WEST TREMONT—Shirley Schmitke crossed over into the spirit realm on March 5, 2015, peacefully and quietly at a home, after a long and full life. She died enveloped in love and memories of many friends and family members, both local and distant.
Shirley was born April 27, 1936, in Detroit, Mich., the daughter of Thomas Rankine and Florence Burau. She graduated from Southeastern High School in Detroit. She was a devoted mother, homemaker and former wife to Early Schmitke, presently of Charlotte, N.C., for many years.
Shirley shared her knowledge and love of flowers, gardens, cats and butterflies with everyone whose path she crossed. She was a lifelong Lutheran and recent member of St. Andrews in Ellsworth.
She was predeceased by her younger brother, Tommy, and her parents.
She is survived by her beloved stepmother, Rosella Rankine, of Fraser, Mich., and special cousin, Richard Harding, of Potomac Falls, Va. She is also survived by her three children, Kevin Schmitke and his husband, Richard Gulite, of Woodbine, N.J.; Kathy VanGorder and her husband, Doug, of West Tremont; Keith Schmitke and his wife, Karey, of Gilbert, Ariz. She also leaves behind six devoted grandchildren, four step-grandchildren, two special cats and many friends who were touched by her kindness and her deep devotion to the plant and animal kingdoms.
Her life will be honored and celebrated in the coming seasons by a spring kite-fly, a summer butterfly release, and/ or a fall bulb-planting party, all in planning stages.
Contributions and donations in her memory would be appreciated to The Hancock SPCA, 14 Bar Harbor Rd., Trenton, ME 04605; The Ark, PO Box 276, Cherryfield, ME 04622; The Nature Conservancy of Maine, 14 Main St., Suite 104, Brunswick, ME 04011; or The Trees in Memory Program of the Arbor Day Foundation.