Shirlene Gaines Heston, age 84, passed peacefully on September 9, 2011. She is remembered with much love by her family and friends. A resident of Orange County since 1959, Shirlene resided in her final years at Vintage Newport, in Newport Beach, and her family extends their heartfelt thanks to the wonderful staff at Vintage for their warm and loving care.
Born as Shirlene Mae Gaines on October 6, 1926 in Fairfield, Iowa to Richard William Gaines and Lorene Jones Gaines, Shirlene grew up in both the small towns of Burlington and Fairfield, Iowa, in the latter of which she met as a child her future husband, John Larson Heston. Shirlene and John both attended the University of Iowa, where Shirlene earned her degree in political science, also minoring in art, while John earned his degree in physics. Separated by John’s service in the Army Air Corps during World War II, Shirlene and John married soon after the war. They settled in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where they raised three children, Lorene, Richard and Lon, while building two homes, the first one largely designed and built by themselves working on weekends. That home was featured in the Cedar Rapids Gazette based on its futuristic use of glass, cantilevering and vaulted ceilings, a break from Midwestern tradition. An artist at heart, Shirlene was always one to embrace new ideas in design.
Lured by the exciting growth and opportunities in California due to the burgeoning aerospace industry, Shirlene and John moved to Newport Beach in 1959, where they settled in their home of the next 33 years. While John remained in the aerospace field, Shirlene launched a small printing business, Heston Graphics, which her younger son, Lon, operates to this day at its location near John Wayne Airport. Retiring from the printing business in 1992, Shirlene and John remained in Newport Beach until John’s passing on November 20, 1997.
In addition to her three children, Lori, Richard and Lon, Shirlene is survived by grandchildren Jessica French, Rebecca Heston-Lapating, Rachal McAlister, Kelly McAlister, Jonathan Heston, Benjamin Heston, Christopher Heston, Nick Heston and great-grand-daughter Kylie French. She will be deeply missed by longtime friends and Alpha Delta Phi sorority sisters Virginia Kraatz and Jeanne Pointer from her early years in Iowa, and dear friends Lori Rich and Betty Bruce, who Shirlene met after moving to Orange County. Shirlene was a member of the Newport Beach Elks Club, and while active in business had been a long-standing member of the Soroptimists, an organization which supports the efforts of women in business.
Private services are pending. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, P.O. Box 85800, San Diego, CA 92186, or, the American Institute for Cancer Research at aicr.org.