October 22, 1933 – July 27, 2020
Shirley May Stapp Messer, 86, long-time resident of Anniston, passed away Monday July 27 at NHC Healthcare surrounded by her children. She is survived by her brother, Howard Stapp (Marie) of Rancho Cordova, California and his family, a half-sister, Donna Blaylock of California, her children Derek Messer (Lara), of Neenah, Wisconsin and Nikki Christian (David) of Anniston, Alabama, her grandchildren Austin Messer, Karrah Staats (Paul), Amanda Escue (Tiffany), Jennifer Messer (Bobby Storck), Hannah Christian, Maren Christian, and Jackson Vendola, and her great grandson Robert Storck.
She was preceded in death by her husband Paul P. Messer, her parents, Curtis C. and Ivy Blackwell Stapp, and an older brother Curtis Stapp who passed away in infancy.
Shirley May Stapp was born in Mesa, AZ on October 22, 1933 to Curtis C. and Ivy Blackwell Stapp. The oldest of two surviving children, Shirley attended Vacaville high school in Vacaville, CA, and graduated from Merritt School of Nursing in Oakland, CA, as an R.N. Upon graduation, she worked as a nurse until she met and married Paul P. Messer in 1956.
On their honeymoon, Shirley contracted polio, which confined her to a wheelchair, and which would challenge her for much of her life. She would go on to shed the wheelchair, braces, and crutches to walk and live a productive and meaningful life.
She and Paul adopted their two children in CA before moving to Anniston, AL in furtherance of Paul’s career. There, Shirley poured her efforts into raising her children, being the beloved neighborhood mom, and volunteering in the community. Among other organizations, Shirley was very active with the American Red Cross, Interfaith Ministries, The Salvation Army, Meals on Wheels, ARC, the many programs of Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church and others.
Shirley’s love for her family and friends was unconditional, and she was greatly loved in return. Her commitment to her faith was also an inspiration to many and a great comfort to her. She will be buried in a private ceremony and laid to rest beside her beloved late husband, Paul, in Anniston. While she often said her children were her biggest blessing, it is us, her children, who were truly blessed to have her as our mother.
Friends who wish to honor her memory with a gift are encouraged to donate to those organizations closest to her heart: The American Red Cross, The Salvation Army, Interfaith Ministries, the ARC of Calhoun & Cleburne Counties and Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church in Anniston.
- Derek Messer (Lara), Son
- Nikki Christian (David), Daughter
- Austin Messer, Grandchild
- Karrah Staats (Paul), Grandchild
- Amanda Escue (Tiffany), Grandchild
- Jennifer Messer (Bobby Storck), Grandchild
- Hannah Christian, Grandchild
- Maren Christian, Grandchild
- Jackson Vendola, Grandchild
- Robert Storck, Great Grandchild
- Howard Stapp (Marie), Brother
- Donna Blaylock, Half Sister
- The American Red Cross
- The Salvation Army
- Interfaith Ministries
- The Arc of Calhoun and Cleburne Counties
- Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church in Anniston