Shirl Kenney, 85, of Cedar Rapids, passed away peacefully in her daughter's arms on Sept. 24, 2020, at Shady Rest Care Center in Cascade, Iowa.
Born in Detroit, Mich., on Jan. 15, 1935, to Velma Densmore and David Roger Hillis. She grew up in Lexington on Lake Heron, where she developed a love for music and the water. While attending Michigan State Normal College, where she played piccolo for the college band, she met her husband, James Kenney, whom she married in 1955. After graduating from college with a degree in elementary education, she moved to Cedar Rapids with her family and taught kindergarten and first grade for over 20 years before retiring in 1987. She was passionate about teaching, music, skiing, biking, traveling, and always helping people along the way. She especially enjoyed outdoor adventures and skiing with her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
After retiring, she embraced her love of bicycling by completing a yearlong Odyssey Tour, in which she cycled 45 countries, six continents and covered 12,096 miles. At age 70 she cycled in the Antarctic Marathon, achieving the rare status of biking on all seven continents. At 82 she completed her goal of biking in all 50 states. For her 50th high school class reunion, she biked from Cedar Rapids to Lexington, Mich. -- a trek of 1,364 miles over 37 days.
Shirl will be dearly missed and memories of her will be cherished by all who knew and loved her.
Shirl is survived by her children, Karen Stierler (Coralville), Jeff Stierler (Marengo), Kathy (Jim) Takes (Cascade), Kristin (Jim) Austin (Hawaii) and Jim (Yamei) Kenney (Maryland); 11 grandchildren; and 18 great-grandchildren.
She is preceded in death by her son, Jeffery; brother, David; and her parents.
A Celebration of Life will be from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 24, 2021, at Horseshoe Falls Lodge, 1815 Horseshoe Falls Rd., Central City, IA 52214.
If you wish to express your sympathy, in lieu of flowers gifts can be made at everloved.com/life-of/shirl-kenney/.