Monday, July 13, 2020

Shirley (Selstrom) Pryor, 90

| June 24, 2020 1:00 AM

Shirley Pryor, beloved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, went peacefully home to the Lord on June 2, 2020.

Born Oct. 15, 1929, in Great Falls to Winifred (Smith) and Paul Selstrom, Shirley was an only child, and was very close to her cousin, John Selstrom. She attended grade school in Lincoln, Montana, boarded in Helena to attend high school and at 17 attended Montana State College in Bozeman to study art.

Shirley and Norman J. Cross married in the fall of 1948 and had three children. After being divorced for several years, she married Kenneth Monroe Pryor in the fall of 1959 in Butte. Ken worked for the Milwaukee Railroad and they maintained a home in Great Falls until the children finished high school. Shirley maintained an interest in all things artistic throughout her life. One year she painted the backdrops for the annual performance of the Butte Figure Skating Club. She liked working in watercolors and acrylics, painted ceramics, created original holiday decor, and fostered the creativity of her children. She was an active member in Eastern Star while in Butte and was a past worthy matron.

She and Ken retired to Mesa, Arizona, 1977. Following his death in 1981 she worked as the activity director at retirement parks in Mesa and then Tucson, Arizona, where her son Paul and his family lived. At the Voyager RV Park in Tucson, in addition to organizing facility activities, she taught landscape and flower painting, shirt painting and created paintings and murals for a number of the residents. One of her proudest accomplishments was a series of murals depicting the history of Arizona painted around the walls of the Voyager ballroom. She remained at the Voyager on retirement and loved the activities and all her many friends in the community.

In the spring of 2013, Shirley returned to Montana to be closer to her daughters and their spouses. She lived in an assisted living facility for a few years with the two cat companions who had traveled many miles with her on her road trips to art classes or to visit family and friends. Late in 2015 she moved to Immanuel Lutheran Skilled Care in Kalispell. Her mind remained sharp but she truly missed her independence and the physical ability to create her art. In October of 2019, Shirley, her children and their spouses were able to celebrate her 90th birthday together.

On June 2, 2020, Shirley was gently “walked home” by her youngest, Carolyn Cosby.

She is survived by her three children and their spouses, Jennifer Pryor and Bill Crenshaw, Paul and Bonnie Pryor, and Carolyn and Steve Cosby, plus six grandchildren, and 15 great-grandchildren.

Her children are very grateful for Immanuel Lutheran, where Shirley spent her last years. The staff treated her with great kindness and were always kind and welcoming to family members, who were able to visit often. Memorials are suggested to an art organization of the donor’s choice.