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Shirley Conder Jackson

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Posted: Monday, February 13, 2012 3:24 pm

Shirley Conder Jackson, known to many as "Miss Shirley," died Saturday, Feb. 11, 2012, after a year-long illness. She was 74.

Rosary will be recited at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 14, at Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church in Alpine. Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 15, followed by graveside services at Elm Grove Cemetery. Alpine Memorial Funeral Home handled arrangements.

Pallbearers will be Paul Evans, Rick Keith, Jim Luecke, Jack Mayfield, Ken Rohde and Jeff Viojas.

Shirley was born April 19, 1937, in Weatherford, Okla., where she grew up. As a patriot and proud of her military service, Shirley served as a WAVE in the U.S. Navy.

"Anyone who knew Shirley knew that she had a beautiful set of lungs and was known for her singing talent," her family said. She sang professionally on the Jimmy Dean Show in the late 1950s and recorded a record with Mercury Records. Recognized for her talent, Shirley went on to sing with Patsy Cline, and the two forged a friendship that lasted until Cline's death in 1963.

In the fall of 1962, Shirley met and married the love of her life, H. Joaquin Jackson. They moved to Uvalde, where they raised two sons, Don Joaquin and Lance Sterling. While raising her family, Shirley worked in medical records at the hospital in Uvalde. In the evenings while her children were young, Shirley attended night school and earned a B.A. in English and her teacher's certificate from Southwest Texas Junior College. After graduating, Shirley found her true passion, which was teaching in elementary and junior high school. She was known for her strictness in the classroom, while at the same time inspiring students to exceed at every level.

After Joaquin requested a move to Alpine with the Texas Rangers, Shirley went on to earn a master's degree in counseling and a second master's in midlevel education management from Sul Ross State University. Shirley taught for several years with the Alpine Independent School District and finished her career as the counselor at Alpine Middle School.

After retirement, Shirley and Joaquin thoroughly enjoyed traveling around the country visiting their many friends and attending NRA conventions for directors' business. As a great supporter of gun rights, Shirley could hold her own with a handgun. With immense pride in her life with "her Ranger," Shirley traveled with Joaquin for book signings and talks, visiting with folks all over the country and across the state.

Shortly before her illness, Shirley joined longtime friend Kim Keith for a lifelong dream on a Mediterranean cruise and a two-week trip to Italy.

"Always known as a looker,' Shirley was known for her beautiful red hair and sharp dress," her family said. "Shirley had a passion for life that was expressed in her singing and dancing. At most events if she was not on the stage, she could most certainly be found on the dance floor! She loved to cook for her family and friends. Her grandchildren would say that she was the master with chicken and dumplings and her chocolate fudge. Shirley was devoted to her husband, children and grandchildren and was known for her loyalty. She took great pride in the accomplishments of her family and took bragging rights anytime the opportunity availed itself."

"During Shirley's 15-month illness, Joaquin never left her side and for many nights he slept in the hospital room with her," her family said.

The couple would have been married 50 years this coming October, and set an example of devotion, loyalty and love in marriage for their children and grandchildren. Shirley was preceded in death by her parents, Vera Cavins and Oscar Conder, and her sister, Yvonne Conder Kahn.

Survivors include her husband, Joaquin Jackson of Alpine; sons Don Joaquin of Wichita Falls, and Lance Sterling Jackson and wife Elizabeth of Alpine; four grandchildren, Adam Dempsey Jackson, Ellen Perron Jackson, Tyler Joaquin Jackson and Maggie Perron Jackson; sister-in-law Dorothy Jackson Moring and husband Jim; nephew Bruce Moring and wife Meg and their son, Jared; and friends Kim and Rick Keith, and their daughters Jade and Sage.

A scholarship fund has been established in Shirley's name to be given each year to a distinguished Alpine High School senior. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be made to the Shirley Jackson Memorial Scholarship Fund and sent to West Texas National Bank, 101 E. Avenue E, Alpine, TX 79830-4725.