Shani Kathryn Crossen passed away Tuesday 8/11/20 in her home. Shani was born on 9/24/45 to Leon and Irene Wooton in Emporia, Kansas.
By the age of 18 she had set her sights on the ‘beautiful campus on the hill’ in Lawrence, Kansas. She graduated from KU with a degree in literature and was one of the first members of the “Rock Chalk Pep Club”. She met her husband there and together they began the family tradition of watching the mighty Jayhawks every basketball season.
Shani dedicated her 40-year career as a teacher, educating foreign students to speak English. In fact, she helped build the now known ESL/ELL department for the Shawnee Mission School District. She was instrumental in changing the landscape of the district and offering foreign students the gift of English. She worked tirelessly as head of her department and stayed close to her students for years and years after they had graduated. Many of these students became doctors, lawyers and “yes” even politicians.
Along with her career running the ESL program, she began moonlighting for H&R Block preparing tax returns. When we asked her why she was overextending herself, she simply said, “numbers keep your mind sharp” Her moonlighting turned into 25 years as a master tax preparer. She loved solving problems and became a tax favorite of many clients.
She was preceded in death by her parents, her brother David Wooton, and grandson Kean Michael Meoli her “sugar butt”
She is survived by her two daughters, Erin Meoli and Aidan Crossen, and the biggest joy of her life, her grandson, Bennett Meoli. There are not enough words in the dictionary to describe how amazing her beautiful soul was. Her daughters always remained her priority. She graced us with a thirst for knowledge, the love of reading, the strength to face our fears, and a sense of humor that made her one of everyone’s favorite moms.
Her Oasis and peace were found at her cabin at Lake Kahola in the Flint Hills of Kansas. She grew up skiing those waters and it is our family’s greatest love. It is where we go to celebrate summers together and to cherish the many memories of our childhood spent with our mom and Nana. She will be missed every moment of every day by her two daughters, her beloved grandson, sons-in-law and many friends.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her name at The Ronald McDonald House, 2502 Cherry St., Kansas City, MO 84018 - www.rmhckc.org