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Welcome to the memorial page for

Shirley Sims Kern

February 12, 1925 ~ August 8, 2017 (age 92)

Shirley Sims Kern passed away at the age of 92 on Tuesday, August 8, 2017 at Deerfield Episcopal Retirement Community in Asheville, NC after a brief illness. She was born in St. Louis, Missouri on February 12, 1925 and grew up in Webster Groves. The daughter of Jules and Marie Sims, Shirley was predeceased by her parents and her brother, Virgil Sims. Her surviving sister, Verna Stevens and husband Barry still reside in St. Louis. In 1946 she married Donald Gwynne Kern and together they had 4 children, Stephen Sims Kern, Nancy Camille Kern, Paul Donald Kern and Thomas Jules Kern. Because of Don’s career as a CPA, she and Don moved frequently from St. Louis to San Juan, Puerto Rico, then to Atlanta, GA, Asheville, NC, Danville, VA, Greenville and Greer, SC.  Shirley and Don bought an old farmhouse in Greer which they renovated and enjoyed for many years before eventually moving back to Asheville.

Shirley loved animals of all kinds, even painting the tails of snakes to recognize those she had seen before. For a time on the farm she had cows, horses, and multiple dogs and cats.  Sometimes affectionately described by her family and friends as a “dizzy blonde”, she could be seen riding her John Deere Tractor and cutting the grass herself. She worked as a veterinary assistant, real estate agent, and enjoyed gardening, playing bridge and cooking.  During her time at Deerfield, she was “one of the favorites” of her many caregivers and was known for her smile.

She is survived by her beloved husband of 71 years, Don, her children, Stephen and wife Ann, Nancy, Paul and wife Trudy, and Tommy, her grandchildren, Michelle Kern Sisco and husband Ken, Scott Stephen Kern and wife Trisha, Natalie Kern Donovan and husband Ryan, Adam Kern and Jesse Crosson and great grandchildren, Andrew and Jackson Sisco and Katherine Kern.

A memorial service will be held at a future date. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the North Carolina Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 50 Westchester Drive, Asheville, NC 28803-2255, or to St. Giles Chapel, Deerfield Episcopal Retirement Community, 1617 Hendersonville Road, Asheville, NC 28803.


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