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Memories & Candles

“I was so sorry to hear of Shirley passing. She was a wonderful person whom I had been blessed to have known. She truly loved her family. She will be...Read More »
1 of 1 | Posted by: Elaine Pitts - Morganton, NC


Shirley Anne Stapp died unexpectedly on July 14, 2021, in North Carolina, where she resided with her family. She had lived with her sister, Jamie, brother-in-law, Joseph, and nephew, Jonathan, for more than 20 years since the illness and passing of her mother.
She was born on December 12, 1937, in Ringgold, GA to the late Ray Henderson and Nellie Kate Fowler Stapp. She was the granddaughter of the late William Berry and Roba Black Fowler and of the late John W. and Salina E. Stapp, all of Ringgold. She is survived by her sisters, Linda Joyce Stapp Black (Dr. Colquitt C. Black, III), of Summerville, GA, and Dr. Jamie Kay Stapp Young (Reverend Joseph Marion Young), Morganton, NC, as well as niece, Candi Black Forester (Charles Forester) of Summerville, GA, and nephew, Jonathan Henderson Young, Morganton, NC. She is also survived by her special aunt, Nancy Fowler Wicker (Larry Wicker) of Ringgold, who was born ten days apart and raised almost like sisters, as well as several great nieces and nephews (Emily Katelin Hunter Allen, Summerville, GA; Andrew Paul Irvin, Knoxville, TN, and Rebekah Jordan Irvin Robitaille, of Chattanooga, TN), and great nephews and nieces (Dakyota and Clyde Allen, and Carter Robitaille), as well as many cousins. She was also a beloved aunt to her family dogs, Darsea, Plato, and Daisy as well as Jasmine, Twilight and Susie.
After graduation from Ringgold High School in 1956, she first started nursing school at Baroness Erlanger Hospital (now Erlanger Medical Center) in Chattanooga, TN. However, illness from Asiatic influenza halted her studies, and she began work in Rossville, GA. She enjoyed working for many years at Peerless TV and Appliances and at Happy Valley Farms, as a trusted bookkeeper and assistant. She took pleasure in working around the horses at Happy Valley and attending various regional horse shows (with sweet memories of arranging the first airplane ride for her young sister Jamie and cousin Pam Barton to join her for one of the shows). Later, she took a job closer to home, at Salem Carpets (now Shaw Industries) to be of closer help to her parents. Because of her work ethic and attention to detail, she was offered multiple promotions to travel nation-wide with Shaw, but declined them due to a sense of devotion to care for her parents. Her dedication, loyalty, and conscientious work earned her deep respect from her employers and coworkers.
She selflessly devoted her life to watching over her family, living with her mother and father until their deaths. She grew up close to and loved her sister, Linda, and later, her niece, Candi, and was "Saturday Night Mama" for Candi throughout her younger years as Candi would spend almost every weekend with her aunt and grandparents.
Her younger sister, Jamie, was born at home when Shirley was 21 years old and she often lovingly recounted that she helped their beloved family physician, Dr. Charles Stephenson, bring her sister into this world and she gave her sister her first bath. That close bond between Shirley and Jamie was lifelong and endures now even beyond death.
Her brother-in-law, Joseph, of almost 40 years considered her to be his own sister. They shared daily humor and wittiness that was founded in mutual love and respect. She used to chuckle when she jokingly announced to unsuspecting people: "I live with a minister, but I'm not married to him." It is out of this deep admiration and love that he will be delivering her funeral service.
Shirley and her nephew Jonathan were inseparable, and she was a constant loving presence for his life, caring for him since the day he was born. She drove him to school and watched over him as he grew up. Even during her hospital admission two days ago, she remained watchful and concerned about the wellbeing of him and her sister, Jamie more so than her own health. This was the selflessness that guided her life.
She took an early retirement after her mother suffered a stroke and they both moved to live with her younger sister, Jamie, in Louisville, KY, during the last part of her sister's medical school training in the late 1990s. After her mother's death, in 2002, she continued to live with her sister and was an integral part of their lives.
Over the years, Shirley loved to drive and the countless memories of the trips she would take the family on will be in our hearts forever. The summer vacations visiting our uncle Jim in Florida were so happy. She drove us around the country and even made the trip to move Jonathan and his dog to graduate school in Iowa, all in one day. She traveled with us to Oxford, England to meet Jonathan after a conference and was able to see where he would be living for the rest of his education and was looking forward to her next trip there to be with him. The very day she went to the hospital unexpectedly, she had been on a day trip to Charlotte with her family to help finalize the details of Jonathan's Visa to live in the UK.
She loved to bake cakes and can green beans and other garden vegetables. Growing up, just about every Sunday dinner table had one of her cakes. The taste of the rich icing from her German chocolate cakes or the fun of cutting into her three-colored chocolate layer cakes with fudge icing are unforgettable. She also loved her puzzle books and could be found working on one while waiting patiently in the car on whichever errands or trips that she was helping with. We will forever hear her polka music streaming up the stairway from her Saturday night TV shows.
During her time in North Carolina, she enjoyed working alongside her sister and was an integral part of helping her establish her medical practice there. The patients came to know and love her gentle, kind spirit and her sense of humor

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