Obituary for Dorothy B. Shirley

Dorothy B. Shirley ended her mortal life’s journey and entered into paradise Jan. 17. She was 99 years of age at the time of her passing in her home.

Dorothy was born in Wichita Falls, Texas, on Oct. 14, 1919, to Daniel E. Priest and Norma Jane (Allison) Priest and was the fourth of seven children.

She grew up during the Great Depression and as a child she learned to work hard, hoeing and picking cotton, pulling bolls, heading maize and milking cows. She was always a happy and cheerful girl and was grateful for all she had. As a young girl, she was responsible for tending her younger siblings while her mother worked.

Dorothy Shirley

Dorothy came to Safford from Brady. Texas in 1937 with her mother and sisters, Lorayne and JoAnna, and her brother Dan. In that year, the family joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She was homesick for Texas after she moved to Safford but came to really love Safford and the people here. Later in her life, she often said she did not want to live any place except Safford, where she lived for the remainder of her life.

On June 11, 1938, Dorothy married Albert Nerge Foster and during this marriage had five children; David Steven, Phil Lee, Ann Marie, William Douglas, and Sylvia Ellen. This marriage ended in 1951 and in 1952, Dorothy married Leonard C. Shirley. They had one son; Robert Taylor Shirley.

She is survived by her children; David Steven Foster, Phil Lee Foster, Ann Marie Franklin, William Douglas Foster, Sylvia Ellen Taylor, and Robert Taylor Shirley; and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Dorothy was preceded in death by her parents, Daniel and Norma Priest; and all of her siblings, William, Dan, Isabelle, Elizabeth, Lorayne, and JoAnna.

Services will be held Friday, Feb. 1, beginning with a viewing at 10 a.m. followed by the funeral at 11 a.m. at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 20th Street Chapel with interment in the Safford Cemetery.

Arrangements are under the direction of McDougal’s Caldwell Funeral Chapel & Gila Valley Crematory.  Online condolences may be extended at

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