Shirley Pyle ’52 Troast

Shirley Troast, 91 years of age, died peacefully on January 5, 2022.

She was born in Overisel, MI on November 2, 1930 and moved to Paterson, NJ as a high school Junior. While at Eastside High School, she was a member of the New Jersey All State High School Choir. After graduation in 1948, she attended Hope College in Holland, MI, graduating in 1952. While at Hope, she was active in sports and won awards in Track and Field. When not participating in sports and working on her teaching degree, she toured throughout the country participating in concerts with the Hope College Glee Club.

After graduation, she returned to New Jersey, residing in Clifton, Paterson and finally settling in Midland Park. On January 22, 1953, she married Bert Troast. They had three children, Donald, Nancy, and Debbie. Bert preceded her in death, February 2001, as did Debbie in February 2009.

Once her children were school age, Shirley began substitute teaching. In 1964, she began her fulfilling teaching career at Calvin Coolidge School in Wyckoff, NJ where she remained until her retirement in 1992. She was also a member of Grace United Methodist Church, where she enjoyed singing in the choir and coordinating the Grace Middlers Group, along with her husband, Bert.

In 1999, they moved to the Four Seasons Community in Absecon, NJ. Her years there were filled with volunteer work at the Noyes Wildlife Center, LPGA tournaments, shows in Atlantic City, organizing trips as part of the Trip Committee, Red Hat Society, and singing in the choir. She was also a member of Oceanville United Methodist Church, where she led services and played the piano. After her husband, Bert, passed in 2001, she enjoyed ten years with her companion, Tom McKenna, traveling around the globe.

In 2016, she moved to Williamsburg, VA and lived happily in the Patriots Colony Assisted Living facility for six years. While living there, within a short period of time, she encouraged the staff and friends there to call her by her long-time nickname, “Shirley Bird”. She filled her days going to the gym, doing crafts, and playing dominoes nightly with her closest friend, Betty Rose. Shirley loved all her caregivers, and her sign of endearment was to stick out her tongue whenever they walked in the door. Staff and fellow residents all loved her ability to brighten the room with her quick wit.

Shirley is survived by her children and spouses, Don ’74 and Norma Troast, Nancy and David Waldeck, Bob Wheeler; grandchildren Gina (Rick) Laney, Lisa (John) Farnham, Matt (Liz) DeFilippo, Kyle Waldeck, Sara Waldeck, Brandon Wheeler (Cheryl); great-grandchildren, Olivia, Nic, Elizabeth, Stephanie, Nicholas and Jayson; and great-great-grandchildren, Liam and Tristan. She is also survived by many nieces and nephews.

The family would like to thank the staff at Patriots Colony and Hospice for the wonderful care they gave her. Graveside Services will be held at a later date at Valleau Cemetery, Ridgewood, New Jersey. Because Shirley loved the children she taught for over thirty years, donations may be made to St Jude Children’s Research Hospital at 1-800-822-6344; 1-800-805-5856 or at

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