Shirley Ann Parsley passed away at home in Hendersonville, North Carolina on February 7, 2020. She was born on December 4, 1942 in Galveston, Texas to Robert and Marion “Honey” Michel. At a young age, she moved to New Orleans with her mother and three brothers Robert, Richard, and Ronald.
Shirley lived most of her adult life in New Orleans where she first married and raised two sons, William Sanderson and Michael Sanderson. Through her passion for bicycling, she met Ronald Parsley. They married in 1986 and Shirley gained two step-sons, Rodney Parsley and Andrew Parsley.
Shirley and Ron created a beautiful home together where they welcomed their four sons; three daughters-in-law Luciene Parsley, Ashley Parsley, and Lynn Thomas; and five grandchildren Haley, Maddie, Sammy, Ella, and Sophia. Following retirement, Shirley and Ron moved to Hendersonville in 2013.
Shirley was known to family and friends as an incredibly kind, funny, and adventurous person. She was a devoted wife, mother, and grandmother, and loved traveling and riding her bike with family. Shirley delighted in undertaking new house projects, cooking delicious food, opening her home to old and new friends, and caring for stray animals and pets. She found fun and humor in most everything she did.
Shirley was an accomplished cross-country bicyclist. After joining the Crescent City Bike Club, where she met Ron, she logged thousands of miles each year and rode in nearly all fifty states. With her dear friend Estelle Coffman, Shirley twice round her bike the length of the United States: once from New Orleans to Canada, following the route of the Underground Railway, and once from Florida to Maine. For completing her first cross-country ride at the age of 65, Shirley received in 2008 a Peoples Health Champion award.
After moving to Hendersonville, Shirley took up hiking and pet therapy with her lovable golden doodle Sally. She enjoyed discovering new trails in the Blue Ridge Mountains and sharing Sally’s good cheer with nursing home residents and children learning to read.
Shirley is survived by her beloved husband, sons, daughters-in-law, and grandchildren. She is also survived by her brothers Richard and Ronald, sisters-in-law Linda Michel and Sandi Michel. Shirley is predeceased by her father, mother, brother Robert, and sister-in-law Gail Michel.
The family plans to hold a memorial service in New Orleans in May. In lieu of flowers, please send any donations in memory of Shirley to the Alliance of Therapy Dogs.