Cover photo for Lucy M. Shirley's Obituary
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1932 Lucy 2024

Lucy M. Shirley

June 13, 1932 — January 31, 2024


Lucy Mildred (Donelson) Shirley, 91, of Converse, passed quietly, surrounded by her family, Wednesday, January 31, 2024.

Lucy was born on June 13, 1932 in Ash Flat, Arkansas, the daughter of Nathan Donelson and Lucy Alene Dumas Donelson Qualls. Her father took her on long hikes through the Arkansas back country, teacher her of medicinal plants, that imparted a deep love of nature for her the whole of her life. She was raised with her two siblings, Ray Qualls and Myrtle Mae Qualls, on the family farm. 

She married Carl O'Neal Shirley on February 16, 1948 and they raised four children: Charles (Julitta) Shirley, Mildred (Gary) Freeman, Catherine (Tom) Brewer, and Linda (Randy) Dever; and were blessed with sever grandchildren and eleven great grandchildren. 

Lucy was passionate about harness racing and a member of the Indiana Standardbred Harness Association. She and her husband owned and operated Shirley Stables from their farm in rural Converse and maintained stables at the Converse Fairgrounds for decades. Lucy was recognized as an early pioneer in the elevation of women in harness racing. 

She was retired from the Oak Hill United School Corporation. 

Lucy was preceded in death by her parents, sister, Myrtle Mae, husband, Neal Shirley, son, Charles Shirley, son in law, Gary Freeman, grandson, Bret Freeman, and great grandson, DJ Cavins. 

Visitation will be held on Monday, February 5, 2024 from 9 am - 11 am with a funeral service at 11 am at Converse Church of Christ, 301 E. Wabash St. Converse, IN. Burial will follow in I.O.O.F. Cemetery (Converse Cemetery) in Converse, IN. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to: Harness Horse Youth Foundation, 2711 Friar Tuck Rd. Anderson, IN 46013. 

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Lucy M. Shirley, please visit our flower store.


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