Floral 04
Official Obituary of

Shurla (Smith) Richardson

September 19, 1936 ~ March 8, 2024 (age 87) 87 Years Old

Shurla Richardson Obituary

Shurla Richardson was born in La Porte, Indiana on September 19, 1936 to Charles and Helen (Surowiec) Smith. She was the second born of four siblings whom she fondly adored and often talked about. They kept busy being creative, playing outside, and helping the family as much as possible.

Shurla worked at the local dime store, Kresge’s. One evening in high school, she went to the La Porte Roller Rink to “watch the roller skaters do their tricks''. Shurla couldn’t keep her eyes off this one guy out on the floor, ‘rexing, dipping, and spinning’ to electronic organ music. Just the same, she caught his eye. He asked her to couple’s skate, she laughed and told him he would have to hold her up the whole time, and the rest is history.

Gerald and Shurla Richardson married on June 6, 1954, and went on to have four boys, Bruce (Laura) Richardson, Brad (Dawn) Richardson, Byron (Dana) Richardson, and Brian (Jackie) Richardson. Shurla often reminisced of these times when the boys would play sports, Jerry would film everything, and she would take care of home and domestically provide for her family. It gave her a sense of purpose, and everything made sense.

When the first grandchild, Kelly (Norah) Richardson was born she said that began, “…the best years of my life.” Her grandchildren thus followed: Nolan (Lana), Dahlia, Malone Richardson, Christopher (Callie Bolster) Richardson, Lindsay Richardson, Kyle (Mila) Richardson, Mallorie (Brian), Rylee, Maddox Knapp, and Brock (Ashley), Harper Smith.

Shurla thrived when she was with her grandkids. They went camping all over in their camper, rode bicycles, and took breaks in corn field sprinklers, made homemade play dough, shot pool, swam and ate snacks outdoors in the summer, listened to music, played dress-up, cuddled and laughed at her witty jokes, went shopping or just hung out to talk, but most of all, they all got to feel a love that was so magical and so special that only Grandma Shurla could give.

Shurla never spoke of her resilience and perseverance, how she is a breast cancer survivor, or how her pregnancies were a miracle. She never liked to be the center of attention or to be fussed over. She was a listener, kind and generous, poised with dignity, and had a sense of humor that would seemingly come from nowhere. Her comedic timing was perfect.

However, her life began to change after her Parkinson’s Disease diagnosis in 2013, and she began to slow down physically and spend more time home. The disease is not instantaneous, there is no cure. It’s “patiently waiting to maybe get worse” or “impatiently waiting to maybe be better.” Yet, Shurla seemed to stay ahead of the emotional toll of the disease.

She continued to serve lunch at noon for all her boys, would watch the great-grandkids whenever she could, and still had her daily talks with her brother on the telephone. Yet in 2020, Gerald’s health abruptly declined, and he passed away peacefully with Shurla by his side. His death took a part of her heart that could never be replaced.

The sorrow and strain these last four years have taken on Shurla have shown just how strong she was, even to the end. Parkinson’s Disease not only takes away the simplicity of daily functioning, but also mentally deteriorates those who suffer. The woman who once took care of everyone else ended up relying on everyone else to take care of her.

The support of her boys, daughters-in-law, grandkids and Kim Rose, her niece, that she fondly called the daughter she never had, to the end showed how beautiful life had come full circle. She felt comfort in her familiar surroundings, knew who she could be stubborn with and couldn’t, and could still throw in some quick wit here and there. In the last few days, Shurla was surrounded by those who meant the world to her and whose lives she impacted so greatly. She was beautiful, angelic and finally, at peace.

On Friday, March 8 th after an 11-year battle with Parkinson’s Disease, Shurla Richardson, 87, of La Porte, Indiana comfortably passed away in her home. She has taken Jerry’s hand, joined him on the rink and can now roller skate alongside her forever. “Love you, more”

She is survived by her sons/spouses; seven grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; and her sister, Cheech Lawson. She was preceded in death by her parents; husband; siblings, Elenor Levandowski, and Michael Smith; and great-grandson, Lennox Richardson.

Cremation has taken place with Frank L. Keszei Funeral Home, Essling Chapel in La Porte, Indiana. To light a virtual candle, share a story of Shurla’s life or leave a message of comfort for her family, please visit esslingfuneralhome.com.

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