Shirley Ann Smith Eslinger, age 90, passed away on Sunday, September 12, 2021. She was born in Kansas City, Missouri, on May 19, 1931, the only child of Reginald Willis and Edna Viola (Hogan) Smith. Shirley attended the University of Iowa, where she was a member of Gamma Phi Beta Sorority but returned home to Kansas City to begin her career. While working there as an airline stewardess for TWA she met and married her life’s love, Charles Richard Eslinger, in 1954, and they spent 56 wonderful years together until his death in 2010. All three of their girls were born there, and Kansas City always remained a special place for her.
Baton Rouge has been Shirley’s home since the family moved here in 1963. When Charlie retired, the couple enjoyed traveling, RVing across the country, attending Kansas State University football games, and living at St. James Place Retirement Community. Shirley was quite skilled at needlework and created many beautiful pieces that will be treasured by her family. She was a member of St. John’s United Methodist Church.
She is survived by her daughters, Diane Niebuhr (Bryan) of Baton Rouge, Nancy Seal (Allen) of Harrison, Arkansas, and Karen Eslinger of Lacombe, as well as granddaughters Hannah Wood Rice (Cameron) of Dallas and Julia Ann Corley Wood (friend Garrett McBride) of Dallas, grandson Charles Stewart Wood of Baton Rouge, great-grandson Cannon Wood Rice of Dallas, and former son-in-law Glenn Wood of New Orleans.
A Graveside Service will be held at Resthaven Gardens of Memory on Friday, September 17, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, CAAWS, or Cat Haven.
The family would like to thank the many friends and staff members at St. James Place for making it such an enjoyable place to live the last 20 years, and especially those at the Healthcare Center for their compassionate care and kindness over the last few weeks.
Family and friends may sign the online guestbook or leave a personal note to the family at www.resthavenbatonrouge.com.