Ethel Loretta Shannon
September 14, 1922 – May 17, 2020
ETHEL LORETTA SHANNON 1922 - 2020
Ethel Loretta Shannon, age 97, passed away peacefully at her home on Sunday, May 17, 2020 with her children by her side. She was a caring, generous woman, and she exuded a passion for life and learning that followed her through the years.
Ethel was born on September 14, 1922 in Houston, Texas to Mabel Charlotte Hansen and John Ausbon Florida, Sr. She was the oldest of three children and often spoke of her happy childhood that was nurtured and enriched by her mother who made education a top priority. Her family lived on a dairy farm in Alvin, Texas and she attended “school” at home with her sister, Leona and brother, Johnnie. They studied penmanship, read stories, memorized poetry, studied the stars, learned about art, music and history and were set free to roam the farm. The family moved to Normangee, Texas in 1930 and Ethel finished her 3rd grade year in a public school. The family loved Normangee, and Ethel continued to deepen her love of learning. She competed in county spelling bees, took piano lessons, and loved reciting poetry in area contests. But perhaps her most profound “education” came from her relationship with Christ and studying the bible. The family joined the Baptist church in Normangee, and at age 9, she was baptized in the river as the sun was setting – a memory she cherished. The family moved back to Alvin where Ethel attended high school. This was an exciting experience for her as she was part of the very first debate team at her school. She also was selected to be a twirler with the band and spoke often of the fun she had at football games, taking hayrides, and going to carnivals. Her desire to learn and to excel earned her the honor of Valedictorian of her class, graduating at the age of 16. For her hard work, she was awarded a full scholarship to Mary Hardin Baylor College for Women where she took classes which prepared her for a career as a secretary; first at an auto company, then at the Naval Air Station in Hitchcock, Texas after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. While working as the secretary to the Commanding Officer she met and fell madly in love with Edward Darrell Shannon, a Marine at the base. They were married in the First Baptist Church in Alvin on November 11, 1944 - a marriage that lasted 75 wonderful years.
Ethel was a devoted wife; a loving mother to her two children Loretta and Walter; a loving grandmother and great grandmother; always involved, helping and supporting them, cheering them on – sharing her joy of each and every day. Hers was a life filled with work, investment club, women’s club, bridge, trips to see our great country, and travel to see all the wonders of Europe and Russia. Her home was always open for small and large gatherings, and there was always a family celebration that needed to be hosted and planned. She loved entertaining – being surrounded by family and friends made her heart happy! She loved to cook, taking cooking classes and collecting a large number of cookbooks throughout her life. She studied the arts, attended symphonies, plays, ballets, always including her children; always teaching them to appreciate the arts. And as she aged, she never slowed down. She took a college English class and piano lessons in her 70s and took her first cruise in her 80’s – always involved, always interested, always a friend to all. She never stopped wanting to learn or expand her horizons. As a result, in her 90’s she wrote the “History of the Hansen Family” with her niece, Charlotte Simpson. It was a labor of love and produced 2 beautifully bound volumes over 700 pages each. A lasting legacy for generations to come. And most importantly was her faith in God. Church and Sunday School was a strong part of her life – a gift from her Mother. Ethel and her husband Eddie moved to Houston in 1949 and joined Second Baptist Church. She was a devoted and active member of the Forum Bible Class and later Gospel Truth Bible Study, helping with hospital and homebound visitation and Christian service. In her own words, “I truly believe that it has been the influence of my mother, my weekly attendance at church, participation in so many uplifting activities and my faith in our Heavenly Father that has blessed my family throughout their lives. May God bless all of you….”
Ethel will continue to be loved and remembered by her daughter, Loretta and her husband Dick Woodall; son, Walter and his wife Elaine; her 3 grandchildren -- Leah and her husband Mike Noble, Richard Woodall and his wife Erin, and Eva Marie Shannon; and 5 great-grandchildren -- Madison and Jake Noble and Stella, Johnny, and Bo Woodall; nieces, a nephew, and cousins. She was preceded in death by her husband, Edward Darrell Shannon; her parents, Mabel and John Florida; her sister, Leona Fletcher; her brother, John A. Florida, Jr., and a nephew. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, there will be a private viewing and graveside service. In lieu of flowers, please consider making donations in her memory to Second Baptist Church, 6400 Woodway, Houston, Texas 77057.
Ethel Loretta Shannon
May 21, 2020
I have so many wonderful memories of Aunt Ethel, but I will never forget her desire to keep in touch with her family and the two years we spent together creating the family genealogy. She loved her family and could remember so many details from her childhood, family events, travels abroad, work as a secretary, and her church and club activities. She never gave up, and I can still see her sitting for hours and hours practicing the piano trying to play as well as Walter and not understanding why her tempo was off so often. I will miss her very much but truly believe she is celebrating her new life in the arms of her Heavenly Father.