Shirley (Bish) McVicker

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 Celebration of Life for Shirley (Bish) McVicker, 77, of Sun City, Ariz., will be held on Saturday, Aug. 31, at 10 a.m. (reception to follow) at the First-Faith United Methodist Church in Grand Island, (4190 W Capital Ave). Shirley passed away on Aug. 10, 2019, at her home.
Shirley JoAnne (Bish) McVicker was born to Art and Ruby Bish on Jan. 14, 1942, in Aurora. Shirley attended country school, then graduated from Giltner High School in 1959. After high school, she graduated from cosmetology school in Grand Island. Shirley’s family farmed in Giltner. She loved the outdoors and life on the farm. She could often be found chasing frogs, catching tadpoles, caring for injured birds and befriending the barn cats. After graduating from cosmetology school, Shirley’s dad helped her purchase a beauty shop in Lexington, in 1961. She owned and operated the shop for five years, then met the love of her life, Richard A. McVicker. Rich was from Cozad, but lived in Overland, Kan., at the time. He came back to visit his parents, and a friend set him up on a blind date at the Elk’s Club in Lexington. After nearly one year to the day after that first date, Rich and Shirley were united in marriage on April 2, 1966, in Lexington.
After some time in Rockford, Ill., Rich and Shirley moved to Grand Island in 1973. They spent 42 years raising their family there before moving to Sun City, Ariz. in December 2015. Shirley was famous for her made-from-scratch chicken and noodles, macaroni and cheese and cinnamon rolls; crocheted blankets and pillows; colorful wardrobe and fabulous jewelry collection; and her beloved jukebox that played her favorite tunes on vinyl records. She loved holidays, especially Christmas. At Christmas gatherings, you could expect a scavenger hunt, a game of poker, lots of food and fun, and a rousing round of “The 12 Days of Christmas.” Shirley loved working in her flower beds tending roses. She lined the pathway to their home with baby shoes that were bursting with hens and chickens. She could often be found listening to music on her jukebox; playing cards with friends; attending an Elvis tribute show; enjoying a soak in the hot tub (regardless of the time of year); bargain hunting at a garage or estate sale; or in the yard plucking mulberries from the wild trees along the fence line until her hands and feet were stained purple.
Shirley was a devoted wife and mother, but she was also a savvy entrepreneur. After moving to Grand Island to raise her family, Shirley found that hair and beauty services to homebound seniors were sorely lacking. That’s when Shirley’s Travelling Beauty business was born. In the early ’80s, with her metal yellow wagon - filled with curlers, supplies and her youngest son, Chad, in the back - she towed her mobile shop to Grandview Apartments, Centennial Towers and Golden Towers. In 1983, she had more than 75 customers and delivered joy to all who received her services. Services included a shampoo, haircut, color or perm, makeup, a friendly visit, and music - mostly Elvis, of course. Shirley put in long days, and it wasn’t surprising to find her driving to a hospital on her day off to fix a customer’s hair. “It’s like going to a friend’s house, she said. “They’re my people. I feel like I’m a part of their family. The best thing about the work is helping people.” At that time, Nebraska law prohibited her from providing in-home services without a license issued through a salon. Shirley successfully wrote and called every single state senator and testified at the legislature to get the restrictions relaxed. This enabled her to provide dignity and services to the elderly, preserving their right to feel beautiful, regardless of mobility.
Shirley went on to run an in-home daycare for more than 20 years, and a successful DJ business, Music Satisfaction, for 28 years. Shirley was passionate about music and people. She loved sharing great music in celebration of a prom, a wedding or anniversary party, a Valentine’s Day dance at a retirement center, or at home. Shirley was connected to music and lyrics like fish are connected to water – it was a powerful passion that she was able to share with thousands. The McVickers’ DJ business was also a fun family affair. In the wee hours of the morning after a gig, everyone could be found at the kitchen table enjoying an egg sandwich and a visiting before heading to bed.
Beyond her significant love of music, Shirley was even more passionate about her family. The love for her boys and her grandchildren was boundless. She was proud and protective of her clan. Shirley’s superpowers were human connection and caregiving. She loved engaging in activities that brought people together. After the kids were older, she was part of social groups like the Red Hat Society, exercise class at the YMCA, and card clubs. She was unapologetically Shirley: She admitted her imperfections, forgave often, lived with wild abandon, and was a life-force brighter that the sun. She was a one of a kind, and will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved her.
Shirley was preceded in death by her parents, Art and Ruby Bish (Giltner), brother, Dean Bish (Sun City, Ariz.), and sister Eileen (Bish) Schultz (Cassville, Mo.).
Shirley is survived by her husband, Rich McVicker of Sun City, Ariz., and their four sons: Dan McVicker (Carolyn Murphy Baird) of Wylie, Tex., and Alec and Nikki; Scott McVicker (Janelle) of Grand Island, and Andy and Tera; Mark McVicker (Wendy) of St. Paul, and Adam, Sydney, Ethan and Zach; Chad McVicker (Jill) of Omaha, and Shamus and Murphy; and two sons from a previous marriage, Rick Becknal (Karen) of Tyler, Tex., and Kim and Cole; Robert Becknal (Leonora) of Seguin, Tex., and Maggie; brothers: Harvey (Jo) Bish of Aurora; Roger Bish (Deb Norton) of Grand Island; Don Bish (Leola) of Giltner; and many life-long friends and special neighbors.


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