Cover photo for Shirley Snodgrass's Obituary
1930 Shirley Snodgrass 2024

Shirley Snodgrass

February 20, 1930 — January 11, 2024

Niles, Michigan

Shirley Kanous Snodgrass, age 93 years of Niles, Michigan; mother, grandmother; sister; farmer, property manager, and traveler died peacefully at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, January 11, 2024 with her family gathered around at her home following a brief illness.  Her family is grateful for the kind and compassionate care provided by the hospice staff.

She was born on February 20, 1930 on the family farm near Galien, Michigan to Milo and Viva (Hullinger) Kanous, and attended Galien schools when not helping on the family farm.  Being born just months into the Great Depression, she and her siblings learned to work, and to appreciate what they had.   They visited the grandparents’ farm every summer for a week, which Shirley loved, and where she learned to milk cows by hand.  She thought that milking was THE GREATEST, and bragged about her new talent – which then became her daily chore at home.

She came to Niles in 1950 and was employed at the former Michigan Mushroom Plant on South Third Street, and its successor, Green Giant.  She also drove school buses for Brandywine Community Schools when her children were Brandywine students, and purchased, owned, and operated the White Glove Cleaning Service, serving many Niles families and businesses with housekeeping services.  She was a Mary Kay, Inc. beauty consultant for several years.  She began investing in rental services with business partner, Bill. Her health – not her age – gradually reduced her ability to get to houses for cleaning, and eventually required giving-up her rentals.

Shirley was a longtime member of Christ the King Catholic Church in South Bend, Indiana until moving her membership to Saint Mark Parish in Niles.  She was a member of the Red Hat Society of senior ladies who intend to grow older in a playful manner.  She enjoyed traveling, taking several bus tours and shipboard cruises, but her favorite trip was a visit to Hawaii.  Saturday nights were reserved for dancing to Big Band and polka music.

Working the family farm as a young girl inspired a lifelong passion for cultivating crops and raising animals on the acres behind her house south of Bell Road.  She loved the outdoors, camping in the backyard, and still sleeping in a tent in her 70s.  The peacocks were obvious by their plumage displays and their calls, but she also kept chickens and goats, and continued to weed and water the large garden, even with the assistance of a walker.  Inside her home were many chicken collectables, ceramic, textile, and pictures.   Most important was her family.

She was previously married to James Snodgrass.  She was sadly preceded in death by four of her eight children,  Michael Snodgrass who was stillborn in 1948, Sharon Snodgrass who died in 2014, David L. Snodgrass in 2016, and James Snodgrass, Jr. in 2018, by her daughter, Sandy’s partner, G. Jean McNees, RN in 2022, son-in-law Steve Manges in 2023; and by Shirley’s siblings, Don Kanous, Audrey Hughes, Richard Kanous, Robert Kanous, and Charles “Chucky” Kanous.

Surviving family includes her children, Daniel (& Linda) Snodgrass of Galien, Sandra Snodgrass of South Bend, Susan Manges of South Bend, and Greg (& Stephanie) Snodgrass of Buchanan, Michigan; daughter-in-law, Deborah (Mrs. James) Snodgrass of South Bend; twenty grandchildren, thirty great-grandchildren, and sixteen great-great-grandchildren; Shirley’s brother, Larry (& Diane) Kanous of Galien, and many nieces and nephews.

The Memorial Mass for Shirley A. Snodgrass will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, January 27, 2024 at Saint Mark Catholic Church, 3 North Nineteenth Street in Niles by the Rev. Peter Rocca, C.S.C. of the parish.  The family will receive relatives and friends on Saturday at the church, beginning at 10:00 a.m.  Committal Rites will be private, at a later date, at Galien Cemetery.

Contributions in memory of Shirley may be made to Saint Mark Parish, 3 North Nineteenth Street, Niles, Michigan 49120,   Arrangements were completed at the Halbritter-Wickens Funeral Home, 615 East Main Street in Niles.  Online condolences and memories may be left at:

Ninety-three years is a long life, and Shirley used those years well, enjoying traveling, and the Red Hatters, but she was also productive, feeding folks from her farm, cleaning homes, and providing shelter to many tenants and families.   She made her family a priority, and was devoted to her faith; all evidence of loving God and loving people.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Shirley Snodgrass, please visit our flower store.


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