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Friday, September 29, 2023
Starts at 2:00pm (Eastern time)
Mary Standish Tilley Shawler, 93, passed away July 31, 2023, in Jacksonville, Florida. Mary was born to Edward George and Mabel Gailey Tilley on March 19, 1930, in Oneonta, New York. A remarkable woman, she lived a life filled with adventure, knowledge, and a deep devotion to her family, the U.S. Air Force, the arts, and the Episcopal Church. Her legacy will forever be etched in our hearts and minds.
One of the most defining chapters of her life was her marriage of 70 years to Col. Wendell H. Shawler (USAF, ret.), an esteemed Air Force Test Pilot. Theirs was a love story that transcended time and distance. Mary and Wendell had been together since January 19, 1945, when Wendell (17) walked Mary (15) home from his basketball game where Mary also participated as a cheerleader. Mary absolutely loved her life as a devoted military spouse and their time stationed at Edwards Air Force Base near Lancaster, California. During their time at Edwards, Mary served as the President of the Officers’ Wives Club and most notably, coordinated Nancy Reagan’s speaking engagement to the Officers’ Wives Club. Additionally, Mary served as a Librarian at the Irving L. Branch Elementary School where her nurturing spirit and eagerness to share knowledge enriched the lives of countless individuals who walked through the doors of the library. Years later, Mary also founded and curated the Leeward Library at Fleet Landing continuing to share her passion and love for books with the community. Throughout Wendell’s 27-year Air Force career, Mary volunteered as a docent at the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve and the National Museum of the United States Air Force on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. In addition, wherever Wendell’s career took the family, Mary remained active in the Episcopal Church and served as a faithful member of the Altar Guild from 1974-2013.
Beyond her love for the church, Mary possessed an insatiable desire to explore the world. As a world traveler with Wendell, they crisscrossed the globe, venturing into the unknown, immersing themselves in diverse cultures, and forging connections with people from all walks of life. Over the last 70 years, Mary and Wendell traveled to six continents and 93 countries including a three month around the world cruise. Her journeys broadened her perspective, making her a true citizen of the world.
Mary is survived by her loving family, who will carry her legacy forward, forever inspired by her indomitable spirit. We take comfort in knowing that she has reunited with her beloved son Kenneth David Shawler (June 11, 1956 - March 14, 1972). Mary is survived by her loving husband, Wendell H. Shawler; son, Stephen Shawler (Marcia); daughter, Patricia Flynn (John); and five grandchildren, Stephanie Flynn (Tyler), Will Flynn (Jordan), Michael Flynn (Ashra), Evan Shawler (Rachel) and Avery Shawler (Jacob).
A celebration of life will be held on Friday, September 29, 2023, at 2:00 p.m., at Johnson Hall within Fleet Landing. In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests donations be made to the SETP Foundation (https://www.setp.org/setp-foundation/foundation-donations.html), an organization dear to her heart.
Rest in eternal peace, dear Mary. Your love, wisdom, and passion for life will forever be in our hearts.