Runyon, Shirley Jean (Athens)

  • Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Shirley Jean Runyon, formerly of the Cumberland Hills community near Athens, went to be with the Lord on October 1, 2022, in Sandy Springs, Ga., surrounded by her extended family.

The daughter of the late Lemuel and Sarah Haley Runyon and granddaughter of the late Richard Ivins and Ethel Rose Johnson “Momma” Haley , Shirley was born and reared in Athens. Aside from a short time spent in California in the late1940s, Shirley lived her entire life in Athens until she moved to Sandy Springs in 2015 to be close to her family on her mother’s side.

Shirley was a graduate of McMinn County High School and Tennessee Wesleyan University, where she made lifelong friends, Robbie Ensminger “Tater,” Mary Ellen Kimbrough “Mud," Regenia Lawson Mayfield and many others. After graduating from college, Shirley began her career at Athens Stove Works, which later was acquired by White - Westinghouse, Electrolux and eventually the Frigidaire Corporation. She worked over 40 years at the same location in Athens, retiring at age 62 as manager of the parts department, which supplied repair parts to hundreds of dealers throughout the United States.

Shirley was revered by her coworkers, who were always astounded that from her memory she could provide the inventory number for any part described to them by a dealer who had called for assistance. 

Following her retirement in 1996, Shirley spent much of her time gardening with her mother, Sarah, and going to the mountains. Each May Shirley spent three weeks at The Beach Club One on Fort Myers Beach, Fl. with Sarah and
her aunt, Margaret Ann Adams, who was more like her sister since Ann was only five years older than her. After Sarah passed away in 2003, Shirley took many trips throughout the United States, most often with her dear friend, Sharon Coffey Offutt.

Shirley spent her younger years at Keith United Methodist Church and her adult years as a devoted member of Trinity United Methodist Church, where she was a member of the Rosa Caufield Circle.

Shirley is survived by her cousins, Sheron Adams Barnaby (Robert) and Susan Adams Thompson, of Atlanta, and Deborah Rose Adams and Laura Grifka of Largo, Fl.; second cousins, Melissa A. Barnaby and R. Todd Barnaby, both of Atlanta; as well as Todd’s children, Haley M. Barnaby (eight years old) and Lanier D. Barnaby (six years old), who were the absolute delight of her life during her years in Georgia. She is also survived by many other much loved cousins.

Visitation will be held from 12:30-1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 6 at Jerry E. Smith Funeral Home Chapel, with the funeral service immediately following and burial in Cedar Grove Cemetery.

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