Penny K. Shirk, 55

Penny K. Shirk, 55, of Ellwood City passed away Saturday, November 14, 2015 at the Ellwood City Hospital following a lingering illness.

Born July 21, 1960 in Ellwood City, she was the daughter of the late Robert L. Epling and Sandy Wachtel. She was married to Tom Shirk who passed away in 1997.

Penny graduated from Lincoln High School. She worked as a ground support supervisor in the Aviation Department of Hall Industries. She loved to read. She was a very domesticated woman, enjoying gardening, baking, cooking, and canning.

Survivors include a sister, Glenys (Tom) Fogelsonger of Big Beaver; two brothers, Jeffrey (Billie Jo) Epling of Spencer, West Virginia, Robert W. Epling of New Castle; very special friend, Jimmy Wallace of Ellwood City; and a number of nieces and nephews.

In addition to her parents and husband, she was preceded in death by a son, Joe Aegan in 2010.

Visiting hours will be held on Tuesday November 17 from 5 pm until the time of the funeral service at 7 pm at the Marshall Funeral Home 200 Fountain Ave. Ellwood City. Rev. Corben Russell will officiate the services.


Memorial Contributions may be made to Vitas Hospice, 2009 Mackenzie Way, Suite 110 Cranberry Township, PA 16066.

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One thought on “Penny K. Shirk, 55

  1. After reading my Aunt Penny’s obituary and thinking back to our conversations over the last year, I decided she deserved an obituary Great Grandma Epling style.

    On 14 November 2015, Penny Shirk took her first steps as a guardian angel. Penny started her application when she selflessly reconnected with her family without telling them she didn’t have much time left. Bygones were left in the past and new relationships born. She shared stories of the family, while getting to know those she lost contact with.

    Now I can only speculate on the conversations she had with others, but Aunt Pen reminded me that she was proud of me. We reminisced about our past and a story about Dan came up. He would ride his bike to visit Aunt Pen and head straight towards her snack stash. She remembered these visits fondly and was proud of the man he became.

    When her mother passed away, Aunt Pen notified me and explained the woman who was an absent grandmother. In her own pain, Aunt Pen took the time to wish her mother would find happiness and reminisced how her mom would call her every night and ask the same questions about to make sure she and Buddy cat were ok and the doors were locked.

    Aunt Penny would talk to me about my writing, she loved the post about the Vietnam Vet who I had lunch with and it made her proud that I am her niece. She encouraged me to look into writing freelance (One of the reasons I am writing this tonight). Then she told me things about my Great Grandma which I take after. These stories brought tears to my eyes and helped me get to know a woman I wasn’t old enough to appreciate. I am going to miss these stories.

    She only focused on good positive things when we spoke to include new births, my wedding, Danny’s wedding, and the good in our lives. Never once did she complain about her health, even though after talking to my father about the amount of pain she was in. The last message she left me was on my wedding day to send positive thoughts and prayers. My heart is broken that we didn’t have any more conversations and I missed out so many stories, but she is in a better place. She is no longer in pain and now serves as one of our guardian angels.

    Today, I know she was responsible for two random acts of kindness to ease my pain. Twice today I had someone pay for our meal out of the blue for our service. The second meal is when I found out. I had a peanut butter and chocolate milk shake and it fit in the moment perfectly. I got home and my husband met me at the car with a hug, it is exactly what I needed.

    Rest in Peace Aunt Penny, we love you.

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