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Obituary - Shirley Roland

December 9, 1918 - March 15, 2017

Shirley Roland

A Sioux City girl, born December 9, 1918, she was the youngest of three girls, but also the tallest. Standing erect at a towering five feet, Shirley Roland was destined to make great, impactful strides.

Shirley was raised in Omaha by her parents, Joe and Fannie McMannas, alongside her beloved sisters Eileen and Donnabelle. In 1939, when Shirley and Ganzer Roland met on a blind date no one could have known that it would inspire one of the century's longest-running romances -- 78 years of blissful marriage. Later when asked about their previous relationships, both Shirley and Ganzer responded in unison, "There was never anyone else."

In 1946, Shirley gave birth to her son Gunner, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Two years later, the family moved west to Temple City, California. In California, Shirley and Ganzer wanted to create a future for Gunner. Shirley, with her bright and unwavering energy, led the development of a workshop for the disabled and a residential facility, together with volunteers, family friends and Ganzer. They held rummage sales, sold Stanley Home Products and Christmas cards to raise money. Almost all of the materials and labor were donated. The San Gabriel Valley Training Center opened in June of 1962. Its purpose was to serve adults with vocational and social disabilities by providing traditional and innovative programs, developmental and vocational rehabilitation services to maximize their social and vocational potentials. From 1962 - 1985, Shirley ran a thrift shop, and the profits were dedicated to support the training center.

When asked how the San Gabriel Valley Training Center (The Roland Center) came to be Ganzer said, "The workshop would not be here without Shirley. Shirley Roland is the reason the workshop is here today."

Today the workshop serves about 300 adults with disabilities throughout the San Gabriel Valley and the Inland Empire.

Shirley passed away peacefully on March 15, 2017 in her home on Nadine Street in Temple City, California, surrounded by family. She will be missed dearly by her husband of 78 years, Ganzer, her children, Ronald and his wife Betty, Gunner, and Suzanne; four grandchildren, and her first great-grandchild Hayden Grace. Shirley loved absolutely everyone and everywhere she went she adopted new family members.

The viewing will be held Sunday, March 19, 2017, from 5 PM - 8:30 PM at Rose Hills in Whittier, 3888 Workman, California 90601, Gate One. The funeral service will be held Monday, March 20, 2017 at 3 PM at Hillside Chapel at Rose Hills in Whittier. Directly following the service there will be a reception at the family home.

In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations to The Roland Center at 400 South Covina Blvd., La Puente, CA 91746.

Published in the Los Angeles Times from Mar. 19 to Mar. 20, 2017- See more at:

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