A Memory of Muriel

“The only truly dead are those who are forgotten.”     — Jewish proverb

Muriel, we will never forget you.

Upon the first anniversary of Muriel’s passing, I wanted to again share my remembrances of my beloved wife of 49 years.  My Facebook post in memory of Muriel,  can be found on at my Facebook page, along with a collage of photos:


Here is the text of that post:

A Memory of Muriel

Thank all of you so much for your condolences and memories of Muriel. They are deeply appreciated. As a rule, I’m not a big fan of the many Facebook activities, and only obtained an account because it was required to make my political commentaries appear on the blogs of our local paper; so this is my first personal post.

I’m posting this note to honor my beloved wife of 49 years, Muriel, who passed away on August 11, 2017. It is hard to describe how blessed I was to have her in my life. The truth is that she informed my life — loving me unconditionally, supporting me without reservation, enriching my life in so many ways and forgiving my (sometimes massive) mistakes and stupidities. She was my wife, my lover, my best friend and devoted mother to our children Becca and Matt. Muriel was a very modest person. Yet she was a person of considerable accomplishment. I wanted people to realize that, so in her obituary I catalogued much of her professional work. She wanted a simple celebration of her life and to be cremated upon death. We (Becca, Matt and Christy, and I) respected those wishes and used Aspen Funeral Services to that end. Her obituary follows these comments, but you can find the Lincoln Journal Star listing of it at this link:


There is so much more that could be said about her personal life, her fabulous haute cuisine French dinners, her warm family life, her many church activities, her volunteering to teach English (ESL) to Iraqi Yazidi and Muslim refugees, and so forth. She loved people and that love permeated her life. What was less obvious was her powerful spirit. It’s ironic that when she recovered from her first bout with breast cancer in 2000 by way of a lumpectomy and radiation, we were so relieved that it appeared that chemo was unnecessary. However, she never felt quite well afterwards, seemed to go slowly downhill, and we ascribed it to other of the many health issues that she suffered. When she was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in 2010, she was determined to overcome it; and so she battled it for seven years, going through so many different chemo treatments that we lost count. In the end her body could not match her fighting spirit and it succumbed to the inevitable. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the staff at Nebraska Hematology-Oncology for their warm and loving support, their fierce efforts to extend Muriel’s life over the seven years that they served her. Likewise, I would like to thank the caring staff of Nebraska Internal Medicine, where Muriel was promoted to “VIP” status. And finally, I am grateful for the compassionate staff at Horisun Hospice who relieved Muriel of so much suffering and made her last days peaceful as well as attending to the pain and sorrow of those left behind. Thank you so much. All of you.

In our celebration of her life on Sunday, August 20, Christy (Matt’s wife) organized a lovely photo collage of Muriel’s life and Matt made a display of some pictures and documents that we had collected to highlight her life for a small group of friends to view. Muriel was clear about it: good wine, good food and good friends to remember her. I didn’t notice until the next day that someone had left a tiny easel and miniature canvas with these words: “kind heart, fierce mind, brave spirit”. How fitting for Muriel (thank you, Diane!).

From our many photos we also culled a set from which we could crop a photo of her alone for her obituary. I would like to share these photos in roughly chronological order of Muriel’s life. All of us loved her radiant smile, which is evident in this small collage.  (The collage can be found on my Facebook link.)

Lincoln Journal Star Obituary, August 22, 2017:

Muriel Helen Shores


October 8, 1942 – August 11, 2017

Muriel Helen Shores passed away peacefully on Friday evening, August 11, surrounded by her family. Muriel was born in Staten Island New York on October 8, 1942 to William and Helen Boland. She graduated from St. Peter’s High School for Girls in 1960 and earned a degree in French in 1964 at Notre Dame College of Staten Island. She also spent her junior year studying at the Sorbonne in Paris and was awarded a Diplome Superieur.

Muriel’s outgoing love of people and intellectual curiosity are reflected in her varied career choices which were intertwined with her passion for learning. Upon finishing her undergraduate work, she taught French at Countess Moore High School in Staten Island. During summers she pursued graduate studies at L’ecole francaise at Middlebury College in Vermont. After two years she decided to pursue graduate studies at the University of Kansas. As she was finishing her Masters in French, she met her future husband Thomas Shores. For them it was love at first sight and they were married the following year in 1968, whereupon she moved to Nebraska and taught French at Creighton University. She then taught French at Lincoln Northeast High School while pursuing doctoral studies at UNL. Family was always first with Muriel, so she took a three year sabbatical from any work to be a full-time mom for her daughter Rebecca (born 1972.) She continued her French studies with part time work as a college French instructor and correspondence instructor at the UNL Division of Continuing Studies as well, where she rewrote an award winning First Year High School French textbook (with time off for her son Matthew born in 1975).

Muriel was the first instructor at the Division to transfer materials via modem from a personal computer to a dedicated word processor at the Division, which foreshadowed her future professional work. She took undergraduate courses at UNL in Computer Science and earned a Certificate in Microcomputers Applications Technology at Southeast Community College (SCC) in 1984. During her husband’s sabbatical at North Carolina State University (NCSU) she took a position as microcomputer training specialist for a division at NCSU. Upon return to Lincoln she took a position at SCC as computer specialist and instructor, where she designed and taught courses in software applications. In 1988 she took a position at GLR Systems as microcomputer specialist where she rewrote manuals for a comprehensive dental software package and worked with hardware and software installation. In 1990 received the Honored Graduate Award for Microcomputer Applications at SCC and took a position in the Nebraska Department of Health as Information Center Supervisor, where she managed the entire computer system for the department. In 1993 she took the position of Information Systems Manager at the Nebraska State Patrol. There she was given complete responsibility for the planning, design and implementation of the Strategic Plan for Computerization of the Patrol (625 employees.) Under her guidance the existing system of two minicomputers and a handful of non-networked microcomputers was modernized to a fully networked system of microcomputers across the state of Nebraska. In addition to her supervisory work, she was project manager for some major technology initiatives for the State Patrol. She retired in 2000 when she was first diagnosed with the breast cancer that, in spite of surgery and treatments, returned in 2010 as metastatic cancer.

Although professional and intellectual life were important to her, Muriel loved people above all. Perhaps that why she was so successful as a teacher and in her varied supervisory roles. She was completely devoted to her family and they loved her deeply in return. Her gentle spirit and kind thoughtfulness, infectious enthusiasm and beautiful smile will be long remembered by all those who knew her.

She is survived by her husband Thomas Shores, son Matthew (Christy) Shores, daughter Rebecca (Keith) Morrow, granddaughters Catalina and Lilliana Shores, sister Betty Homan, nephews Christian Lockhart and Joseph Boland, and niece Kim Hoffman. She will be deeply and sorely missed by all who loved her. Memorials are suggested to the People’s City Mission or Matt Talbot Kitchen. Condolences to http://www.aspenaftercare.com.

A Postscript:

December 28, 2018, would have been our 50th Anniversary together.  We had hoped to make it that far together, but sadly it was not to be.

Muriel and Tom, 1968-2017