Shirley McLean Church, 87, of Vanderpool Road, Vilas, N.C., passed peacefully Friday morning, November 12, 2021 at her home and surrounded by her family.

Born September 9, 1934 in Caldwell County, she was a daughter of David Baxter and Berta McNeil McLean.

Mrs. Church was a member of Vanderpool Baptist Church where she considered the congregation family. She loved her family dearly and took great pride in meeting all their needs. She enjoyed planting and harvesting the family gardens, canning the vegetables, and preparing meals for family and neighbors. Well known as a master quilt maker, a host of family and friends were recipients of the many quilts that she handcrafted over the years.

Mrs. Church is survived by her husband of 69 years, Charlie Lee Church; daughters, Linda Richards and husband, Junior and Brenda Howard and husband, Gary, all of Vilas; eight grandchildren, Jason Richards and wife, Deanna, of Vilas, Jennifer Hayes and husband, Terry, of Cerro Gordo, NC, Jonathan Richards of Vilas, Seth Church and wife, Sarah, of Gamewell, Lucas Church and wife, Jodie, of Statesville, Zach Church and wife, Ivy, of Zionville, Caleb Howard and wife, Carolyn, of Kingsport, TN, and Rebecca Ramsey and husband, Jason, of Butler, TN; seven great grandchildren, Kaity, Lydia and Ethan Richards, Hunter Hayes, Quinn Church and Remi and Haddie Ramsey; daughter-in-law, Cynthia Hayes Church of Vilas; and brother, Leon McLean of Arizona.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by one son, Ricky Neil Church; and brothers, Junior, Vernon, Troy, Clifford, Jesse, and Earl McLean.

Funeral services for Shirley M. Church were conducted at 2 p.m. on Sunday afternoon, November 14th at the Vanderpool Baptist Church, officiated by Pastor Andy Watson. The family received friends from 1 p.m. until 2 p.m., prior to services. Burial will follow in the Vanderpool Baptist Church Cemetery. The family respectfully requests those attending to please wear a mask and observe social distancing.

Flowers appreciated, or memorials may be made to Medi Home Health & Hospice, 400 Shadowline Drive, Suite 100B, Boone, NC 28607 or to the Vanderpool Baptist Church Cemetery Fund, in care of Roger Townsend, 301 Linda Lane, Vilas, NC 28692.

Online condolences may be shared at

Austin & Barnes Funeral Home and Crematory is serving the Church family.

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