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Shirley Jean Rider (Oct. 26, 1952 – Nov. 20, 2017) left this world peacefully while resting in her home in Oklahoma City. She died from natural causes after struggling with health problems for the past few years.
Shirley was born as the second of two daughters to Buford Ray Rider and Dorothea Colleen MaHurin. Shirley grew up in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area along with her sister, Diane. In 1969, Shirley married Dennis Packham and the next year brought her son, Jeff, into the world. The family grew again in 1973 when Shelly was born.
Shelly’s life proved to be a complicated one, but Shirley thrived in taking on the challenges that come with raising a mentally and physically developmentally disabled child. Shirley accepted, embraced and excelled in making sure Shelly had the best possible life right up until the day she died in 2008. Shirley could have used Shelly’s condition to focus on just helping with her needs, but instead she lived a life many would not have expected.
Shirley went from being a teenage mother still working on getting her high school diploma to becoming a graduate of law school from the University of Oklahoma. Her journey to this accomplishment often involved long hours working and studying and making daily sacrifices along the way.
Always one who desired to make her mark on the world, Shirley used her law degree as an opportunity to help people who felt wronged. Practicing employment, discrimination and harassment law, Shirley stood up for people who might have otherwise fallen through the cracks. As life progressed, Shirley stepped away from her law practice and was able to travel and also spend some time with her grandson, Paytyn. Health problems affected Shirley’s ability to live her life as desired over the last few years, but her relationship with God remained strong and continued to grow during her final months on this Earth.
Shirley leaves behind her son, Jeff; her grandson, Paytyn; her nephew, Jim; her niece, Theresa; and many cousins, aunts, uncles, and friends. Shirley will be remembered as someone who always sought to improve her circumstances, and she was willing to make sacrifices and work hard to improve the lives of Jeff and Shelly. The world may now be missing a strong advocate, but Shirley and Shelly are reunited forever in Heaven.
Celebration of Life
2:00 P.M. Tuesday, January 30, 2018
Life Church – Yukon
1101 E Main St
Yukon, OK 73099