Shirley Pike Amspacher of Providence, RI passed away on Thursday, January 4 at the Philip Hulitar Hospice Center.
Born February 6, 1935 in New Rochelle, NY, Shirley was the daughter of the late Charles and Mary Katherine “Babe” Pike of Fairfield, CT. She was preceded in death by her husband of 52 years, James F. “Jimmy” Amspacher, Sr. She is survived by her daughter, Catherine Meeker and her husband Matt of Orlando, FL; her son James F. Amspacher, Jr. and his wife Sheila Dormody of Providence, RI; and her brother Charles Pike and wife Joyce of Enfield, CT.
Shirley graduated from Roger Ludlowe High School in Fairfield, CT -- the same high school from which both her children later graduated. She is also an alumna of Lasell College (then Lasell Junior College) in Newton, MA, where a highlight for her was rowing on the Charles River as part of the crew team.
Shirley worked for many years in the medical profession, eventually managing a private medical practice in Fairfield, CT, the town that will always be her home. She truly loved her work and cherished the lifelong friends she made there, many of whom she still talked with frequently despite the fact that they were scattered across the country.
More than 20 years of experience in the medical profession gave Shirley a solemn respect for doctors. That respect was tested over the years, as she was treated for more ailments than one woman should have to handle. She found it ironic that -- after decades of battling through medical problems -- in the last years of her life her surgeons, oncologists, and primary care physicians told her she could handle the treatments they suggested because she was in such great shape for someone more than 80 years old. Even on the too frequent occasions they couldn’t help her or give the answers she needed, they were still charmed by her manner and amazed by her resilience.
Shirley’s children will remember her for her unconditional love and support for her family and in particular her heroic efforts to care for Jimmy at home during his battle with cancer. She always put her family first and she also put the needs of her beloved pets -- including Piper, Fletcher, Sammie, and her last dog Caroline -- ahead of her own. She contributed generously to groups that helped and protected animals (especially her beloved bears).
Shirley loved trips to the casino, but would tell you that she wasn’t lucky. Anyone reading this who met Shirley will tell you that they were lucky to know her.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Forsyth County Animal Control (5570 Sturmer Park Circle, Winston-Salem, NC 27105), where Shirley and Jimmy adopted Caroline, and to Hope Hospice & Palliative Care Rhode Island (1085 N Main Street, Providence, RI 02904), whose caregivers allowed her family to care for her at home in her last weeks and made her final hours as peaceful as possible.