Cover photo for Shirley Luan Griggs Marnett's Obituary
Shirley Luan Griggs Marnett Profile Photo
1937 Shirley 2022

Shirley Luan Griggs Marnett

March 29, 1937 — May 9, 2022

Shirley Luan Griggs Marnett passed away on May 9, 2022. Shirley was born March 29, 1937, in Braymer, Missouri to parents William Leonard and Goldie Mae Griggs. Shirley and her brothers Larry Dean and James Leonard (Jim) were raised on a farm in the area where Shirley quickly realized the life of a farmer was not for her. She excelled in school, particularly math, a skill she would carry on through the rest of her life. She often spoke of her time at Excelsior, a one room schoolhouse in Caldwell County, where she spent her seventh and eighth grade years. From there, she moved on to Polo High School where she met some of her lifelong friends, most notably her best friend, Jane True. Shirley was very involved in high school. She was Senior Class President, Homecoming Princess, a member of Future Homemakers of America, Mixed Chorus, Pep Club, Panthers Staff (the school yearbook), Panthers Newspaper Staff, and more. After graduation, Shirley left her rural roots behind and moved to Kansas City with her best friend Jane. She worked at Allens Drive-In her first summer in Kansas City before moving on to Montgomery Ward, where she spent her early career. She eventually began her work at KCPL before owning her own business, Mid States Audio Visual. She was breaking the mold as a female business owner at a time when there were so few. Early on in her time in Kansas City, she met Walter Joseph Marnett while he was tending bar at his neighborhood watering hole, The ESY Inn. Shirley walked into the bar to order a case of Falstaff beer and the rest is history. She and Walt were married shortly after. When asked her greatest accomplishment, Shirley said that it was meeting Walt that day and building a family with him. Shirley quickly became a mother to two girls, Patricia Ann and Pamela Marie. Little did she know, she would later meet Linda, a neighborhood babysitter whom she would soon consider her third daughter. Her three daughters had fond memories of Shirley in her Dodge Dart (white with a red interior). Shirley taught Linda to drive in that car and Patty recalls her singing to her girls while driving. She notoriously had a lead foot, something that has been inherited by more than a few of her children and grandchildren. Shirley was able to balance motherhood and business ownership seamlessly, which can likely be attributed to her attention to detail and her ability to stretch a dollar (and stretch it again and again and again). Her mathematical mind allowed her to essentially operate as an accountant without completing any formal accounting courses. When asked about her thriftiness, Shirley called to mind her childhood and her wish to have money to pass along to her children. Shirley never paid full price for anything yet was simultaneously so generous with her money. She often quietly paid for what her children and grandchildren needed. Whether it was a laptop for school, or new tires before the winter, Shirley offered her resources without hesitation. During her time at the hospital this last month, she entrusted check writing to her husband, Walt. Somehow, a check went missing, so Walt voided it and rewrote it. Shirley was quick to notice the error and had step-by-step instructions on how Walt can properly document the missing check. She was sharp as a tack throughout her entire life, and her time spent in the hospital was no different! When Shirley became a grandmother, her named became "Gonga" and her life was complete. That is, until her great grandchildren were born. Gongas favorite thing to do was go to her daughters house to spend time with the entire family surrounding her. The great joy of her life was time spent with her family. While her grandchildren were young, there were many summer weekends spent at Grand Lake in Oklahoma. The grandchildren often rode to the lake with Gonga and Papa, and they may have as many fond memories of the drive as they do the lake trips. She notoriously didnt want to stop for bathroom breaks, so she would pack grapes in a cooler. If you were thirsty, you got a grape to quench your thirst. As the years went on, she often said she was in the backseat on any of her familys road trips without her, looking forward to pictures and updates along the way. Gonga was given an iPhone for Christmas a few years ago and mastered it faster than her family could have imagined. It was because of that mastery that she was able to keep in touch with her family, regardless of where they were. She was famous for her "Bitmoji" and her ability to always choose the perfect one for the conversation. Shirley suffered from Alpha-1, which is a rare genetic (inherited) disorder that can increase your risk of developing lung and liver diseases. She endured weekly infusion treatments and according to her husband, Walt, she was poked over 1,500 times throughout her treatment. Shirley and Walt were regular members of a coffee group that met almost daily at Panera Bread. She leaves behind many great friends from the group who have become more like siblings throughout the years. The family would like to thank Shirleys fantastic care teams at Menorah hospital and Advanced Health Care, most notably Jessica Hood, who went above and beyond to care for Shirley in her final moments. We also thank Dr. Neal Erickson for his comprehensive care over the years. Shirleys infusion nurse, Kathy Gutteridge, became an honorary family member throughout their time together and we thank her endlessly for her care and friendship to Shirley. Shirley is survived by her husband, Walt, her daughters, Patty Smith (Rick), Pam McLiney (Kevin) and Linda Yau (Frank), her grandchildren, Bobby Smith (Hannah), Katie McLiney, Maggie McLiney Stiverson (Boston), Kevin McLiney, Jr., Abby McLiney and Daniel McLiney, her great grandchildren, Eleanor and Frances Smith, and Charlotte Stiverson, her brother, Jim Griggs (Merleen), and many nieces and nephews. A wake will be held at Skradski Funeral Home in Kansas City, Kansas, the evening of May 17, 2022. A Requiem Mass will be held at Old St. Patricks Oratory on the morning of Wednesday, May 18, 2022. In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations in her name to Alpha-1 Foundation ( or Old Saint Patricks Oratory in Kansas City, Missouri. Gonga, we will do our best to keep Jovitos in business despite losing their best meatball customer! One day, we will all share some "brown water," Jovitos meatballs and green peppers together again. No more jostling.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM

340 N 6TH STKANSAS CITY, Kansas 66101-3350

Tuesday, May 17, 2022
7:00 PM - 7:30 PM


Funeral Service
Wednesday, May 18, 2022
10:00 AM

Oratory of Old St. Patrick / ICKSP
806 Cherry StKansas CIty, Mo 64106

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Resurrection Cemetery Lenexa
W 83rd St & Quivira RdLenexa, Kansas 66214
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Shirley Luan Griggs Marnett, please visit our flower store.


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