John E. Shirley, Sr.

October 19th, 2021

John Edward Shirley, Sr., age 66, of Wilmington, formerly of Woburn, passed away on October 12, 2021, at the Lowell General Hospital.

John was born in Boston, MA, on December 5, 1954; he was the dear son of the late Mary (Kelley) Shirley-Helmar. John was raised and educated in Woburn, MA and went on to serve in the United States Army.

John was a hard worker throughout his life, he drove for Woburn Cab for many years, worked for the Steen Family Catering Company, W. B. Mason Office Company and more recently he worked as a salesman in the Auto Industry until his illness forced an early retirement.

John married his former wife Debbie Steen; the couple settled in Wilmington and raised their family. John was a very devoted Dad to John Jr., Danielle, and Leanne; he was very supportive of everything they did and was so proud of them. When the kids were younger, John, enjoyed taking them on long car rides to show them new places, they loved their trips to Hampton Beach, he was always there to attend their school and sporting events or whatever they were involved in. He was one of their biggest fans.

In later years when the grandchildren started to arrive, John proudly took on his role as Grandpa to Haley, Philip, Jacob, Daniel and “Panka” to Brody; he adored his grandchildren and looked forward to the time they spent together.

John had a thirst for knowledge; he learned about many subjects and enjoyed watching the Discovery and History channels or This Old House. John learned about wood working, he was a whiz at electronics and became a regular “Mr. Fix It” to his family and friends; always there to help and offer advice.

John loved cars of all kinds and had a passion for music; classic rock, Pink Floyd, Led Zeplin, the Righteous Brothers and he always belted out his favorite tunes.

In his spare time, John enjoyed cooking for his family, watching sports with his son John, taking in a good movie or some of his favorite television shows like Married with Children.

John will be fondly remembered for his sense of humor, his hard work ethic, his sense of style, he was a sharp dresser, and most importantly his love of his family and friends. John will forever be in the hearts of those he touched.

John was the devoted father of John E. Shirley, Jr. of Wilmington, Danielle M. Shirley of Lowell and Leanne Shirley & her fiancĂ© Joe Marstogiacomo of Billerica, he was the loving “Grandpa” of Haley E. Natale, Philip W. Natale V, Jacob J. Natale, Daniel S. Bates and “Panka” to Brody J. Marstagiacomo. John was the dear brother of Margaret Wetzell of Chelmsford and the late Maureen Ryan. Special nephew of the late Margaret “Marga” Kelley, Uncle of Chip Ryan and Fred Ryan. He is also survived by his former wife and friend Debbie (Steen) Stygles and his large extended Steen Family, his best friend Denise Rodriguez and her sons Harley, Jesse, Raymond, Franky and their families.

Family and friends will gather at the Nichols Funeral Home, 187 Middlesex Ave. (Rte. 62), Wilmington, MA, on Friday, October 22nd for Visitation from 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. with a Service at 11:00 a.m. Interment will follow in Wildwood Cemetery, Wilmington.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in John’s memory to Autism Speaks, 1060 State Road, Second Floor, Princeton, NJ 08540.


2 Entries in Guest Book for “John E. Shirley, Sr.”

  1. Auntie Nancy says:

    Sorry for your loss. Thoughts and prayers for you all. Much love and big hugs. Love auntie Nance and family.

  2. Melissa says:

    I was one of many staff members that took care of John he was a very pleasant man never a bad thing to say about anyone I’m gonna miss him greatly.

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