullock and wife Becky of Leawood, Kansas; eight grandchildren, Matt Torres, Thomas Shmalberg, Bryce Torres, Jamie (Shmalberg) Dennis, Maegan (Torres) Harrist, Clare Bullock, Colby Bullock, and Carly Bullock; and five great-grandchildren, Tucker and Elijah Torres, Maxwell Torres, Levi Shmalberg, and Birdie Mae Harrist.

A private memorial service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Shirley’s name to Elara Caring Hospice or Keep Living at Home in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary, 120 W. 13th St., Lawrence, KS, 66044.

6 Condolences

  1. Esther Miller on July 20, 2020 at 4:43 pm

    I worked with Shirley and also lived in the same neighborhood. She will be missed by all who knew her. She handle her terrible disease with courage and dignity.
    God bless the family.

  2. Linda Kiernan on July 21, 2020 at 8:01 am

    I’m so sorry for the loss of your mom Deb. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this time.

  3. Mary Whitaker Davidson on July 21, 2020 at 8:50 am

    Debbie and Scott, I am so sorry about your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  4. Rick tedrow on July 22, 2020 at 9:06 pm

    Rick Tedrow : Deb. There is no words for your loss. My prayers are with you and your family.

  5. Jim and Terry Clark and Jeff. on July 23, 2020 at 11:20 am

    Debbie and Janel,
    We remember your gentle parents from the early 1970’s in Lawrence, when you were occasional babysitters of our son Jeffrey. He loved spending time with you all.

    The final farewell to parents is so painful. Our thoughts are with you all.

  6. Mark and Kim Arndt on July 23, 2020 at 11:32 am

    Debbie, we’re so sorry to hear about your mom! Thinking of you and your family! Please know we’re keeping you in our prayers!

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