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Shirley Ann Knoke (Wokojance)

July 10, 1934 - April 20, 2020

Graveside memorial services for Shirley Ann Knoke, 85 of Sallisaw, Oklahoma will be at 10:00 AM on Thursday, April 23, 2020 at Sallisaw City Cemetery in Sallisaw, Oklahoma under the direction of Agent Mallory Martin Funeral Service, Inc.

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Graveside memorial services for Shirley Ann Knoke, 85 of Sallisaw, Oklahoma will be at 10:00 AM on Thursday, April 23, 2020 at Sallisaw City Cemetery in Sallisaw, Oklahoma under the direction of Agent Mallory Martin Funeral Service, Inc.

She was born on July 10, 1934 in St. Clairsville, OH to Bill and Mary (Kubalek) Wokojance and passed away on April 20, 2020 in Gore, Oklahoma.

Shirley was preceded in death by her husband: Don, parents, brother: Bill Wokojance and a daughter-in-law: Deborah.

She is survived by 2 sons: Russell and wife Debbie of Sallisaw, OK and Jeff of Oologah, OK; 4 grandsons: Tyler and wife Melora of Sallisaw, OK, Max of Tulsa, OK, Kurtis of Oologah, OK and Jeffry and wife Angelica of Blanchard; 4 great grandchildren: Kynzi of Inola, OK, Broox, Kole and August of Sallisaw, OK; and her constant companion, her dog Tucker.

Shirley was ten years old when her father died suddenly. She and her brother were raised by their single working mother who saw to it that all their needs were met.

She was voted “Best Looking” of her Senior class in high school. She graduated and entered the three-year diploma Registered Nurse Program at Ohio Valley General Hospital School of Nursing in Wheeling, West Virginia. Shirley often shared stories of her experiences there – living in a dormitory with a roommate and not many opportunities to go home and visit.

Her primary instructor, Miss Robb, was much admired by Shirley. Miss Robb, a Harvard Nursing School graduate, was a huge influence on Shirley and portrayed a “pristine” example of a Registered Nurse to her. She instilled the value and importance of learning critical thinking and nursing skills and ethics in Shirley. This would mold Shirley into the “nurse of nurses” she was thought to be by many.

During Nursing School, Shirley met Don Knoke, at the Nursing School Graduation Ball where she was crowned Queen of the Ball.

After her graduation in 1955, she and Don continued to date and married in 1956. Shirley started her family and career.

While Russ and Jeff were small, they lived in Maryland and Missouri before settling in Oklahoma with Don’s job as a Chemist at Sequoyah Fuels. Shirley served as a physician’s office nurse and as a labor and delivery nurse (her first love). She often spoke of learning of two conditions she thought to be adverse-breach births and RH negative births.

Russ was a “footling breach” birth and Jeff was born RH negative. She loved to tell those stories up until just recent times – even in public at the grocery store or anywhere the opportunity came up.

In 1969, Shirley, Don and the boys moved to Sallisaw.

She began her career at Sequoyah Memorial Hospital in 1970, starting out as a staff RN working in many capacities, playing an integral role in patient services, and later became Director of Nursing and retired after more than 30 years in 2002. She was a mentor not only in nursing but in leadership to many of the hospital family.

Shirley could be terse and if you were on her staff, you knew what she expected for the patients and you had better deliver or be prepared to have a stern meeting.

She will always be remembered for her signature short hair, quick step, white uniform, straight posture, and whistle as she would walk the walk the hall of the hospital.

Shirley was an avid reader and she and Don loved fishing (trout, ocean surf and deep sea).

They loved trips to South Padre Island and enjoyed many years going there – later there were family trips as well.

Although her career was important, above all, her family was central to her life. She was extremely proud of her sons and daughter in law and their successful careers after college. She was proud of the families they had made and always took special interest in her grandchildren and their endeavors. Gourmet cooking was a hobby she enjoyed and she loved to have her family together for meals.

Shirley had a quick wit and never learned to whisper.

Her faith and church family was vital to her. She was always present in her pew every Sunday until her health prevented it. Although she was glad to see visitors at church, she did not like anyone sitting in her seat.

She was strong willed and fought a harsh disease. No doubt, that disease felt a battle held with Shirley.

In her recent months, although she changed, she remained the same special sophisticated woman and loving mother and will always be thought of as just that.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to First Presbyterian Church – P.O. Box 417 – Sallisaw, OK 74955

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