Shirley Vickery

Obituary of Shirley Nadine Vickery




AUGUST 28, 1926- DECEMBER 16, 2022

Shirley Nadine (Lanphere) (Colyer) Vickery, daughter of Hylton C. and Margie B. Lanphere, brother of Paul, mother of four sons, grandmother of 13 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren, was born in Ft. Collins, Colorado. Shirley, as discovered early in childhood, was gifted with musical talent, playing the piano at age three by ear, receiving lessons from a teacher who had been trained by famed Hungarian pianist/composer Franz Liszt. Her perfect pitch added to her musical composition, versatility and harmony achievement. Shirley also sang soprano/alto and broadened her musical talent being church music/choir director with congregations of her church affiliation in Kansas and Colorado. Her solos of “On the Wings of a Snow White Dove”, “Holy, Holy, Holy”, “How Great Thou Art”, “God of Our Fathers”, “What a Friend We Have In Jesus”, Take Time to Be Holy”, “This Is My Father’s World”, “I Would Be True”, “Take My Life and Let It Be” and “Beneath the Cross of Jesus” are among those fondly remembered.

Shirley had four sons- Paul Colyer of Pittsburg, Kansas, Dr. Donn Colyer (deceased) of Pittsburg, Kansas, Michael Colyer of Westminster, Colorado and Scott Colyer of San Antonio, Texas. She enjoyed dancing, cooking, camping and hiking (with late-husband Don Vickery) and partaking in the beauty that is Colorado. Shirley studied nursing and, later, social work with an emphasis in coming alongside young girls from various backgrounds and walks of life to better girls’ well-being and lives. Her interest in nursing was complemented by her equaled study of nutrition. Shirley implemented many health practices into the lives of her children.

Shirley’s sons, her family, her friends and her faith were her mainstays and life. Early in her life, she learned the craft of being service-driven as an active Camp Fires Girl. Shirley, later, served in adulthood by being Cub Scout Den Mother, PTA leader/member, Sunday school and vacation bible school director and teacher, faculty wives participant (per husband Kenneth Colyer), lay pastoral counselor (per husband Don Vickery), chaperone for proms, Sadie Hawkins dances, and school homecoming events. Shirley provided music, charitably, for community individuals and families in the form of weddings, funerals and special events. This in addition to her being a home care provider and advocate for her sons. Her sons’ friends frequently referred to Shirley as their second “Mom”. She would come into a room, answer the phone or glance over to acknowledge someone with a pat by exclaiming, “What’s up doc?”, “Hello darlin’”, or “Sug”. Those around her discerned her immediate care and affection. This was all a part of Shirley’s genuine spirit, demonstrating her empathetic, nurturing and committed personal countenance that was personified in her disposition and outreach: a true, humble, dedicated and courageous daughter of the Heavenly Father. Shirley sought to serve the lives she touched through her scripture study (as a berean) and by her witness and testimony of Christ’s impact on her own life. Her interactions with her family and people altogether reflected her strong Christian walk and the value she placed on the sacredness of life.

Shirley’s wonderful sense of humor, positive outlook, especially in dire situations, ability to both connect and relate empathetically with others as well as her natural giving and generosity tendency are among her many strong life character attributes. Shirley frequently reminded those around her of a favorite scripture that she endearingly sought to apply to living her life, “To whom much is given, much will be required”, (Luke 12:4-8), and her paraphrasing this by noting “this means we are held responsible for what we have. If we’ve been blessed with wealth, talents, knowledge, experience, it is expected by the Heavenly Father that we benefit others.”- (Most recently cited to her son, Michael, November 9, 2022). Shirley earnestly put the needs of others before herself. Her frequent life reminders were such quotes as, “Keep a clear eye toward life’s end. Do not forget your purpose and destiny as God’s creature. What you are in His sight, is what you are and nothing more. Remember that when you leave this earth, you can take nothing that you have received…but only what you have given- a full heart enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice and courage.”- St. Francis of Assisi, and “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”- Maya Angelou (2014)

Shirley was a participant and/or sponsor throughout her life with the following:

March of Dimes, Concerned Women of America, Muscular Dystrophy Association telethons, American Cancer Society, American Heart and Lung Associations, American Red Cross, American Center for Law and Justice, Catholic Charities (Archdiocese of Denver), Focus on the Family, Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Denver, Habitat for Humanity, Billy Graham Evangelical Association, Mercy Ships, Shriner’s Hospital, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, Colorado Christian University, AMAC (Association of Mature American Citizens), Denver Rescue Mission and Disabled Veteran’s Association, TBN television, National Council of La Raza, Hope for the Heart (June Hunt Ministries), 4-H of Colorado, Joni and Friends (Joni Eareckson Tada Ministry), Easter Seals Society, Compassion International, Prevention magazine, local law enforcement/first responder, prison, military organizations and marriage enrichment weekends.

Shirley bonded intergenerational with individuals of all ages. Her giftedness with people was foremost demonstrated by her authentic emotional intelligence traits of wholesomeness, innocence, sweetness, being receptive rather than close-minded, congeniality, honesty, truthfulness, trustworthiness and grace. Her common exaltation was to remind those around her of the “Little Engine That Could” story- perseverance when engaged in hardship. Shirley was/is distinguished by her devoutness, dutifulness and decency. Her interrelationships with others bore/bear testimony of her doing so with modesty and humility. Shirley definitely exemplified a servant-heart approach in living.

Shirley nurtured, cultivated, fostered, served and enriched the livelihood of people from her early childhood days to her final days in assisted living. Throughout her life, she would relate scripture applications, bear personal witness and offer unequivocal prayerful support to those in her life. The lives she touched as “Shirley Girl” to those closest to her, “Mom” by her sons and sons’ friends, “Grandma Shirley” by her grandchildren and/or neighborhood children or as “Miss Shirley” by medical staff demonstrated how this unique, blessed and servant-oriented woman unselfishly sought and shared of her life to enrich the many lives of others. Shirley was tender heartedly known as a “lover” of people and as a “fighter” for her beliefs, convictions and respect of others. She overcame, early in life, a tragic horseback ride, falling from a horse at age seven and, later, traumatic falls, winter 1984 and 2016. She survived COVID in 2020 and bravely fought illness her last earthly days, only succumbing to disease and passing peacefully, quietly and gently into the Savior’s arms, Friday, December 16, 2022.

Shirley shared with her son, Michael, over Thanksgiving 2022, how much she embraced Reverend Billy Graham’s (a favorite pastor of hers) sentiment:

“When you read or hear that Billy Graham (Shirley Vickery) is dead, don’t you believe a word of it! I shall be more alive than I am now. I will have just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.”- Billy Graham, 2018

Shirley’s practiced and requested scripture, upon her returning home, is:

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day--- and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing.”

-2 Timothy 4:7-8, NIV

Indeed, Mom/Shirley, you have, you are! What a gift you’ve been/are! What a triumphant legacy you leave! Hallelujah to the Lord Jesus Christ! Mom/Shirley- We’re thankful for you, we adore you, we love you everlastingly! – Your sons, family and friends

This remembrance/tribute is contributed as a gift to you, Mom. Your son, Michael Colyer


PROTECTION: “There Is A Savior”- Sandi Patty Testimony/witness of Jesus Christ

PREVAIL: “For God and God Alone”-Steve Green Praise of the Holy God

(Beginning of Remembrance)

PURPOSE: “First Things First”- Consumed Essence of our earthly life

PROVIDENCE: “Bless Thou My Soul”- Celtic Thunder Christian walk

(Before reading page three of Remembrance)

PROMISE: “Hymn of Heaven”- Phil Wickham Resurrection promise

PROCLAMATION: “How Great Thou Art”-Katherine Jenkins Eternity

(End of Remembrance)

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