Mr. Howard Lee Shirlen, age 97, passed away Tuesday, May 14, 2019 at the Charles George VA Medical Center Nursing Home facility in Asheville. Mr. Shirlen was born in Marion on December 3, 1921 to the late Lawrence Shirlen and Lola Kanipe Shirlen. Enlisting in the U. S. Navy at a young age and served there faithfully and returned to Marion and worked for Drexel Heritage Furniture Co. from which he ultimately retired. He was talented at many things but especially loved working with wood. Some of the things he made included turning bowls, carving ducks and even making violins, which he also played. Never hesitant to tackle new jobs, he taught himself to do many other things such as carpentry, plumbing and mechanic work. Mr. Shirlen was a founding member of the Glenwood Ruritan Club and was also a member of the Glenwood United Methodist Church. His first wife, of 45 years, Jean Stacy Shirlen, preceded him in death. A brother, Andrew Shirlen, and a sister, Violet Morgan, also preceded him in death.
Surviving are his wife, Faye Lail; a son, Dan Shirlen and wife Betty of North Cove; a brother, Cecil Shirlen and wife Margie of Old Fort; and three step-children, Shelah Brown of Glen Alpine, and Vickie Lail and Susan Keller, both of Morganton.
A funeral service will be held on Friday, May 17, 2019 at 3:00 p.m. in the chapel of Westmoreland Funeral Home in Marion with Rev. Charles Shirlen officiating. The family will receive friends from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. prior to the service at the funeral home. Burial will follow in McDowell Memorial Park where he will be laid to rest beside his beloved Jean. Military Honors will be conducted by the U.S. Navy. The family wishes to extend their warmest appreciation for the care given to Mr. Shirlen during his time at the VA Medical Center Hospice facility. Flowers are acceptable and appreciate. Those desiring to make a memorial contribution in his memory are encouraged to consider CarePartners Hospice McDowell at 575 Airport Road, Marion, NC 28752.