Carnations 1

Shirley G. Starr

July 25, 1932 ~ July 27, 2023 (age 91) 91 Years Old


Shirley Grant Starr, 91, passed away at 2:32 a.m. on July 27, 2023 surrounded by her family. She was born on July 25, 1932, at Burnham City Hospital in Champaign, Illinois, the eldest daughter of Francis R. Grant and Lola Ehrhart Grant, both deceased.  She moved with her family to Eldorado, Arkansas, at age 5. Shirley completed grade and high school in Eldorado, Arkansas, and returned to Champaign-Urbana to attend the University of Illinois, ultimately earning a master’s degree in education. She taught first-grade in Oakwood, Illinois for over 25 years where she “liked getting the kids going.” One of her students gifted her a framed quote that summed up her passion for teaching by Forest Witcraft: “A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove ~ but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.” Learning was important throughout her life, she attended Osher Lifelong Learner programs and participated in studies at the Beckman Institute. She loved classical music and enjoyed performances and volunteered as an usher at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts in Urbana. She also enjoyed reading, bead-stringing, sewing, gardening and baking. Shirley is survived by son John Starr (Yvonne) of Urbana, daughter Ellen Starr of Princeton, Illinois, and granddaughter Dee Starr-Lewis (Joe) and great-grandchildren Joseph and Layleigh, sister Charlene Garcia of Colombia, S.A., niece Connie, and nephews Daniel and Richard.  Donations may be made in honor of Shirley Starr to: Wesley United Methodist Church and Foundation in Urbana, 1203W Green St. Urbana, IL 61801  or Friends of WILL(University of Illinois Foundation), P.O. Box 734500, Chicago, IL 60673-4500 Condolences may be made at

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