Shirley Lenox
Shirley Lenox
Shirley Lenox
Shirley Lenox
Shirley Lenox

Obituary of Shirley A Lenox

“She was special and it makes me smile to think of her.”

Shirley Jean (Alhart) Lenox, 89, of Rochester, NY passed peacefully after a short battle with bone cancer. Predeceased by her husband of 67 years, Pete. She is survived by many caring individuals: 4 children, Sue, Dave (Jeff), Don (Anne), and Karen (Joe), 6 grandchildren, Matthew, Michelle, Jamie, Brittany, Bryn, Ben, Crey, and Emma and 7 great grandchildren, Aari, JJ, Hayden, Sydney, Brooklyn, Briella, Landon.  Additionally, brothers, Dave and Don (Mary) Alhart, and sisters-in-law Nancy Knight and Sue Hart.

The nickname, “Shirls,” as she was called by many, perfectly reflects her friendly, down-to-earth personality. She instantly became your good friend. She was quite proud to also answer to “Grandma or Aunt Shirley”. When asked about her first name she would tell the story about being named after Shirley Temple, appropriate for her love of music and dance. Shirley was a loving, devoted wife, daughter, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, aunt and a friend to many. 

She was renowned for her collections: recipes, knitting/sewing patterns, dolls, piano music, holiday decorations, and many, many tchotchkes! She was a creative thinker who loved trying new recipes. She never found a recipe she didn't want to try resulting in 4 full totes of recipes saved from magazines and all kinds of cookbooks (she did not get to try all of them!) This same intention also applied to sewing patterns. Knitting was her meditation. She amassed countless patterns and endless balls of yarn. Later in life, she proudly donated hats and washcloths to those in need. An enthusiastic game player, she loved the fun of playing UNO, Wii, and board games, and more recently, the vocabulary game, WORDLE. These activities were important to her because they helped her keep a connection with friends and family. But her passion was music. She believed it filled the house with emotion; sometimes joyous, sometimes solemn.  She was most gratified playing the piano while her family gathered and sang along.  

Shirls always put others before herself. Her devotion to her husband, Pete, was unmatched.  Even when she was first diagnosed and going through treatments, her energy (and worry) was focused on him with much less concern for her frightening condition. She devoted her time to Pete, ensured his comfort as he experienced his own challenges. She was forever preoccupied with the safety of her children and focused more on her kids’ well-being than her own. Her greatest fear was that she would be a burden to her children. While in home hospice, she showed this stubbornness as she constantly tried to get out of bed (a safety issue) because she wanted to do things on her own and did not want to bother anyone: “I don’t want my kids to worry about me. I don’t want to be a burden to my kids.”

She was very grateful to spend her final days at home and wished to thank the extraordinary staff at Rochester Regional Health Hospice Care for their experience, thoughtfulness, sincerity and professionalism. Also, while her 4 children were intimately involved in her care, the eldest daughter, Susan, became the “24-hour care Angel”. This was illustrated by the instance when Sue was wiping Shirley’s face and she looked up said, "Every time I see you lean in, I think you're Jesus."

In lieu of traditional funeral services, Shirley’s family will celebrate her life at Locust Hill Country Club after the holidays. This memorial website will be updated with that information as soon as we have the details. Her late life onset of cancer and her concern for the well-being of children is the basis for the chosen charity, St. Jude’s. We invite donations to this organization in her memory.

Her generosity, resolution, courage, and love of life will live on through the many people she touched. Her final weeks showed a courage and strength that were testaments to her will to live. She was always the last to leave a gathering…she didn’t want to miss anything, and this held true for her right until the end.


Unsolicited descriptions of the impression she left on others:

Your Mom was the life of the party…none of us needed to drink to have fun. 

Your Mom has been one of my most favorite people—- I’m so grateful for her friendship!”

She was so vibrant!

Such a warm, loving and joyful spirit. 

She was always a very nice, welcoming, and happy person to be around.

Your Mom has always been like a real sister to me. Pete made a great choice for life partner.

She was amazing! I will always treasure her giggle.

I have many, many fond memories of your mom and have always admired her.   

She was wonderful. So kind, caring, loving, and funny.

Aunt Shirley was always so much fun and always positive, She was an amazing lady.

Share Your Memory of