Shirley Freda Stafford Garrett, 88, passed away on March 27, 2022, holding hands with her oldest daughter and son-in-law.
Shirley was born in National City, CA on November 18, 1933, to the late Wadell Humbert (Jack) Stafford and Bertha Mae (Betty) Gless Stafford. She was the older sister to the late Bruce Stafford. She graduated Sweetwater High School in National City, CA in 1952 and earned a Bachelor’s degree from San Diego State University in 1956 and later a Master’s degree in Education.
While studying at SDSU, she married the love of her life, the late Willis Clyde, Jr. (Pat) Garrett on June 20, 1955 at National City United Methodist Church in National City, CA.
A loving mother and a profoundly adoring and devoted wife, Shirley relished her 43 years of marriage to Pat. They pursued their shared love of education, learning, and adventure by taking teaching positions across of a number of states and U.S. territories including Socorro and Albuquerque, NM; Agana, GU; Hilo, HI; Quincy, CA; and finally Prescott, AZ, where they settled in for the long haul and where Shirley taught English and business writing at Yavapai College and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University from 1982-2010. A firm believer in education as an equalizer, she inspired thousands of students to love the written word and influenced hundreds of lives in the education profession.
Shirley was strong in her faith and an active member of the Chino Valley United Methodist church in Chino Valley, AZ. She was unapologetically opinionated, with the grace and strength to admit when she was wrong. Enthusiastic to see others shine, she was content to coach and counsel her family and students from the wings. She dreamt big for others, especially for young women to be bold and impactful leaders.
In the years after her husband Pat passed away, Shirley was fiercely and wonderfully independent. She loved “her” Arizona Diamondbacks, bridge nights with friends, Almond Roca, bird-watching, and romance novels. She could’ve been a NASCAR driver in another life, she loved to dance to her own beat, her loud one-syllable laugh was recognizable 3 rooms away, and she sang so beautifully off-key in a way that only God and those who loved her dearest could appreciate. She held her family and friends as her most precious possessions, and left them with a strong foundation of love, stories, and memories.
Shirley is survived by her oldest daughter, Joanmari (Joanie) Garrett Still (Dave Still) of Guntersville, AL; grandchildren Gregory Pat (Greg) Borja (Mel Borja) of Saipan, CNMI; Anmari Jo (Anie) Borja (Peter Vogl) of Arlington, VA; Laura Still Litz (Darren Litz) of Claymont, DE; Kimberly Still Christensen (Ryan Christensen) of Gilbert, AZ; Patrick Fassell of Sacramento, CA; 13 great-grandchildren and 2 great-great grandchildren. Her youngest daughter Beth Ann Fassell passed away on June 24, 2020.