Shirley Joann James Gassoway


November 6, 1933 — September 29, 2020

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Shirley Joann James Gassoway was born Nov. 6, 1933 to Ronald E James and Ruby Taylor of Miller County, Missouri. She grew up in the Bagnel Dam area of the Lake of the Ozarks and graduated from Eldon High School. Shirley was part of a family that included her five sisters, Irene, Maxine, Linda, Sharon and Karon, who jokingly over the years called themselves and their children the “James’ Gang”. Shirley currently lived in Meadowlakes, Texas. She is survived by her son, Michael Steenbergen of Meadowlakes; her granddaughter, Michelle Teeters of Kansas City, Kansas; her great granddaughters Whitney Sutton and her son Giovanni, and Miriah Florence and her daughter Julia and son, Dallas of Leawood, Kansas; and her sisters Irene Brown of California, Sharon Vaughan of Missouri, and Karon Booth of North Carolina. She is also survived by a large group of loving nieces and nephews as all the James girls had children.

A kind and generous soul, Shirley was always the first to offer help to family and friends over the years from lending cash to providing a place to stay. She was a selfmade woman who survived the early tragic deaths of children, husbands, family and friends. She broke the glass ceiling in the produce buying industry in North America by becoming the first female produce buyer for International Topco-Safeway brand. Her earlier jobs in retail sales and banking had given her the professional background for this record breaking employment advance. Shirley used her income to invest in real estate and business franchises. She made significant profit off of homes she purchased in Little Rock Arkansas, San Antonio, Texas and Austin, Texas. She also invested in the Spring Crest Drapery, Fantastic Sams, and Renditions of Texas business franchises.

Partnering with her son, Michael Steenbergen, the businesses were a success and offered Shirley and Mike a comfortable life. They also invested in their own family businesses of Shears Plus Hair Salons of Central Texas, Austin Shade and Blind Company, Affordable Treasures of Cedar Park, Texas, Web-a-dex Internet Services of San Antonio and CJ’s Gifts and T-shirts of Marble Falls.

Shirley was married to and preceded in death by Samuel L Hay, Roger R Blevins, Thomas Alford and Carl H. Gassoway. She died a widow but was survived by her first husband Harold Steenbrgen who was at her side in prayer by telephone as she passed. Also present at her bedside were her son and granddaughter, Michael Steenbergen and Michelle Teeters.

Shirley loved her family, loved to cook and loved the holidays. Her hobbies of recipe collecting, decoupage, oil painting and other crafts filled her life and she loved to read. Western movies and soap operas filled her time as she aged peacefully in retirement with her son Michael still by her side as her caregiver. Shirley died comfortably knowing she had accomplished her life goals.

A Celebration of Shirley’s life will be held at 3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 16, at Clements-Wilcox Funeral Home in Marble Falls Texas. All friends and family are invited to the actual event or to join the online broadcast at the Facebook LIVE Event for Shirley: Masks and social distancing are required.

Flowers, cards and tributes may be sent care of: Clements-Wilcox Funeral Home, 1805 US Hwy 281 North, Marble Falls, TX 78654, 830-693-4373.