|Birth: ||Mar. 16, 1931|
|Death: ||Jan. 27, 2010|
Entertainer. Shirley Nelson, 78, Springfield, Missouri, passed away in Cox South Medical Center. She was born to Alice (Davis) and Henry Simpson in Chillicothe, Mo.
Shirley was best known as Willie Nelson's second wife; however she was a renowned Musician, Yodeler, Song Writer, Actress and Author. She spent her lifetime in the Music industry and wrote many songs.
One song placed number one on the hits chart recorded by Glen Campbell titled "Once More With Feeling". And many other songs became hits. Her career started at the young age of 14 when she was hired to replace Sue on the "Millie and Sue" show which aired on KMBC radio in Kansas City.
Later she would join the televised Red Foley show called the "Ozark Jubilee". After the Ozark Jubilee she went on the road with the Philip Morris show and performed and befriended Patsy Cline and Little Jimmy Dickens and met her future husband, Biff Collie. Biff was a Hall of Fame disc jockey from California. Shirley would marry and move to California where she joined the televised "Country America" show.
When in California she was selected to be on the hit Groucho Marx show, which she said was a riot. She auditioned for the Beverly Hillbillies and was hired to play Aunt Bea; however, she never played the role as she ran off with Willie Nelson. Joe Allison, a highly thought of record producer approached Shirley to sing with an upcoming Musician, Willie Nelson that previous singers had been unable to sing harmony with him due to his style.
After recording an album together it was a huge success and one of the songs, "Willingly" became a chart hit and established Willie Nelson as a new star. They had several other harmonizing masterpieces. Harold Bradley, President of the Nashville Association of Musicians, as well as a dear friend, always mentions the harmonies of Willie and Shirley.
Later Shirley and Willie would marry and Shirley chose to stay home and help raise Willie's three children from a previous marriage, Lana, Susie, and Billy. After their divorce, Willie and Shirley have remained best of friends and Willie has contributed to Shirley's pursuit of publishing her book, "Scrapbooks in My Mind".
Shirley continued to perform in Branson at Mutton Hollow and she would perform and yodel with Willie when he was touring in Missouri until she retired. She was given a lifetime achievement award from KMBC and the Central Country Music Awards in 1996.
She is survived by her husband, Ed Melton, who was her friend, companion, and care giver. He helped Shirley pursue her dreams of publishing her book and will continue to monitor sales online through Amazon and Book Locker. He was at her side when she passed and will keep her memories close at heart. Other survivors include Mary Lou Ritchie; sister; a very special niece, Terri Lynn Ritchie, Aaron Ritchie, Ronnie Simpson and John Simpson; nephews, Thelma Buttman; sister-in-law, Connie Landino and Lisa Jones; nieces, Heath, Jacob and Jared VanDusen; great nephews, Heather VanDusen, great niece, and a host of other family and friends.
Funeral services were held at Eastlawn Funeral Home on Monday, February 01, 2010.
Henry Lee Simpson (1905 - 1988)
Alice Leona Davis Simpson (1907 - 1996)
Lewis Edward Jones (1925 - 1985)*
Shirley Collie Nelson (1931 - 2010)
Ronald Leroy Simpson (1932 - 1967)*
White Chapel Memorial Gardens
Created by: J. D. McConnell
Record added: Feb 01, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 47439579