Shirley Carley

Published 5:25 pm Thursday, December 26, 2019

STARKVILLE — Shirley Carley passed away Dec. 26, 2019.

She was born in Vicksburg to Mary Wilcox Holland and William Holmes Holland.

She graduated Carr Central High School as valedictorian and went to MSCW “The W,” where she majored in journalism with a minor in Spanish and was the editor of the campus newspaper, The Spectator.

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Upon graduation (her father always said she graduated ‘Oh Lawdy’, rather than cum laude!), she married C.T. Carley, with whom she had been a classmate since kindergarten.

They moved to Massachusetts, then to Rhode Island, where he attended Naval OCS, after which C.T. was stationed in the Philippine Islands, where their first child was born, then back to the States in Oceanside, Calif.

After living in North Carolina and Virginia, they settled in Starkville, their home for 55 years.

Shirley was active in the Newcomers Club, bridge clubs and was co-founder of the Inquirer’s Sunday school class at FUMC. She was on the board of directors for the Starkville Community Theatre and a member of the Starkville Community Chorus, board of directors for Habitat.

When her youngest started school, Shirley went back to work; first for the public relations department at MSU and then as a reporter and feature editor at the Starkville Daily News.

She was well known for years for writing the weekly feature “Monday People” where her love of people and interest in their lives was on display. She never met a stranger and could always find a connection with whomever she was talking to.  Shirley won awards from the Mississippi Press Association and the Mississippi Press Women during her 20 years on the paper. Nothing frustrated her more than grammatical and spelling errors in a newspaper.

She and C.T. took many exciting trips — visiting Russia, Australia, Europe, and spent six months in Argentina, where she used her college Spanish (although the thought she was asking for a hair dryer when in fact she asked for a dry chicken!).

She loved MSU football and baseball but had a special affection for Mississippi State women’s basketball — she knew all the players over the years. An active member of Trinity Presbyterian for 20 years, she helped with the “casserole kitchen.”

She was preceded in death by her parents and her brother, William Holmes Holland Jr. She is survived by her husband of 64 years, CT, and her children, Karen Walker (Ron), Mari Stermer (David), Chip Carley and Holland Carley.

She was beloved ‘Gaga’ to 7 grandchildren Zachariah, Carley, Timon, Samuel, Jonas, McKenzie and Morgan.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to Habitat for Humanity or MUW Foundation.

The family wants to give special thanks to Kay Cooper, a dear friend.

There will be a visitation Saturday, Dec. 28 at Welch Funeral Home from 9 to 11 a.m., with the service immediately following at 11.

You may go online to www.welchfuneralhomes.com to leave a condolence.