September 16, 1917 — April 24, 2019
Gram has gone. She just went to sleep after one last look at Dad’s picture, and didn’t awake. One can only hope for such a peaceful ending after such a full and active life. We’ll miss her at the dinner table and holiday gatherings, having us hold hands round the table as she offered the blessing. We’ll miss having breakfast with her—coffee, cream of wheat and a dish of candy for dessert—as she reminisced about life on the farm, told stories about her kids and grandkids growing up on Richland Avenue and things she remembered about working with my dad at the Dairy Queen.
Pauline Elizabeth Shields was born to John and Zilpha Morris in Moravia, Iowa on September 16, 1917, the fourth of seven children. She lived in or near Mt. Ayre, Iowa, through her youth. It was there she went to a baseball game in a field outside town and first saw Carroll Shields, the pitcher on one of the teams. She was still in high school, but they began courting and a few years later were married.
They farmed for a few years and then moved to Oregon where Carroll, who had always wanted to own a little store, bought the franchise for Dairy Queen in Benton County. He built his store on the corner of 4th and Jefferson in downtown Corvallis (now Coffee Culture) and they settled into life in Corvallis as small business owners. They worked together there for the next 25 years. Pauline worked over noon hours, during sales and on Sundays after church.
The things Pauline valued most in life were her family, her faith and her friends. Her youngest brother was killed in World War II, but the rest of her siblings and her parents all eventually moved to the West Coast. Pauline loved to host big family gatherings when her siblings and their families came to town. There was always lots of food, lots of talk and maybe a game of horseshoes.
Early in her marriage, she lost her first baby, Wally Joe. She wanted a big family so when more kids came along, Charles Edward first and seven years later Anna Margaret, they were greeted with joy. As they grew, she made sure they went to Sunday school and church every Sunday. They belonged to youth groups at church, scouts, took music lessons, participated in a variety of 4-H programs, and Pauline was a group leader for them all. She loved kids and they loved her. Her yard was where the neighborhood kids gathered to play. Whatever was needed she was always there with a ready smile, an easy laugh and a helping hand.
Her kids grew up, years went by, and Pauline began to think she was never going to have grandkids. When Anna got engaged, Pauline bought a highchair. “No pressure,” she said. “Just being prepared.” And when the grandkids did show up in quick succession, John and Ivy to Anna, Sarah and Elizabeth to Charles, she couldn’t have been happier. She welcomed them and their friends into her home with open arms. She fed them and loved them, encouraged them and spoiled them as only she knew how to do. Well, to be fair, Carroll played an equal part, but this is not about him so, enough said.
She was a good neighbor and friend. When she baked a cake and set it in her kitchen window, it was a signal to the ladies of the neighborhood to come for coffee. Her next-door neighbor’s religion dictated that she never cut her hair. She came every day to Pauline who combed it and pinned it into a bun for her. Friends gathered at her home for barbecues and there was even a wedding or two held there.
The church was a foundation stone of her life. She was not a person to do lots of talking about her faith; she simply had a deeply held belief in God and a firm hold on the idea of living a life of love and service.
She attended the First Christian Church from the time she moved to Corvallis until she was no longer able to get there. She taught Sunday school, was a leader for the youth groups, was a deacon, attended bible study and church services. She lived her faith in a very practical way every day of her life, and her example was an inspiration to others. Her son Charles also had a strong faith and became a minister in the Presbyterian Church.
Pauline’s outlook on life was consistently positive. In fact, she was one of the most positive people you could ever know. Like all of us, she had some hard things in her life. The family she grew up in had very little, the depression brought more hard times.
She lost her parents and her brothers over the ensuing years, leaving only her and her sister, Rose. She lost her first child at birth and, later, her second son and husband within a few months of each other.
Following those losses, she lost her granddaughter Elizabeth. And of course, there were other times of sadness and disappointment along the way. But she was a strong person and her faith and positive disposition sustained her. From her point of view, there were two ways to deal with the hard things in life: you could laugh, or you could cry. When faced with that choice, laughter always seemed the better choice to her.
Remaining are daughter Anna Chase, her husband, Tom and their children, John and Ivy; daughter-in-law, Nadia Shields, her daughter, Sarah and Sarah’s sons, Charlie and Arthur. Also remaining is a large community of extended family and friends who will remember her bright spirit and what a joy it was to know her.
Many friends and family were able to come together to celebrate her long life with her on the occasion of her 100th birthday. For this reason, there will be no public gathering at this time.
She requested that any donations be given in her name to the First Christian Church of Corvallis.
McHenry Funeral Home handled arrangements (mchenryfuneralhome.com).