Shirley was born in Palisade and attended the fine school in that small community. As a young girl she was an accompanist at church and at school. She graduated from the University of Nebraska with honors and a BA in music education. Later, she earned a Masters degree in Music from the University of Denver.
She was a life long musician. She specialized in piano, organ and music education. Shirley taught music in several towns in Nebraska, Denver, Colo., Grand Ledge, Mich., and finally in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Shirley met and married the love of her life, Max Ploughman, in Lansing, Mich., and transferred her amazing musical talent to that city where she quickly entered into the music circles in that community. Many of her former students have kept in touch with her and always mention how she made a difference in their lives.
She relocated to Scottsdale in 1998, and was welcomed by her sister, her nieces and nephews and their families. She immediately found her place in the Arizona music world and was interim organist in several churches before becoming permanent organist at Second Church of Christ, Scientist, Scottsdale, where she was a member. For most of her life she was a devoted member of the Christian Science church and reflected the teachings and love to all she met.
Shirley was a life-long patron of the arts and all things musical. She took great pride in the musical accomplishments of her nieces, nephews, and great nieces and nephews. She and her late husband, Max, often gave support to young, beginning artists.
Shirley's high standards and love of life were evident in her everyday activities. She was always joyful, serene, and patient and a true inspiration to everyone she met.
She was a member of Delta Omicron Inter-National Music Fraternity, AZ Music Teachers Association, American Guild of Organists, Chapter BA, PEO.
She is survived by her sister, Marjorie Stapleton; sister-in-law, Dixie Premer; nieces, Margaret Lepine and Carol Richardson; nephews, Mark Premer, Michael Premer, Gregory Premer and John Stapleton; and many great-nieces and nephews and so many friends.
A memorial service will be at the Second Church of Christ, Scientist 10180 N. Hayden Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85258 on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2009, at 2 p.m.
A second celebration of life will be hosted by Ralph Votapec and James Forger at Hart Recital Hall on the Michigan State University Campus, Lansing on Nov. 3, at 4.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Second Church of Christ, Scientist, Scottsdale or The Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, 7380 E. 2nd Street, Scottsdale, AZ 85251