Shirley Ducey

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September 19, 1929 - May 20, 2020
Born in Hardin, IL
Resided in St. Charles, MO

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Our mother, Shirley Etter Ducey, passed into eternal life, marked with the sign of faith, on May 20, 2020.  She was preceded in death by her parents, Lee and Mildred Etter, of Hardin, Illinois, her brother, Jack Etter, her sister, Audrey Johnson, and her husband, Patrick Ducey.  May they rest in peace. 

Our mother’s life work was raising her four daughters and her devotion to the lives of unborn children and their mothers.  She was a founding member, volunteer, longtime Director of Services, and board member of Birthright Counseling, St. Louis, where she and her best friends worked together on this life-giving mission.  She approached the end of her days at peace, knowing that she had given her best to her family and the Lord God. 

Shirley is survived by four daughters, Mary Kathleen Ducey, Anne Ducey Williams (Mike), Jane Ellen Ducey, and Barbara Ducey Bowden (David), four grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren, all beloved.  A private funeral Mass will be celebrated this week.  When, at a later date, travel and gathering restrictions are relaxed, a larger celebration of Shirley’s life will be held. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Our Lady’s Inn (


Guestbook Entries

  1. Holly Gulick May 23, 2020 at 8:41 am - Reply

    I know Shirley from Birthright, and she will always be remembered by me for her sweet smile and strong-willed manner.
    She has found peace.
    Holly Gulick
    Phone mentor – Brentwood office

  2. Bill Borst May 24, 2020 at 8:31 am - Reply

    candle 3A real inspiration to all that knew her. The Face of Birthright.

    • Mary (Kate) Ducey May 24, 2020 at 12:53 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Bill. She really admired you and often sent me your essays to read.

  3. Joan McGinnis May 24, 2020 at 9:30 am - Reply

    I worked at Birthright for about 4 yrs as a Field Service Volunteer, Shirley was the boss when I was there and was very inspir8ng to me and very supportive to me as a young mother. I met Mary Ducey who was a Philosophy graduate student at the time. I heard a bit about your family of which Shirley was very proud. I hope that she enjoyed great retirement and did not suffer poor health. What a lovely person she was. I am sure she is up there with many of my friends and my husband. Joan McGinnis, Brentwood office.

    • Mary (Kate) Ducey May 24, 2020 at 3:36 pm - Reply

      Thanks for your kind words, Joan.

    • Patricia Boedeker June 6, 2020 at 8:52 am - Reply

      I am a church sister/friend of Glenda Amey who asked me and others to pray for Shirley. And did we pray! She was treated and sent home a few encouraging times till the Lord said “That’s enough, Shirley, now come Home and reap your Rewards.
      I would have liked Shirley. Fighting for life is a noble cause and she did it with courage and unwavering dedication. As a nurse I understand that battle. God equips us and blesses us to fight the battles. Shirley is now at rest from battling and has been welcomed by Jesus, the Finisher of Our Faith in Him.

  4. Joe Ortwerth May 24, 2020 at 9:43 am - Reply

    Shirley’s passion for the health of pregnant women and their children was unrivalled. She was a pioneer in building Birthright into the life-changing organization that it is today in the St. Louis area. Thanks to her resolve and personal sacrifice, many children have experienced life and many women have known healing and hope. She left as a huge legacy as one of the founding mothers of the pregnancy care movement in the St. Louis area.

  5. John Doyle May 24, 2020 at 3:18 pm - Reply

    What a wonderful gift your mother gave to Birthright and those mothers. Our moms were good friends at St. Casimir’s. I know they are both in heaven now.

    • Mary (Kate) Ducey May 24, 2020 at 3:39 pm - Reply

      Good to hear from you, John. Good memories from St. Casimir’s.

  6. Mary Fran Johnson, CSJ May 24, 2020 at 5:18 pm - Reply

    Mary, I wish you my deepest sympathy. I wish I knew how to contact you. Mary Fran Johnson, CSJ.

    • Mary (Kate) Ducey May 24, 2020 at 7:10 pm - Reply

      Mary Fran, thanks–wonderful to hear from you:

    • Sheri Petruso- Birthright St. Charles May 25, 2020 at 5:25 pm - Reply

      candle 7Shirley deserves all honor & respect for her passion to help mothers & the unborn, along with her drive & vision to start & grow Birthright into the positive impact & alternative to abortion it is today. She has definitely left a lasting legacy. Many lives contribute to & grace society today because of the love, care & support given to their mothers through the work of those Shirley gathered for the name of Birthright.
      She will truly be missed by many.

  7. Glenda Lorene Amey May 24, 2020 at 7:55 pm - Reply

    Oh my sweet Shirley! I miss you so much already. Our deep friendship started 34 years ago when you hired me as the director of Birthright of St. Charles. You were my mentor. When it was time for us to both leave Birthright we would often say “it was a good ride”. Indeed it was,meeting the needs of thousands of frightened, needy pregnant women and their unborn babies. I cherish every minute we spent together whether it was working , going to Harden to put flowers on your parent’s graves or just stopping by your place for coffee. You will always be my Boss Chick.

  8. Gary Dodds May 24, 2020 at 10:16 pm - Reply

    candle 7With God’s speed to gods angel welcomed home

  9. Hank Clever May 25, 2020 at 7:41 am - Reply

    Like Glenda had said, Shirley was truly a mentor to me. They are great people in the world, and then there are those who exceed what great people do because of their humble, gentle, courageous attitudes that be lying the conviction in their hearts that they are doing the right thing, bringing God present in the world and making all of us better. That was Shirley. I am so grateful for all that she gave me and all that she taught me. I ask for her prayers from heaven.

    • Joy Quante May 25, 2020 at 9:51 am - Reply

      I worked with Shirley at Birthright Saint Charles. She was a true gem & I loved her immediately & haven’t stopped since! We teased about being birthday twins & she shared her wisdom, prayers & faith so freely. She left an amazing legacy & touched so many & I’m so grateful to be apart of that long list! Sending thoughts & prayers to all of you!

  10. Ron and Ruth Ann Bauers May 25, 2020 at 1:46 pm - Reply

    Shirley was a great lady in every way. She was such a defender of the unborn never wavering in her convictions. She dedicated her life to helping others. She was a faithful friend and devout Catholic. Always someone to look up to and admire. She will be missed by so many.

  11. Joyce May 25, 2020 at 5:47 pm - Reply

    candle 5Shirley will be missed by so many and leaves behind a wonderful and powerful legacy.

  12. Norma Mattingly May 25, 2020 at 8:24 pm - Reply

    candle 5It is inspiring to learn of Shirley’s good works as a woman of faith. May her legacy live on.

  13. Norma Mattingly May 25, 2020 at 8:26 pm - Reply

    candle 3It is inspiring to know of Shirley’s good works as a woman of faith. May her legacy live on.

  14. Donna O'Donnell May 25, 2020 at 9:11 pm - Reply

    Anne, Mike, Nate and Family: Sending hugs and prayers to all of you on the loss of Shirley. My Mom was one of Shirley’s biggest fans and so enjoyed working with her on Birthright projects. I loved seeing her at Birthright events and at Tommy and Nate’s games. She was a lovely, loving lady who showed us all how it’s done. May your sweet memories help you through this time.

    • Glenda Lorene Amey May 26, 2020 at 4:29 pm - Reply

      Oh Donna, how we loved your Mom

    • Anne May 29, 2020 at 1:57 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Donna, Mom felt the same about Grandma Mary and all her Birthright family. Hope all is well with you and your family 💖

  15. Pat Baird May 26, 2020 at 8:49 am - Reply

    Shirley had so many passions, her work, her faith, her children, her grandchildren and great grandchildren, she loved them all deeply. Shirley had another passion , shopping! Yep, she loved to shop mostly for others, she and I bonded at Dillards. I always admired her sense of style, she was quick with a compliment and enjoyed a good laugh. We sheltered through hurricanes and both got in big trouble on FB, job well done Shirley RIP now ❤️ Love you forever my friend.

  16. Marilyn Pieper May 27, 2020 at 12:10 pm - Reply

    Shirley was my dear Birthright friend of 32+ years! She was ALWAYS my mentor…and will continue to be.

    Dearest love,
    Marilyn Pieper

  17. Marilyn Pieper May 27, 2020 at 1:16 pm - Reply

    Shirley was my dear friend at Birthright for 32+ years! She was ALWAYS my mentor…and will Certainly continue to be. Dearest love, Marilyn Pieper

  18. Joy Ochs May 27, 2020 at 5:46 pm - Reply

    I am so sorry for your loss. I know how much you were looking forward to spending time with your mother, Mary. I am holding you and your family in my heart.

  19. Carol Cross May 27, 2020 at 6:03 pm - Reply

    May God, in His great love, grant her eternal peace. Sending our love and prayers…

  20. Maureen Zink May 28, 2020 at 8:23 pm - Reply

    Shirley established Birthright in St Louis 49 years ago. Because of Shirley women have a safe place to go where they will be supported in choosing life for their babies. Shirley was passionate about a woman’s right to have her baby and her baby’s right to be born.
    She was also passionate about women being loved and comforted at Birthright, not judged or preached to.
    Shirley was a strong leader and had great foresight.
    I was blessed and lucky to know and work with Shirley.
    Love and prayers,
    Maureen Zink

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