Shirley (VanTiflin) Bittner passed into eternal life on May 4, 2015 at 90 years of age. Her death brings the end of a generation to the Bittner and VanTiflin families. Shirley was born on October 10, 1924 in Saginaw, MI. She was a lifelong resident there until moving to Grand Rapids in 2003 upon the death of her beloved husband of 58 years.
Shirley was preceded in death by her parents Donald and Edna VanTiflin, her husband Clayton L. Bittner, her son James C. Bittner, and her brother Raymond VanTiflin. Also preceding her in death were two daughters-in-law: Mary Bittner (Jim) and Patti Bittner (Ed). Shirley’s career in Saginaw, MI included working as a Page at the Franklin Theatre, a Stenographer for the City of Saginaw, and as a Teller at Second National Bank of Saginaw. However, by her own words, her greatest pride came from raising “my three sons born within 4 1/2 years”. Shirley had a very creative side. She was known as a person with a great wit, as evidenced by her original poems and creative writing. She had a wonderful voice and loved to sing and harmonize with others. Dancing to “Big Band” music with “Clate”, especially their self-proclaimed theme song, “Satin Doll”, was how she enjoyed spending many Saturday nights with friends. Watching a good movie or reading something of interest were also activities she enjoyed. Shirley moved to Grand Rapids and lived 11 years making friends and having fun at Sentinel Pointe Retirement Community. The last year of her life was lived at St. Ann’s Home in Grand Rapids where she enjoyed being respectfully cared for, praying the Rosary and attending Mass almost daily, and preparing for her “Discharge to Heaven”. She had an enduring devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary that was present through her final days. Shirley is survived by her sons, Donald (Bridget) Bittner of Ada, MI and Edward Bittner of Saginaw, MI. She is survived by her grandchildren, Matt (Katie) Bittner, Missy (George) Sharpe, Paul (Claire) Bittner, Eva Bittner, Edna Bittner, Ed (Jaime) Bittner, Heather (John) Earle, Rozlyn (Dan) Mercier, Dean Bittner, Connor Bittner, and many great-grandchildren. She is also survived by her nieces and nephews and their families. Visitation will be held Friday 5-8:00 p.m. with the Rosary recited at 7:45 p.m. at O’Brien-Eggebeen-Gerst Chapel, 3980 Cascade Rd. S.E., Grand Rapids. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Saturday 11:00 a.m. with visitation one hour prior at St. Robert of Newminster Parish, 6477 Ada Dr., Ada. Rev. Leonard Sudlik presiding. Interment St. Andrew Cemetery, Saginaw, MI. Memorial contributions may be made to St. Ann’s Home, 2161 Leonard St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504.