Irish eyes were crying when the Lord called Shirley Ann (nee Ballam) Devine, 84, on Friday, April 12, 2013. Shirley was born in Madison, Wisconsin, on Sept. 14, 1928, the second daughter of Grace (nee Finnegan) and Cyril Ballam.
She graduated from Madison East High School in 1947, where her talents were displayed in both softball and music. As a high school senior, she was asked to be a soloist in the State Capital Rotunda for the annual Christmas Pageant. In 1951, Shirley married her high school sweetheart, James “Andy” Devine—starting a 62-year-long journey as wife and mother to nine children.
If ever there was a hockey mom, Shirley set the gold standard. With most of her children involved in speed skating and four boys playing hockey all at the same time, she endured ice skating races at Vilas, attended countless hockey and football games as No. 1 fan, laundered mountains of jerseys, and was always prepared with enough food on hand to feed a crowd. She made it look easy to host spaghetti dinners for team members, all the while caring for the littlest ones in the household.
Shirley got a break from the demands of busy family life when she traveled to Innsbruck, Austria, for the 1976 Olympic Games, while her husband served as business manager for Bob Johnson’s U.S.A. hockey team—one of the few trips that took her away from her children.
Making its contribution to a thriving family, “Shirley’s kitchen” had a restaurant-style milk dispenser that reached iconic status in the neighborhood. Shirley’s unconditional love and the allure of that milk dispenser was an open invitation for the childrens’ friends to drop in any time—treating each child as her own and taking time to sit and chat with adults and children alike.
Summer offered a different pace for the family—an island cottage in Minocqua where Shirley had gone since she was a child—now plays host to her grandchildren for north woods fun and relaxation. We won’t think of the island without seeing Shirley and great-grandma Grace gazing out the big picture window over the lake, reading their novels snug in the pine living room and preparing yet more food—for all of us.
Retirement years saw Shirley and her husband enjoying beachfront property on the Florida gulf. Like the north woods island, she invited many friends to their “home away from home.” Grown kids were always welcome and she delighted in watching the grandchildren swim in the pool and collect shells on the beach.
The years never relaxed their grip on friendships that first bonded long ago—girlfriends of ‘50s and ‘60s vintage stayed close as women friends, sharing life’s ups and downs. Shirley cherished each of those women in the “Support Group” and they will go on, with one less of their own.
Shirley is survived by her beloved husband, James T. ”Andy” Devine; eight children: Jim (Edie) Devine of Fitchburg, Ann (Dan) Davidson of Madison, Kathy Devine of Vienna, Austria, Mary Devine of Madison, Tim Devine (Nicole) of Delray Beach, FL, Pat Devine (Tesa) of Osprey, FL, Colleen (Dennis) Koch of Missoula, MT, and A.J. (Sandy) Devine of Fitchburg; twelve grandchildren: Andrea (Adam) Kling, Bart Davidson, Danielle Devine-Winner, Cris Winner, Max and Ali Devine, Ben Devine, Emily Devine, Nick and Michael Devine, and Jessica and Melissa Koch; and a sister, Lari Dhein of Hilton Head, SC. Shirley was preceded in death by a son, Thomas Devine.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, April 19, 2013, at BLESSED SACRAMENT CATHOLIC CHURCH, 2131 Rowley Ave., Madison, with Father DePorres Durham, O.P. officiating. Visitation will be held from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 18, 2013, at JOYCE-RYAN FUNERAL HOME, 5701 Odana Road, Madison and also from 10 a.m. until the time of Mass on Friday at the church. Burial will follow at Resurrection Catholic Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Education Endowment Fund for Blessed Sacrament Parish School or the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Wisconsin.
Blessed are we that came into your life...your laughter, love, and smiles were undeniable. For all the generations that you welcomed into your home and heart, we cherish you... . Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.