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1943 Shirley "Gale" 2024

S. Gale Lancaster

May 28, 1943 — January 8, 2024


Shirley Gale Lancaster, 80, of Syracuse, passed away peacefully into the arms of Jesus Monday, January 8, 2024, at Goshen Hospital. She was born May 28, 1943, in Mt. Pleasant, Tennessee to James and Margaret (Spencer) Vandygriff. She met the love of her life, James Lancaster, in 1961 while a carhop at The Fountain in Columbia, Tennessee and married him on January 6, 1963, in Florence, Alabama. He preceded her in death in 2018.

Gale lost her mother, Margaret, at the age of two and was raised by her grandparents Ruff and Carrie Vandygriff on Spencer Hill. In 1966, she moved to Elkhart, Indiana where she was a homemaker and worked various jobs. She retired from the best job she ever had as a bus driver for Elkhart Community Schools. She loved her students and when she saw one in need, she met that need whether it was clothing, providing guidance, or a simple hug.

After retirement, Gale devoted more time to painting, in which she produced excellent work. She also enjoyed spending time with her family and friends and her beloved cocker spaniel, Sammy, at her Yogi Bear campsite. In 2015, she moved to Syracuse. In Syracuse, Gale attended Syracuse Church of God where she worked in the kitchen during Kid’s Club Wednesday service.

Gale is survived by her four children: Scott (Lori) Lancaster of Syracuse, Rich (Kim) Lancaster of South Bend, Penny (Dave) Craig of Clarksville, Tennessee, and James Lancaster of Syracuse. She is also survived by her sisters, Helen (Darl) Bolen and Rita Benderman and her sister-in-law, Debby Vandygriff. Though Gale enjoyed raising her family, her favorite role was Grandma. She has five grandchildren: Anthony (Jesse) Lancaster, Kara McAfee, Tanner McAfee, Sarah (Trey) Burns, and Hannah Lancaster. Gale also has four great grandchildren: Myiah, McKinley, Damion, and the unborn child of Sarah and Trey Burns. She is also survived by her much beloved Yorkie, Carson, who has a large personality. Besides her husband James, Gale was preceded in death by her parents, her brother, Jerry Vandygriff, and her sister, Vivian Todd.

Gale loved laughing, playing cards and board games, gardening, and art. She loved studying her Bible and loved her little church on the hill in Syracuse. Her family grieves with hope, knowing that she is present with our Lord Jesus Christ and reunited with her family in heaven.

Titus Funeral Home of Syracuse is entrusted with Gale’s care. In honor of her wishes, there will be no memorial service. There will be a graveside service June 8, 2024, at Spencer Hill Cemetery in Mt. Pleasant, Tennessee officiated by her nephew Allen Lancaster. Her ashes will be mixed with her husband’s ashes and her cocker spaniel Sammy’s ashes and be buried at the family cemetery. Memorial contributions can be made to the Syracuse Church of God Kid’s Club and condolences may be left at

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