Pink Carnations

Shirley Margaret Vanden-Heuvel

September 11, 1934 ~ July 16, 2020 (age 85)


Shirley Margret Vanden-Heuvel of Shalimar, Fl. earned her heavenly wings on Thursday, July 16, 2020.  Shirley is survived by the love of her life of 66 years, Lt Col (Ret.) Robert Vanden-Heuvel. 

Shirley was born on September 11, 1934 in Mineola, Long Island, N.Y. to Othilie and Godtlieb(John) Pedersen.

After graduating from Woodbury High School, (Conn.) in June 1952, her and her family moved to Staten Island, N.Y. There she met and married the love of her life 1st Lt. Robert Vanden-Heuvel on January 23, 1954. What followed was a life blessed by God, love of family, and love of nature.  Shirley and Robert’s life were deeply based in their Catholic faith…

Robert would recount to all of what happened not long after getting married; “Your mom and I were in an automobile accident that nearly took her from me. As she was slipping away…being prepared for surgery, she saw a bright light at the foot of her bed and observed a glowing image of what she took to be Christ. He was wearing a robe and was surrounded by an aura. Jesus said to her, “You are going to be alright, and then disappeared. She then felt completely at peace. The next day, she was told the doctors hadn’t expected her to survive and that she would never bear any children. A show of miracle, God blessed her with two sons and three daughters.
Because of that experience she developed a sweet, caring nature that she not only shared with her family but to everyone, through her volunteering at the Eglin AFB hospital, aiding Vietnamese refugees housed at Eglin AFB, as well as delivering food to the elderly and homebound with “Meals on Wheels”. She also had a quiet strength that allowed her to get through difficult times- a husband sent to Vietnam, traveling solo across country with five young children, and just managing day by day, caring and loving life until her husband came home. Shirley’s greatest and only job was raising 5 children…that was her greatest accomplishment in life.

Her two sisters Eileen Secola and Joy Gibson precede Shirley in death.  Shirley leaves behind two sons Douglas Vanden-Heuvel(Debbie) and Michael Vanden-Heuvel, three daughters Theresa Jones(Tim), Mary Aaron and Cindy Trainor(Steve); eight grandchildren and one great grandchild.

Daughter Terry: “Our Mom believed our (family) favorite time was spent together hiking, camping, water sports and holidays.” She made the holidays extra special, especially her favorite holiday- Christmas. She loved arts and crafts, and has many samples of her work around not only her home but also her children’s homes.
Daughter Mary: “Our Mom was an angel on Earth, and now she’s our angel in Heaven. Jesus called her home and now she’s watching over all of us.”

There will be no services at this time.  In lieu of flowers, please donate to your favorite animal charity.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Shirley Margaret Vanden-Heuvel, please visit our floral store.


You can still show your support by sending flowers directly to the family, or by planting a memorial tree in the memory of Shirley Margaret Vanden-Heuvel