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Shirley Lola Newbaker McCracken
Shirley Lola Newbaker McCracken

April 29, 1929 - April 16, 2019
Born in Blairstown, New Jersey
Resided in Newton, New Jersey


Shirley Lola Newbaker McCracken, 89, of Newton, New Jersey, went peacefully to her eternal resting place on Tuesday, April 16, 2019, at United Methodist Communities, Bristol Glen, Tapestries Memory Care, in Newton, following a long illness.

Born in Blairstown, New Jersey, on April 29, 1929, Shirley grew up on High Street in Blairstown and was the only child of the late Lola May (Keen) and Vincent J. Newbaker. She attended Blairstown Elementary School, Blairstown High School and Centenary Junior College in Hackettstown before graduating from American University in Washington, D.C. with an Honors Degree in Biology. While in college, Shirley was elected president of her sorority, Alpha Chi Omega and vice-president of the Panhellenic Council. She was inducted into Beta Beta Beta, the National Biological Honor Society and was also a member of the Varsity Swim and Water Ballet teams. She enjoyed attending many social events and was crowned Miss Easter Queen at the Sophomore Easter Dance - The "Bunny Hop". After college graduation in June of 1950, Shirley returned home to Blairstown and wrote editorial for the Blairstown Press.

Shirley's father was the owner/manager of Newbaker Funeral Home in Blairstown until his sudden death, at which time her mother continued to operate the funeral home. Having grown up in the funeral business, it was no surprise when she met and married a funeral director in 1951, the late C. Edward McCracken. In 1958, they purchased Luse & Smith Funeral Home in Newton, and subsequently changed the name to Smith-McCracken Funeral Home. They lived above the funeral home on High Street in Newton, where they raised two of their children, Jo-Ellen and Bob. Shirley loved living at the funeral home; however, in 1974 Shirley and Ed moved - to experience country life - to their new home in Fredon Township, where their third child, Jim, was raised. They were also co-owners of Newbaker Funeral Home in Blairstown until 1993. Shirley thoroughly enjoyed her role in funeral service, where she and Ed worked as a team. She was an integral part of the business until her retirement in 1989, at which time
her son, Robert, purchased the funeral home and continues as the sole owner/manager of Smith-McCracken Funeral Home.

Shirley led an active life and had many interests. She loved the water, whether it be beaches, lakes, rivers or pools. She enjoyed swimming, canoeing and lifeguarding on Swartswood Lake in her younger years and her perfectly formed swim strokes led her to become a swimming instructor later on. She also enjoyed stamp, coin and postcard collecting, crossword and word search puzzles, playing the piano, current events, golf, gardening, nature, birds, antiquing and cats - always happy to have one sitting on her lap.

Shirley had a love of and dedication to her community. In her early years, she was a Girl Scout and was active in the Blairstown Methodist Church. She later became a Girl Scout leader and was an active member of the First United Methodist Church of Newton where she was an Assistant Sunday School Teacher. Shirley was a member of Starlight Chapter No.107 Order of the Eastern Star in Blairstown, a member of P.E.O. International, a committee member of Karen Ann Quinlan Hospice and a member of Newton Country Club. Shirley and Ed were often seen at church and community functions, helping to support the missions of various organizations. In addition to attending local events, they enjoyed attending both New Jersey State and National Funeral Directors Association Conventions where they formed lifelong friendships. They were true givers to both their family and community, always lending a hand when and where they could. Shirley and Ed enjoyed traveling the world, which included trips to Africa, Europe, Asia and the Caribbean Islands.

Shirley was a dedicated daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, aunt, niece and cousin. She delighted in spending time with her grandsons, learning about their interests and watching them grow.

In addition to her parents, Shirley was predeceased by her beloved husband, C. Edward McCracken, on February 5, 1997. She is survived by her three dedicated children, Jo-Ellen McCracken Hazan and husband, Ira, Robert E. McCracken and wife, Deborah, and James W. McCracken and wife, Lisa. She is also survived by her four loving grandchildren, Alec M. Hazan, Kevin E. Hazan, Ryan R. McCracken and Kyle R. McCracken, as well as two "bonus" grandchildren, Max Hazan and Brady Lehman, and several nieces and nephews.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 27, 2019, at the First United Methodist Church of Newton, 111 Ryerson Avenue, Newton. Interment will follow in Stillwater Cemetery. Visitation will be held on Friday, April 26, 2019, from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. at the Smith-McCracken Funeral Home, 63 High Street, Newton.

Memorial donations in Shirley's honor may be made to Centenary University Foundation, 400 Jefferson Street, Hackettstown, NJ 07840 (

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Smith-McCracken Funeral Home
63 High Street
Newton, NJ 07860
Friday, April 26, 2019
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Friday, April 26, 2019
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
First United Methodist Church of Newton
111 Ryerson Avenue
Newton, NJ 07860
Saturday, April 27, 2019
11:00 AM
Stillwater Cemetery
Maple Avenue
Stillwater, NJ 07875
Saturday, April 27, 2019

Copyright 2006 Smith McCracken Funeral Home and Funeralnet