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Sewing 18

Shirley Mae (Disotell) Smith

June 24, 1932 ~ May 17, 2020 (age 87)


Shirley Disotell Smith, 87, passed away on Sunday, May 17, 2020 at her residence while surrounded by family after a stoic struggle with cancer. Shirley was born on June 24, 1932 in Kenosha, WI to the late William Joseph Disotell and Aldia Marie Disotell (Cody). Her loving husband of 63 years, Roger Dermot Smith, preceded her in death in 2014.

   Shirley was a loving wife, a wonderful homemaker, and a caring mother. She loved to cook and entertain, sew (making many of her own clothes and custom made accessories), knit, play tennis, and create custom greeting cards. A true people-person, she really enjoyed making new friends and having lived in nearly a dozen places across the United States, she always said she “loved to move” for just that reason. Shirley was always active in the various communities she lived. While living in New Jersey she wrote a weekly newspaper article titled “Sew Shirley Says” for the Bernardsville News. While in Hudson, OH she was active with the Garden and the Newcomers Clubs. In Sanford, NC as a Lioness of the Sanford Lions Club, she and Roger helped with the Lee County Fair for many years. In 2003, a friend recovering from breast cancer was losing her hair and had a difficult time finding a suitable head covering which gave Shirley an idea. She had been volunteering at the Sanford Enrichment Center for several years and knew they could help. So she started the “Nifty Noggins” program where volunteers designed, created, and donated hundreds of stylish head coverings for hair-loss suffers. Her group’s efforts gained national attention through PBS and the magazine “Sew News”. In Burlington, NC Shirley continued to volunteer her time at Twin Lakes Retirement Community and at Frieden’s Lutheran Church in Gibsonville.

   Survivors include her two sons: Jeffrey Smith (Catherine Donahue Smith) of Middletown, DE, and Guy Smith (Jane Smith) of Whitsett, NC, sister: Judith Lee Hockers of Sun City West, AZ, three grandchildren: Gregory Smith (Valerie Hite-Smith) of Seattle, WA, Emma Tuftin (Jory Tuftin) of Columbia Heights, MN, and Benjamin Smith (Toni Rockholt-Smith) of Tijeras, NM, and great-grandson: Loren Alexander Hite-Smith of Seattle, WA. Shirley was preceded in death by two sisters: June Claire Hansen of San Diego, CA, and Muriel Marie Kloster of Kenosha, WI.

A memorial service for family will be held in the future. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to Habitat for Humanity, 1176 N Church Street, Burlington, NC 27217; Frieden’s Lutheran Church, 6001 NC Hwy 61 North, Gibsonville, NC 27249 or Allied Churches of Alamance County, 206 N Fisher Street, Burlington, NC 27217.

     To send condolences and sign the online register book, please visit www.lowefuneralhome.com. 

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Shirley Mae (Disotell) Smith, please visit our floral store.


Memorial Service at a later date


Allied Churches of Alamance County
206 N. Fisher Street, Burlington NC 27217
Web: http://alliedchurches.org

Friedens Lutheran Church c/o Cemetery Association
6001 NC Hwy 61 North, Gibsonville NC 27249

Habitat for Humanity Burlington
1176 N Church Street, Burlington NC 27217

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