Funeral services for Shirley Gaile Suddath Strong, 84, will be at 10:00 am, Friday, December 27, 2019, at First United Methodist Church of Whitesboro officiated by Reverend Cindy Kennedy and Reverend Adam Spore. Interment will follow at Oakwood Cemetery in Whitesboro, Tx. There will be a time of visitation for family and friends from 6:00-8:00 pm on Thursday, December 26, 2019, at Meador Funeral Home in Whitesboro, Tx. Pallbearers will be Glenn Moore, Steve Kennedy, Chris Kennedy, Jeffrey Moore, Kyle McCoy, Caleb McCoy, Dale Clark, and Joe Settlemires. Honorary pallbearers will be Hollis Lackey, Michael Dickson, Josh Dickson, Jace Dickson, Tom Leach, Billy Miller, Kyle Maynard, and Warren McCulloch.
Shirley Strong, our dear mother, grandmother, aunt, and friend, went to be with our Lord on Saturday, December 21, 2019. Shirley was born on September 7, 1935, to loving parents Mildred and Jack Suddath. Shirley spent her childhood in Sherman, Bowie, and Pecos Tx. Her family moved to Whitesboro when Shirley was eight and she graduated from Whitesboro High School. She graduated college from TCU and began her teaching career in Fort Worth, Tx. She taught one of the first pilot kindergarten programs in Texas at Brushelky Elementary School in Fort Worth. She married Jerry Strong on April 20, 1962. Jerry and Shirley began their relationship as carpool partners and eventually fell in love. When her son Clint was born in 1965, she became a stay at home Mom. The couple added a daughter Suzette in 1966 and their family was complete. In 1975, the couple moved to Arlington, Tx., and raised their family in the metroplex. Shirley began teaching again when her children were in junior high. She taught pe, special education, and first grade. After a twenty-seven-year teaching career, Shirley retired from Arlington ISD. Shirley was an excellent teacher and received the Teacher of the Year Award at Roark Elementary twice during her career. She worked hard to motivate her students and to instill a lifelong love of learning in every child she encountered. She moved to Whitesboro in 2013 to be close to her family.
Shirley was an accomplished pianist who played for her church, weddings, and funerals during her high school and college years. She was a hands-on Mom and always volunteered for leadership roles in her children’s activities. She also enjoyed volunteering in her daughter Suzette’s kindergarten class where the students lovingly called her Grandma Shirley. She loved to exercise, garden, and visit with her family, friends, and neighbors. In her senior years, Shirley joined the First United Methodist Church of Whitesboro and participated in the following church ministries: Nurture Committee, Extended Table Committee, United Methodist Women, Word Search Sunday School Class, Summer Lunch Volunteer, Vacation Bible School Volunteer, Family Night Dinner Volunteer, Prayer Blanket Ministry, and card ministry. She instilled strong values of love, kindness, generosity, community involvement, and charity work in her children, family, students, and friends.
Shirley is survived by her son, Clint Strong of Whitesboro, daughter, Suzette Strong of Whitesboro, grandson, CJ Strong and great grandson, Andrew Strong of Redding, California, sister, June West of Whitesboro, sister, Darlene Moore and husband Glenn of Whitesboro, niece, Reverend Cindy Kennedy, niece, Laura Kennedy and husband Kyle, niece, Leslie Anderson, niece, Julie Moore, nephew, Steve Kennedy, nephew, Chris Kennedy, nephew, Jeffrey Moore and wife Julie, several great nieces and nephews, and her beloved dog and loving companion Puck. She was preceded in death by her husband, Jerry Strong, her parents, Jack and Mildred Suddath, her brother, Jack “Chigger” Suddath, her nephew, Glenn “Bebo” Moore, her nephew, David Anderson, and her great niece, Ayla Grace Knight.
The Strong Family would like to thank Dr. John Sissney and Staff, Dr. Alex Ehsan and Staff, and Axtell Pharmacy of Whitesboro for providing Shirley with such excellent medical care during her illness. We owe a wealth of gratitude to the nurses and staff of Caring Bridge Home Health and Monarch Hospice for making Shirley’s last days comfortable and for all your love and support to our family. Special thanks to Shirley’s Caregivers Angie, Hannah, Marion, Krista, Marilyn, Laura, Deborah, Terri, and therapists Cindy, Brandi, and Brooke for their love, devotion, and dedication. We would also like to thank our close friends Kelly and Michael Dickson for their love, support, and kindness to our family during Mom’s illness and passing.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to First United Methodist Church of Whitesboro.