Cover photo for Shirley Jean Walton Wietnik's Obituary
Shirley Jean Walton Wietnik Profile Photo

Shirley Jean Walton Wietnik

February 20, 1929 — August 3, 2021

Shirley Jean Walton Wietnik

ASHEVILLE - Shirley Jean Walton Wietnik passed away August 3, 2021, in Asheville, North Carolina with her daughters, Marcia Johnson and Diane LaBin, by her side.

She was 92 years old, born February 20, 1929, in Pulaski, Iowa. She was preceded in death by her husband, Edwin S. Wietnik; her parents, LR and Florence King Walton; step-mother, Helen Walton; and brothers, Richard and Steven Walton.

Besides Marcia and Diane, she is survived by beloved granddaughters, Margaret Natasha Johnson Sainsbury (Stephen) of Asheville, North Carolina and Abigail Brooke LaBin Black (John) of Berea, Kentucky; and eight great-grandchildren, Rory Johnson, Zoe Black, Willa Black, and Kaia, David, Simone, Ursula and Chloe Sainsbury; a brother, Dr. Robert Walton (Berta); very special sister-in-law, Sharon Walton (Richard); and sister-in-law, Laura Marasco. She also loved her many nieces and nephews.

Shirley was raised in Pulaski, Iowa and Elkhart, Indiana, where she went to high school. She then attended Western Michigan University and majored in Education and Spanish and met Edwin. They married in 1950 and in 1951 they moved to Hastings, Michigan where she spent the majority of her lifetime. Shirley taught in Barry County public schools including Gregory School, one of the last one room schoolhouses in the area. For many years she taught Spanish and English at Hastings High School. In 1977, she joined the Peace Corps and was sent to Colombia, South America. After serving two years in Colombia, she lived in Ecuador and taught at the Colegio Americano in Quito for two years.

She loved traveling all over the world and immersing herself in the culture of the countries she visited. She had numerous friends across the country and world that she visited when possible.  She also had many good friends and neighbors in Hastings that she enjoyed spending time with doing yoga, hiking, birdwatching and volunteering. She adored her many grand-dogs and enjoyed dog sitting and walking them on her regular walks around town. Shirley’s love of her students at HHS kept her substitute teaching well into her 80s.  She was proud of the fact she also mowed her own lawn in her 80s.  She loved gardening and was a member of the Thornapple Garden Club for years. She worked tirelessly for the Hastings Public Library with Friends of the Library. In addition, she served as a CASA with the Barry County Courts for several years.

Shirley loved her family and over the years spent a lot of time in Kentucky as well as Richmond, VA, Asheville, NC, and south Florida. She instilled a love of books and travel in her family and touched the lives of many people.  We would like to thank her special friends who were faithful at writing her cards and calling her as Alzheimer’s started to shrink her world:  Pat Kisinger, Carol Shanahan, Reina Romero and Jean Syswerda- who was kind enough to host her on her last visit to Hastings a few years ago.  Your kindness will stay with us forever.

There will be a Celebration of Life ceremony in Hastings at a later date this Fall.

If desired, memorial contributions may be made to the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund at, Hastings High School (Language Arts), 232 W. Grand St, Hastings, or the Barry County Humane Society at

For those who desire, condolences may be offered to the family under Mrs. Weitnik’s obituary at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Shirley Jean Walton Wietnik, please visit our flower store.


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