Shirley Liu Chu was born in Swatow, China in 1925, to Dr. Liu De-Sen and Dr. Xie Jing-Yu, two prominent physicians. Her three sisters would follow in their parent’s footsteps and also become physicians. Shirley was a child prodigy attending college in Shanghai at age 15. She had every intention of following the family path to medicine, but her plan was derailed when she met a young man named Daniel Chu.
Through Daniel’s sheer persistence, the two fell in love and married in 1942. The young couple had three sons, Franklin, William and Daniel, Jr. In 1948, Daniel left China to follow his call to attend seminary at Hamma Divinity School at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio.
While he was away, the communist occupation escalated. Shirley and the boys moved in with Daniel’s family. She would spend the next three years struggling to nurture, feed, and manage the household of more than a dozen family members living on the limited rations allowed by the communist government.
After Daniel’s life was threatened when he attempted to return to his family, Shirley plotted their escape to Hong Kong. In 1950, Shirley left with her three boys and Daniel’s youngest brother, John, executing her escape plan to perfection by successfully arriving in Hong Kong and joining Daniel.
The Chu Family lived out God’s plan in Hong Kong serving and administering to many Lutheran Organizations. In 1953, they were called to Malaysia and began a mission church. It was there, they welcomed their precious daughter, Elizabeth. While everyone in the delivery room wilted at the sight of a baby girl (in Malaysian culture, boys were most desirable), Shirley rejoiced at the gift of a baby girl from God.
Soon after, the family packed all they could carry, emigrated to the United States, and settled in Springfield, Ohio. The Chu family was quickly and warmly embraced by the congregation of St. Luke’s Lutheran Church and became a vital part of its mission. Daniel filled the community’s spiritual needs while Shirley filled their stomachs. She never let anyone leave hungry. She was always ready and willing to do what needed to be done. Whether that was a shoulder to cry on, a hot meal on the table, or even a place to stay. She was always the warm and gracious hostess accepting all as family.
Daniel and Shirley dedicated the next 35 years to churches in Mount Clemens, Michigan; Taylor, Michigan; and Federal Way, Washington. It didn’t matter where they were, because as long as they were together and in God’s presence, they felt they were doing their life’s best work.
Shirley will always be remembered by her infectious smile, her loving spirit, and her unwavering faith in God. She was many things to many people, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, auntie, friend, sister, neighbor, but to her everyone was the same. Everyone was family. We all miss her dearly.
Shirley was predeceased by her husband, Daniel and twin sons, Franklin and William. Shirley is loved and survived by her son Daniel Chu, Jr. (Sue), her daughter, Elizabeth Chu Domahidy (George); proxy son and nephew Andrew Chao (Emily); daughters-in-law Linnea Chu and Cynthia Shea (James); grandchildren William (Julie), Christine (Patrick), Kimberly (Fred), Jennifer (Michael), Catherine (Mark), Daniel (Timothy), David (Ana); great-grandchildren Karina (Carlos), Karalee, Ethan, Mira, Grace, Tsipporah, Saya, Fiona, Juliana, and Davin. Shirley embraced her step grandchildren and step great grandchildren as her own. She is loved and survived by Matthew (Katterina), Ariana; Marco (Shaheena), Leila, Emil; Anthony; Kelly (Bill); Michael (Ksenija), Liliana, Yasmina; Leanne (Brooks), Kailey, Koby; and Steve. She is loved and survived by many nieces, nephews, in-laws and all their families.
Join the Live Stream of the service on Saturday, August 22nd at 10:30 am using the link below:
A note for those who are joining us via Streaming:
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Shirley Chu, please visit our floral store.