Shirley Ellen (Houghton Coleman) Harp, 85, of Morrisville, NY passed away on Friday, October 25, 2019 at the Crouse Community Center in Morrisville. Shirley was born on October 28, 1933 in Cambridge, New York to parents, Alice Roosevelt (Webster) and William McKinley Houghton. She moved with her family to Morrisville, New York when she was three years old and graduated from Morrisville-Eaton Central School in 1951. Shirley never pursued an art career in college as was encouraged by her art teacher, instead she stayed close to home and tried one year in the Food Service program at the State University of New York in Morrisville. She then switched her curriculum to one of her compassions - nursing. However, while earning money as a summer waitress at the Majestic Hotel in Lake Placid, she met Leonard “Lennie” James Coleman Jr. who was on military leave. They were married in his hometown of Tupper Lake in 1952. Shirley and Lennie moved to Fayetteville, NC, so Lennie could complete his military (Army) service. Once completed, they moved to Pontiac, Michigan where they both gained employment at Pontiac Motors. Shirley left work to have her only daughter. After a few years, the family moved to Shirley’s hometown of Morrisville, where two sons were born. Shirley was a homemaker and helped to provide for the family by making what was needed or wanted. In addition, Shirley rented rooms to college students, sold ornaments, vegetables, pot holders or whatever to supplement the household income. Shirley’s most successful craft was her hand painted wooden ornaments, which she sold at various craft shows for about 15 years. Her family and friends still decorate their Christmas trees with the ornaments that were given by Shirley. In 1974 Shirley began working with the Faculty Student Association of Morrisville College in the kitchen. In 1975 Shirley and Lennie ended 23 years of marriage, but remained friends throughout their lives. While working at Morrisville College, she met James “Jim” Robert Harp. Shirley and Jim were married in 1979 in Houston, Texas. While living in Humble, TX for three years, Shirley worked in the kitchen for the Humble Independent School System. They moved back north and lived in various towns in western New York, including owning a house in Wyoming, NY. After ten years Shirley and Jim returned back to Morrisville. In 1988 they built Shirley’s dream house, an early American Cape Cod. This was an especially fun project for Shirley as she loved Colonial architecture. Shirley also loved children and set up a babysitting business for infants and young children for nearly four years in their new home.
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Shirley enjoyed cooking/nutrition, baking, sewing, arts & crafts projects, antiques, old architecture, music, dancing, bowling, water skiing, snowmobiling and exercise. Shirley loved traveling and camping with Jim. They started with tent camping and later graduated to their “home away from home” fifth wheel. Shirley loved their annual trips to Cape Cod and visiting her two step children in Dallas, TX. She enjoyed traveling the east coast to Florida and across the country. Shirley will be remembered for cherishing time spent with her family and friends, along with her gift of compassion, sharing, giving and helping others in need. Shirley loved life and was loved by all she met.
In addition to her parents, Shirley was predeceased by her ex-husband Lennie Coleman, her sisters Jean Herran King and Mary Mauck and brother Robert Houghton. She is survived by her husband James Harp; her three children, Deborah Coleman (Mark Gracin) of Norwich, NY, Jerry Coleman of Morrisville, NY, James Coleman of Sunset Beach, NC; her three brothers Bruce Houghton (Janice) of Norwich, NY, Jack Houghton (Dirinda) of Madison, NY and Carl Houghton (Pat) of New Berlin, NY; four grandchildren, Elizabeth Coleman Kowalke, Michael Coleman, Conner Coleman, and Kennedy Coleman; her two step children, Gina Ramsey (Joe) of Carrollton, TX and Jimmy Pacheco (Glenda) of Carrollton TX; her granddaughters, Serena Ramsey, Desiree Pacheco, Rachel Gracin Hall and Natalie Gracin and several nieces and nephews.
The family would like to thank the entire staff at Crouse Community Center at Morrisville for their compassionate care of Shirley and making it her home for 3 ½ years.
Funeral services and interment in the Morrisville Village View Cemetery will be private at the convenience of the family.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Burgess & Tedesco Funeral Home, 31 Cedar Street, Morrisville, NY.
To send a condolence and sign the Book of Memories go to www.burgessandtedescofuneralhomes.com
Donations in Shirley’s memory may be made to Alzheimer’s Association or Crouse Community Center Activities Department.