Meridel Shanafelt was born in Sheridan, Oregon on November 18, 1924, the baby of Beatrice
Shanafelt’s five children. As a three-pound preemie, she was warmed in the oven to keep her
alive. Growing up with a heart condition, she was often too out of breath to run and play like
her older brothers Delmer (Bud), Donald, and Raymond and sister Delamay (Pat.) When the
love of her life Ed Wham proposed, her mother asked if he was sure, since Meridel wasn’t
supposed to live to be twenty. But despite her delicate start in life, she received the second
open heart surgery ever performed in Oregon and became the longest-lived member of her
family—making it to 95 years of age.
In her later years Meridel had an especially close relationship with her grandson Andrew
Rothery who looked in on her almost every day to make sure she was well. For the last few
years of her life she lived with her daughter Vicky (Wham) Rothery and son in law Mike Rothery
where she was doted on and taken to the beach any time she had the whim to go. Her
granddaughter Traci (Rothery) Hilton and family, Dan, Norah and Lucy were frequent visitors,
enjoying Meridel’s stories, humor, and company.
Ed and Meridel had a story -book life with their two kids Ken and Vicky in Kinzua, Oregon a
small lumber town filled with family and friends. She told the stories of raising her family in
Kinzua along with her best friends, Arlene (Wham) Schroeder and Harlen, and her nieces Becky
Schroeder, Sally Schroeder, Connie (Schroeder) Alexander, and Patsy (Wham) McMinn her
whole life long. Long visits and vacations with her sister Pat (Shanafelt) Thorington and her
family, Bob, Bobbie, and Kathleen were also treasured memories. She adored her big brothers
and their families with her whole heart and is survived by many other nieces, nephews, and
She was a young widow but chose to live a life of generosity and adventure including a second
chance at love with John McConnell, many trips to see her son Ken and dear friends Bill and
Jane Wales, a trip to London, a cruise down the Amazon River, and years volunteering at the
Milwaukie Senior Center and The Senior Citizen Council of Clackamas County.
She was a passionate bridge player, a talented seamstress, and a dear friend to many people
through her long life.
A memorial for Meridel will be held later in the year.
In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to The Senior Citizens Council of
Clackamas at seniorcitizenscouncil.com
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Meridel Wham McConnell Smith, please visit our floral store.
Senior Citizens Council of Clackamas
PO Box 1777, Oregon City OR 97045