Shirley Virginia Richardson was born September 19, 1943 in Amelia County, Virginia to Ellen Mae Wingo and Ellwood J. Richardson.
Until she was 13, she lived in her grandparents’ tobacco farm in Jetersville, Virginia. She was raised a country girl with country values. She was exposed to home-cooked country meals, chickens, pigs, cows, mules, horses, a vegetable garden, galvanized tub baths, a two-seater outhouse, playing horse shoes, checkers, dominoes, and Southern Baptist Sunday services. And she was one of the youngest member of a large, extended and loving family. She was a tomboy and tagged around with her not-much-older uncles, Frank and Richard.
From the beginning, she was a bright student and thoroughly enjoyed school. At 13, this country girl joined her mother, sister, and stepfather in Washington, DC. She continued excelling academically; graduating from Taft Junior High and Coolidge High School. She worked at the main DC Post Office to pay her way through Howard University. She earned a degree in Spanish and French.
Shirley’s first job was with D.C. government certifying food stamp applicants. After marrying John Borders in 1968, they moved to Philadelphia where initially she was a purchasing officer for the Defense Personnel Support Center (DPSC). She didn’t enjoy the work, so she successfully interviewed for a position in DPSC’s computer branch. They sent her to computer training which she successfully completed.
Their daughter, Lisa, was born in 1971. That year they returned to Washington. Shirley continued enhancing her computer skills advancing to computer systems analyst, grade 13.
With her impressive interpersonal, verbal and written communication skills, she successfully gained employment with several federal government agencies including the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the Family Support Administration’s Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE). At FRA, Shirley received an award for exemplary performance in support of the FRA’s Management Information Systems Program. At OSCE, Shirley was involved with an effort to interface the national list of those not paying child support with the list of those due federal tax refunds. She received OCSE’s second highest award for her contribution.
Between 1990 to 1996, Shirley transitioned to a Social Services Representative working in the Departments of Social Services for both Prince Georges County and Howard County.
As if the above is not impressive enough, she then became a substitute teacher from 1996 to 2002 mainly at Bowie High School in Prince Georges County. She was highly regarded by the administration and students.
It is no exaggeration to say that Shirley was the total package: highly intelligent, compassionate, self-confident, independent, no-nonsense, attractive, funny, had a flair for fashion and interior decorating, immaculate homemaker, great cook, had beautiful handwriting, and we could go on, but let this suffice.
During 53 years of marriage, they lived in 10 homes which required Shirley to do lots of packing and unpacking.
Shirley enjoyed traveling, whether by car, train, plane, or cruise ship. There were trips to Hawaii, several Caribbean countries (notably Bermuda, Jamaica and Belize) and Montreal, Canada. Domestic adventures included Los Angeles, CA; Charleston and Hilton Head, SC; Charlotte, NC; Disney World and Naples, FL; Atlanta, GA; Nashville, TN; and numerous resorts along the eastern coast.
After an heroic struggle against Alzheimer’s lasting 18 years, Shirley passed at home in the presence of loved ones at Riderwood Village, Silver Spring, MD.
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