Shirley Ann (Landry) Edgerly
Posted at 4:57 p.m. on Monday, December 19, 2022
- Shirley Ann (Landry) Edgerly
Shirley (Landry) Edgerly: A good and faithful, if sassy servant
Shirley Ann (Landry) Edgerly, a longtime resident of Port Arthur, Texas, died December 16, 2022 at her home. Shirley was born on November 2, 1933, to Emile Joseph Landry and Eunice Marie (Romero) Boutte. Shirley attended St. Mary’s Primary School, graduated from Bishop Byrne/St. Mary’s Section Secondary School in 1951, and was a proud member of St. Mary’s Belles.
The house of Shirley and her sister Betty was very calm and structured. Emile worked in refineries and was a union leader. Eunice was a stay-at-home mom, who created a happy home for the family. There were lots of kids in the neighborhood so there was plenty of play time outside with friends. Fortunately, many of her childhood friendships lasted a long time, including friendships with Alberta, Dorothy, Emily, Merle, Nancy, Teresa, and Rosemary.
Shirley was nice to her friends, but a little rebellious to authority. Shirley’s friend, Teresa, cried when she entered school, and Shirley assured Teresa that they would sit down together so she could stop crying. It worked. However, the nun did not approve of Shirley choosing her own seat and banished her to the room.
She didn’t quite understand why it was more important to sit in the assigned seat than to help a friend, but she took the consequences. Shirley’s sister, Betty, noted that there were many rules at home and at school that Shirley broke. Shirley has been called to the principal’s office several times for, among other things, being sassy with the nuns!
Shirley Ann (Landry) Edgerly
Once, Betty was called to the principal’s office to deliver a message to their parents. The principal wanted them to do something for Shirley. Betty told the principal that they tried, but there was nothing they could do either!
Shirley’s uncles gave her the nickname “Joe” after Joe Lewis (world heavyweight champion) because Shirley wanted to be a fist fighter! His fighting spirit included fighting for his sister. Once, while driving home, a boy was talking to a group of children which included Shirley and Betty.
Shirley was suspicious of the boy talking to Betty, so she threw a rock at the boy to scare him away. Betty lamented that she may have lost a possible boyfriend. Unfortunately, the boy spoke and Shirley got into trouble again.
A house rule of Emile and Eunice was that their daughters were not allowed to wear shorts in public, but Shirley had another idea. She hid shorts in her purse and changed at a friend’s house.
However, Port Arthur was not a big city and Emile got wind of the transgression. Shirley had to cancel a Saturday night date and instead had to walk to the movie with her mum and dad right in front of several of her friends hanging out along the way.
Shirley had lots of friends and was dating a few boys, but one day she spotted a cute guy with an Elvis Presley hairstyle in her chemistry class. She pushed a pencil through her hair, and a love affair spanning over 70 years began. Cute guy Nelson David Edgerly and Shirley were married on September 20, 1952. Nelson and Shirley were devout Catholics and planned to have 12 children in honor of the movie Cheaper by the Dozen. Eventually, however, they decided that 9 children was “cheap” enough!
Nelson and Shirley not only loved dancing, but were also very good at it. They joined the San Souci Social Club and went dancing and dining every few weeks. Shirley and Nelson as a couple and with children had many fun hours visiting other great families. Families played guitar, sang, and visited places like Dam Bee and Taylor’s Bayou.
Nelson and Shirley sometimes vacationed with childless friends, especially when Nelson was traveling on union business. Shirley developed mutually supportive friendships with many of her 13th Street neighbors, including Peggy Arrant and Lorraine Dunham, and was the mother of others, including Della Sue (Johnson) Nugier.
Shirley learned to sew at a young age and became a very creative seamstress. As a teenager, she made most of her clothes and made evening dresses for the many dances her five daughters attended. Shirley taught her daughters and a few granddaughters to sew and iron in preparation for building their own home.
Shirley was very practical around the house. If a light switch, outlet, small appliance, washer or dryer were broken, Shirley could fix it. She also taught several of her children to lift a car, jump a car, and change a tire. And of course, Shirley never missed an opportunity to teach her children about the role God played in everyday life.
When starting the car was an “uncertain” affair, she would ask her children to pray for the car to start. Many “Hail Marys” have been said on these occasions, and many car starting miracles have occurred through these powerful prayers! Along with traditional Catholic practices, Shirley often found moments of zen while spending hours mowing the grass (including the ditch!). She cut the grass well in her 70s.
Shirley was a good and faithful servant at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Port Arthur, Texas. As a founding member, Shirley devoted countless hours and tremendous energy to the parish and helped build many parish organizations. Shirley has served as an officer in the Altar Society, Parish Council, Liturgy Committee and Bereavement Committee.
She has also served as a counselor to the parish’s Catholic Youth Organization and Eucharistic minister, reader, and teller. Shirley has helped raise funds for parish organizations by baking a monumental number of squash cakes and casseroles, handing out mountains of spaghetti in the parish hall, and selling blood sausage balls at Mardi Gras festivals.
Shirley’s spiritual devotion led her to attend a Deeds Retreat, an inspiring experience she has spoken of many times. Her ability to build relationships has continued unabated, and she is fortunate to have many lifelong friends from St. Joseph’s. Yet, as busy as she was supporting her parish, she found time to support organizations in which her children participated. She sold concessions and was a huge fan of the Gators baseball team and the Bishop Byrne High School football team. Shirley served on the school board at Bishop Byrne Secondary School and fought tirelessly to keep Bishop Byrne open.
For more than 35 years, Shirley has worked passionately as an election official in Jefferson County to ensure elections run smoothly and are conducted fairly. She served for several years as a scrutineer and her service resulted in her appointment as a circuit judge.
She has also attended numerous Democratic conventions at the national and state level, often as a delegate. Additionally, Shirley started working for Jason’s Deli after her youngest child entered high school and did so for about 10 years. She was very good at any job she took on and, unsurprisingly, she became the manager of Jason’s Deli at Central Mall.
Shirley was a loving and impartial mother. Rules of behavior were clear and consequences swift, unless the infraction was so serious that punishment was delayed until Nelson got off his night shift! Shirley made sure all her children went to parish school and didn’t miss church on Sundays.
She lived in a way that molded devotion, determination and sufficient patience. Over the years, many who have met his children have praised them for their work ethic and tenacious determination to do a job well. She raised strong, capable and independent children. There is no doubt that Shirley’s relentless and nimble approach to life positively influenced the way her children made their way in the world.
As a loving service to her children and grandchildren, Shirley would often spend a week or two at her new grandchild’s home. She believed in the importance of sharing time and contact with her grandchildren, so that the grandmother/grandchild bond could be formed. Shirley’s children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren love, respect and appreciate her immensely.
Like anyone else, Shirley’s life has been filled with hardship and heartache, as well as love and pleasure. Shirley is an example of someone who accepted and dealt with whatever life threw at her, good and bad, as best she could.
Shirley had a knack for connecting with everyone she met, from a visitor at church to a nurse at the hospital. As a lifelong resident of Port Arthur, Shirley knew many people, and with enough warm questions, she could find someone she knew who was known to her new friend. She was also a very kind and docile patient, so she got a 5 star rating from her caregivers in the hospital and at home.
On that note, we would like to thank Suzanna Ahmed, Princella Batiste, Valerie Brooks, Edna McZeal and Mildred Rivera for their loving care of Shirley over the past year and Maria White for her service to Nelson and Shirley over the past 3 years. . The family sends special thanks to the nurses and caregivers at Intrepid Hospice who so kindly cared for Shirley in her final days.
Shirley has made her home a place of comfort and acceptance. Many of her children’s spouses and friends enjoyed being in her home and around her. She always made sure there was food to eat and beds or sofas to sleep on. Shirley taught her children and others that if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all, and she faithfully lived by that maxim.
At the end, Shirley shared some words of wisdom.
To married couples: “Be nice to each other and be good friends.”
To all: “Love one another and help one another when needed. We must not give everything, but help each other when necessary.
What she wants people to know about her. “Tell them I was sassy!”
Shirley Ann Landry Edgerly leaves behind her beloved children Davette Colichia and her husband Danny of Bridge City, Cheryl Hebert of Port Arthur, Lynette Lindner and her husband Mark of Cheshire, CT, Nelson Edgerly, Jr. and his wife Cheryl of Groves, Tammy Edgerly of Austin, Michael Edgerly of Port Neches, Alvin Edgerly and his wife Vickie of Orange, Ragan Edgerly and his wife Kristine of Austin, and Susan Martinez and her husband Glenn of Austin; her sisters, Betty Richard of Austin, Gayle Burrows and her husband John of Austin; nephew, Keith Richard of Austin. Shirley also leaves behind 32 grandchildren and 28 great-grandchildren. She is predeceased by her husband, Nelson, her parents Emile and Eunice, her son-in-law Carson Hebert, her niece Ann Richard and her brother-in-law Martin Richard.
A visitation for Shirley Ann Landry Edgerly was held at Clayton Thompson Funeral Home on Tuesday, December 20 from 5 to 8 p.m. with a Rosary at 6 p.m. A funeral mass was held at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church on Wednesday, December 21 at 10 a.m., followed by interment at Greenlawn Memorial Park. A luncheon was held at St. Joseph’s at Cody Hall following the interment. In lieu of flowers, a memorial donation may be made to St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.