Shirley L. Zurchauer, 81, of Penn Yan, N.Y. passed away on Wednesday (September 26, 2018) at The Homestead of Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hospital in Penn Yan, NY.
She was born July 19, 1937, in Chicago, Ill., the first daughter of the late Richard and Dorothy (Hefke) Zurchauer. Her young years were spent in Chicago and later in Algonquin. After graduating from Dundee High School, Shirley continued her education at Milwaukee-Downer College and earned her B.S. degree in 1958. A year later she received her specialized degree in Occupational Therapy. After working many years in Wisconsin, Shirley returned to Algonquin in 1964 working at Elgin State Hospital and The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. At the same time she attended George Williams College and obtained her Master’s of Social Work degree in 1970.
Her professional path continued when she moved out east in 1975 and began her teaching career as an Assistant Professor at Boston University-Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Department of Occupational Therapy in Boston Massachusetts. From 1975 to 1985, she taught courses in Supervision and Administration, Group Leadership, and served as a thesis advisor for occupational therapy students in the Master’s Degree Program. In the fall of 1985, she became an Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy in the Occupational Therapy Division of Keuka College in Keuka, New York. In 1991, she was promoted to Professor of Occupational Therapy. In this capacity, she developed the Master’s Program for entry level occupational therapy students. Shirley very much enjoyed working with students as well as the administrative challenge of developing a new program. She also was a leader at the national level and a strong promoter of the field of occupational therapy. She retired from teaching in 2002. Shirley leaves behind a legacy of devotion to the field of occupational therapy.
After Shirley retired, she continued to pursue her lifelong passion of reading. Because of her diverse interests, she could talk to anyone about anything. She was a veritable walking wikipedia. Shirley loved living in Penn Yan. It was truly her home. She made friends with many people. She thoroughly enjoyed her Tuesday group which was such an important part of her life. When her home was flooded a number of years ago, she was overwhelmed by the generosity of the community.
Shirley leaves behind her sister, Beverly Zurchauer; brother-in-law, William Nawrocki; her two nieces Gretel Nawrocki (John Peisert), Annie Kyung (David) Crago; and a nephew, Jonathan (Colleen) Nawrocki; including her beloved dog,Toby.
Shirley loved her family deeply, and remembered them each and every holiday and birthday with a card, a gift and a phone call. Her family will deeply miss her.