Mr. Richard G. (Rickey) Shirley, a resident of Ozark, died Wednesday, April 4, 2018 in a Dothan hospital. He was 70.
Celebration of Life service will be at 11AM in the Flowers Center for the Performing Arts with Reverend Buddy Hood and Reverend Jim Cordes officiating. Burial will follow in Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church Cemetery, Arguta Community. Fuqua-Bankston Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. The family will receive friends from 4:30 until 7:00 P.M. Friday at the funeral home.
Flowers will be accepted or memorial contributions may be made to Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church, 5320 County Road 15, Ozark, AL 36360.
Mr. Shirley, son of the late Guy Shirley and Marie Golden Shirley, was a native of Greenville, Alabama and has lived in Ozark since 1973. He was a graduate of Greenville High School and received both his Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s Degree in Music Education from Troy University. Mr. Shirley was retired after twenty-eight years of employment from the Ozark City School System at Carroll High School as the Choral Music Teacher and was currently an adjunct professor of Music at Wallace College and Troy University Dothan. He was active in the production of several high school plays at Carroll High School for many years and at the time of his illness was working on “Bye Bye Birdie”. Mr. Shirley was a member of Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church where he served as Minister of Music. He was preceded in death by his sister, Cindy Bentley.
Surviving relatives include his wife of forty-eight years, Maurine Bryan Shirley, Ozark; three daughters, Michelle Kelley, Stephanie Forrester (John), and Brenda Shirley, all of Ozark; a son, Shawn Shirley (Lisa), Dothan; three grandchildren, Drew Kelley, Jackson Kelley and Madison Kelley; a brother, Scott Shirley (Helena), Greenville; numerous nieces and nephews.
Serving as active pallbearers will be Jason Bentley, Chris Bentley, Paul Shirley, Greg Bryan, Greg Marshall, Tim Young, Robert Parsons and Greg Lester. Serving as honorary pallbearers will be Andy Hughes, Bruce Carson, Mark Givens, Dr. Taylor Caffey, Bobby McCoy and Larry Hicks.
It has been such a pleasure to visit Pleasant Ridge with Melissa and Robert, especially for the music programs. We love you all, and we will miss him.
Evelyn and Osbern HenleyTroy, AL
I still can't believe he is not with us. I am so grateful t9 have been one of his first students. I loved our Choral music class at DA Smith and I thought he had such a variety of music that I loved to sing. I was I. the Choral Club for 3 years too and it was the only class I really loved. I will cherish the record we made. We will miss him and prayers for all of you.
Jeri Grantham Bailey.Ozark, AL
Mr. Shirley taught my daughter and my grandson,Clay Paramore, who is now the music minister at a local Dothan church. We enjoyed his music and lots of the play over the years. He was a giving ,caring man and will be missed. God Bless his friends and family.
joan DickeyOzark, AL
Rickey Shirley was a one of a kind and truly great man. It was - and is a privilege to have known him over the years. I'll carry many fond musical memories of him ; from rehearsing Patsy Cline songs at his home, to hanging out in "the pit" at the Flowers Center. What an honor it has been to work with this man. Prayers for the Shirley Family. May God hold you in his peace.
Marcus HartDaleville, AL
God bless you my wonderful friend..
Ed WilkinsSkipperville, AL
Mr. Shirley will always be remembered by his love of music he gave his students, the smile, the kind words cheering us on before a concert or before going on TV or even making a record. I was in his first class at DA Smith when the 9th grade was broken away from Carroll High School. I then went on to be in the Choral Club the remaining 3 years until graduation in 1974. He took Robert Matthews and i up to TSU in Troy to try out with Dr. Dennison for Collegiate which we both made. I owe him for his dedication and willingness to help us that day. He sang at my wedding which I will never forget. He was such an inspiration to everyone and his talent was superb. I loved Choral Club and singing because of you Mr. Shirley ! See you one day in that Heavenly Chior ! Hugs and prayers to your family left behind.
Nanci Brown LudlamOzark, AL
Mr. Shirley was a wonderful friend, neighbor and teacher. He will be missed by many, including our family. May God give you comfort and peace!
Roy an Jan FuquaOzark, AL
I write this as if I could talk to Mr. Shirley in heaven because I sure wish I had the chance to say this to him.
As a teacher, you encouraged my love of music. You inspired self-confidence and showed me what true, Christ-like charity was. Your belief that my singing was good enough to go to All-State should have been enough; WOULD have been enough for most. My parents had no money and 6 children- I couldn’t find it in me to ask my parents for money for music when they couldn’t afford groceries. Your love of students, music, Christ, and even for me; you spent the money on music. I still can’t think of your generosity without breaking down in tears of gratitude.
As a mentor, you never failed me. We lost touch after I joined the Air Force, for a while. After years had passed, we reconnected via social media, and you were there when I needed to talk. I was going back to AL to bury my grandfather, and you drove a half hour just to sit down in a restaurant and talk to me. You comforted me, you encouraged me through my untimely Air Force medical retirement, and you (again) believed in me more than I did when we discussed the possibility of applying to medical school. I am sad that I won’t be able to share my graduation moment with you this May because you deserve part of the credit. I will be a doctor and I couldn’t share it with you. Thank you, Rickey. Thanks for being my friend. Thanks for being my mentor. Thanks for being an extension of Christ’s love. In short, thank you for being you. But, more than most anything else, thank you for helping me be a better me. God bless your soul. God bless your family and keep them safe.
Lucky to count you as a friend,
Donald P. KingsleyWarner Robins, GA
Mr. Shirley’s influence on my life started before I was even born. He taught my mother (Coleen Whitener) and was minister of music at my grandparents’ church (Ridgecrest Baptist Church)when I was a young child. My grandparents (John and Anne Whitener were in his choir at Ridgecrest). Because he fostered my mother’s love of music, she passed this love down to me. I sang under the direction of Mr. Shirley at CHS and have loved singing in choir because of him and the enthusiasm he had for this art. Recently he posted a picture on Facebook from my mother’s choir days. She passed away 18 years ago and I thanked him for sharing and remembering her. He was so very quick to respond to me that he’d never forget her. That was so very precious and meant so much to me.
I’m thankful that Mr. Shirley not only taught, but fully gave himself to his students. If he thought something was going on with a student, he’d pull them aside to talk to them and help and encourage them like only Mr. Shirley could.
I remember one year I was playing my flute at a music competition at the Methodist church downtown. He not only came to listen to his students, but he gave me one of the most amazing compliments that I’ve always cherished.
Thank you, Mr. Shirley for the love and commitment you showed us all. I’m forever thankful for you and your sweet family. I’m looking forward to the day we meet (and sing together) again.
Abigail BurgessPrattville, AL
Mr. Shirley means so much to so many people. He loved what he did, and he did what he loved. I cannot sing with a group of people without saying or thinking “that’s not how Mr. Shirley did it,” or “I remember when Mr. Shirley said/did this...” I have loved music for a long time and I could not wait to join the choral club in middle school! I am so honored and blessed to be part of his life. I thank God for allowing him to share his talents with us. His legacy lives through thousands of students.
CHS Class of 1998
Andrea (Messenger) GordonAriton, AL
Mr. Shirley was an encourager and a teacher who have you confidence to do more than you ever had. I don't think he ever forgot a student. He will be remembered for many years and his influence reaches beyond those he touched personally. Rev 14:13.....remembered always
Kim Norris BartleyOzark, AL
Thinking a lot about Rickey. Prayers for strength and peace in the days to come to the family.
Sherry VestMiramar Beach, FL
I WILL MISS MR RICKEY SHIRLEY A WHOLE BUNCH AND I'M PRAYING FOR THE FAMILY
Jeanie McClendonOzark, AL
Mr Shirley was a great teacher, friend and confidant. He will be missed by all that had the privilege to know him or have him as an instructor. Even after leaving teaching he had great influence on many teachers still in the classroom.
Mr prayers are with the family and friends as they heal from this loss. I celebrate knowing heaven another great choir master walking around this day.
David W FaulkApopka, FL
Thankful tonight for the influence of Rickey Shirley, who taught me choral music and music theory in high school, and who passed away today. Mr. Shirley didn't just teach; he invested himself into the lives of generations of students. When I wouldn't have even thought about trying out for All State Chorus, he urged me to do so, and I (miraculously) made it. Even tonight at church - 41 years post high school - when a praise team member was out sick, I was able to step in and help, due in part to Mr. Shirley's training.
Years ago, I read an article titled "Leave A Mark, Not A Blur." Mr. Shirley was an amazing teacher, but an even greater man. His influence wasn't nebulous, but was a solid, well defined mark on many. - Dwight Johnson, Jr.
Dwight Johnson, Jr.Elba, AL
You are in our prayers. Mr Shirley was a great friend, encourager and mentor. 1 Peter 5:10-11
Scott MatthewsOzark, AL
Thinking of you all in your loss. Prayers for you in the days to come.
Mollie GoodwinHeadland, AL
I never had a class under Mr. Shirley but I remember him well. Always smiling and such a pleasant sweet disposition. Condolences to his family and friends. Carroll High School Class of 1981
Jan New MoringWicksburg, AL
You will be missed!
Rickey Shirley was more than a teacher to me...teaching was a calling for him ...he nurtured my love for music and put a song in my heart that will be there for the rest of my life...he inspired my life...he poured into my life with everything he had...he was a constant, lifelong friend...I will remember him for his joy, for his love and for his wonderful spirit...he will be forever loved and will forever have an impact on my life...My prayers are with you all as you manage this grief and the journey ahead. God Bless you all...
Debbie Chaves SumrallGlendale, AZ
So very sorry to hear of the loss of this great man....My thoughts and prayers are with the family.
Clara WattersOzark, AL