Shirlee Ryals, 87, formerly of Unionville, Missouri, passed away suddenly at Liberty Hospital in Liberty, Missouri, on Sunday, April 19, 2020.
Shirlee (Melton) Ryals was born in Unionville, Missouri, on June 26, 1932, the daughter of Paul and Mary (Clark) Melton, who preceded her in death. She was raised in Unionville and graduated from Unionville High School in 1950. Shirlee married Richard Ryals in Unionville on June 25, 1950, and he passed away on July 4, 2017. Shirlee and Richard began married life in Fort Knox, Kentucky, and Anchorage, Alaska, as Richard was in the US Army during the Korean Conflict. They returned to Unionville where they raised their family and Richard was engaged in various businesses. She was active in social clubs and a longtime member of the First Christian Church. They lived in Kansas City, Missouri, for a number of years before returning to Unionville in 2011. Shirlee had lived with her daughter Julie in Kearney since November of 2019.
Shirlee was a beautiful person in every way. She had a light that shone from her heart out to everyone she met. Her relationship with Jesus was something she treasured and intentionally pursued every day. Her love for God was the center from which her love for others radiated. Shirlee loved being married to Richard. Their love story was full of fun, passion and deep respect and love for one another. Shirlee always said, “Enjoy your moments.” and that’s what she did with Richard. She enjoyed every moment. She would sacrifice anything she had for him, for her children, for anyone that needed something. She was thoughtful and caring in a way that others found extraordinary. Shirlee was eager to laugh and smiled easily. She made you feel like the most important person in the room and the most interesting person she had ever met. She was so very proud of her family. Shirlee was generous with praise and love and compassion to all. She had a rare gift of being intuitively aware of others’ feelings and showed care and empathy to a remarkable level. She was genuinely interested in others and her sincerity was evident. Shirlee loved to have fun. She was willing to try all kinds of adventures and new experiences. She loved meeting new people and finding out about them. Shirlee had a rare gift of seeing the ordinary in an extraordinary way. She truly was a light in the darkness and will be indescribably missed by those that loved her.
Shirlee is survived by four children: Paul (Susan) Ryals of Lathrop, Missouri, Bob (Jana) Ryals of Kansas City, Missouri, Cindy (Rick) Gray of Greentop, Missouri and Julie (Steve) Kilson of Kearney, Missouri. Twelve grandchildren and twenty-five great grandchildren also survive.
In addition to her parents and husband, Shirlee was preceded in death by Debra, a daughter who died at birth, and two sisters, Mary Jo and Virginia, and a brother, Richard.
A Celebration of Life for Shirlee will take place at Playle and Collins Family Funeral Home in Unionville, MO, at 1:00 pm on Sunday, October 4, with visitation one hour prior to the service.