Shirley Ann (Kivela) Gleason

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Shirley Ann (Kivela) Gleason, 81, passed peacefully into the arms of our Lord on December 13, 2018.

She was born in Calumet, on November 24, 1937, she was proud of her Yooper heritage and Finnish roots. She cherished her life on Bumbletown hill and the surrounding areas of Allouez, Ahmeek, Eagle River and Calumet.

She met the love of her life, George Gleason, at the Gitche Gumee Bible Camp in Eagle River and soon after married. They welcomed their first daughter, Carrie, and son, George, before moving west to Yreka, California, to avoid those cold UP Michigan winters.

Despite not having Facebook, her community of lifelong true friends grew as she moved around California, from Yreka to Fort Jones to Mt. Hebron to North Fork to Cedarville and finally to Bakersfield.

Shirley was a wonderful mother and friend. Her love of life was infectious and she shared her many passions for community, volunteering and conversation over a good cup of coffee or glass of wine with the world. Her door was always open and inviting. Everyone she met benefited from her gift of gab and sense of humor.

She was very artistic, creative and had an incredible knack for cooking, knitting and sewing without recipes or patterns. When life gave her lemons, she made lemon drop martinis, smoked a cigarette and danced the polka.

Devastated by the loss of her daughter, Jacquie, she turned her energy and passion to helping those less fortunate and in their hour of need by putting herself through Bakersfield Community College and becoming a nurse.

She worked at Bakersfield Community Hospital, Mercy Hospital and Optimal Home Healthcare until her health would no longer allow.

In retirement, she enjoyed gardening, traveling, an occasional side trip to a Casino, baking for friends (sacrificing a few bread machines in the process!), and enjoying the community at Highland View MHP.

In declining health, she moved to Carrington Assisted Living in Shafter, California, where she found a loving community and family of caring healthcare professionals that helped her through her final years.

She is survived by so many loved ones including her dear friend and partner in crime, Roberta Pearson; her children, Carrie (Gleason) & Pat Shreffler of Posey, California, George Gleason of Redding, California, Greta (Gleason) & Jim Light of San Mateo, California, and Wendy (Gleason) Reger of Fairbanks, Alaska; her granddaughters, Taylor Light, Lindsay Light and Riley Reger; her nieces, Tina Grove, Tonya Keffer and Kristie Kivela; her nephew, David Kivela; and sisters-in-law, Janice (Krook) Kivela and Allene (Barner) Kivela.

She is now reunited with those who journeyed before her including her beloved daughter, Jacqueline Helen Gleason; brothers, SGM John Edward Kivela Jr. and Alan David Kivela Sr.; parents, John Edward Kivela Sr. and Helen (Laity) Kivela; niece, Greta Kivela; watchdog and trusted companion, Calvin; and so many wonderful friends and extended family members.

We can only imagine the glorious reception and we take peace in knowing that one day we shall all be reunited again.

A memorial service will be held on Wednesday December 19, 2018, at 5 p.m. at Mission Family Mortuary in Bakersfield.

Graveside service and burial will take place on Friday, December 21, 2018, at 1 p.m. at Lakeview Cemetery, Macdoel, California, where she will be buried next to her daughter, Jacqueline.