Shirley Yochim, known as “Sweet Shirley” to much of the community,
passed peacefully away on the evening of June 26 in Lawrence, Kansas.
Funeral services will be held at Rumsey-Yost Funeral Home on Thursday, June 28, 2012,
at 11 a.m. The family will receive visitors at the Lawrence Jewish Community Center from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Shirley was born in Des Moines, Iowa on Valentine’s Day in 1934. She
was the youngest of five children — and the only girl — born to
Jacob and Helen Dorothy Greene. The family moved to Chicago, Illinois
when Shirley was young, and there she graduated from Marshall High
School in the early 1950s.
Shirley attended Wright Junior College and Roosevelt University, both
in Chicago, from 1952 to 1955. During that time she was also employed
at Berger-Rivenbergh Point of Purchase Advertising in Chicago, mostly
notable for its location — across the street from the Playboy Club.
At a cousin’s housewarming party Shirley met Jerome (Jerry) Yochim,
who, so stricken by her humor and beauty, suggested that his best
friend ask her out on a date. Although that date was never made,
Shirley and Jerry kept up a correspondence while Jerry was in
Champaign-Urbana finishing his Masters Degree at the University of
In August 1957 Shirley and Jerry married and moved to Lafayette,
Indiana where Jerry completed his Doctoral Degree in 1960, and then
back to Chicago for a few years.
The couple moved to Lawrence, Kansas in 1962 when Jerry joined the
faculty at the University of Kansas. The couple originally planned to
stay in Lawrence for one year and then decide if they liked it enough
to settle down (and could get used to the strange noises coming from
the back yard — cows).
After meeting members of the Lawrence Jewish Community Center, Shirley
shed some of her city ways (and even learned to drive), and for the
next 50 years the couple made Lawrence their home.
Shirley was active with the Center and the Jewish Community Women and
over four decades served in various positions as the group’s
Secretary, Treasurer and Blintz Brunch organizer. Along with Artie
Shaw, Shirley helped establish the KU Hillel foundation.
Shirley also worked as a secretary in the Social Work Department at
Lawrence Memorial Hospital and at Audio Reader, a reading service for
the visually impaired. She is best known for her work in real estate
at the Gill Agency and later the McGrew Agency, from which she retired
Shirley is survived by her husband Jerry, son Jordan and daughter-in-law Amanda (Lawrence), daughter Dayana (Alexandria, Va.) and grandson Elliot (Lawrence).
In lieu of flowers the family encourages donations to the Lawrence Jewish Community Center, the Visiting Nurses Association of Douglas County, or Grace Hospice, in care of the funeral home.