Shirley Ann Craigen West passed away Sunday morning March 17, 2013, at her home in Brownwood, Texas. Visitation will be held from 6-8:30 p.m. today at Heartland Funeral Home. On Wednesday, March 20, graveside services will be held at 11 a.m. in Eastlawn Memorial Park. A memorial service and celebration of her life will be held at 2:30 p.m. at First United Methodist Church.
Shirley is survived by husband, Kenneth West; son and daughter-in-law, Glen and Julie West of Brenham, Texas; daughter, Kay West Smith of Kennedale, Texas; brother, George Wayne Craigen of Austin, Texas; and granddaughters, Gracie, Gretchen, Darby and Haley. Shirley was an active member of First United Methodist Church and was membership committee chairman.
Shirley Ann Craigen West was born March 9, 1940, in Beaumont, Texas, to Thelma Coles Craigen and George Craigen. They moved to Port Lavaca in 1945 where George was a rice farmer and eventually served as the city mayor. Shirley was a Port Lavaca Sandcrab at Port Lavaca High School for her freshman and sophomore year. Her family moved to Victoria in 1956 where she became a Stingeree at Victoria High School and finished her junior and senior years and graduated in 1958. She was a team member of Victoria High School’s first Stingarette basketball team.
The magic began after graduation when she met a young, handsome, junior high coach named Kenneth West and married him on July 18, 1959, at West Minster Methodist Church. In April of 1960, they began a new adventure to Brady, Texas, as high school coach and coach’s wife. Shirley also became the secretary to the high school principal and they lived there only one year. Later that year, they moved to Coleman, Texas, for a new coaching position. A new member was added to the West family in 1961, when son Gordon Glen, named after his Godfather Gordon Wood, was born. In 1963, they moved to Brownwood, Texas, where they joined Kenneth’s high school coach, Gordon Wood’s football staff.
Shirley was a loyal and devoted coach’s wife and a key part of their six football state championships. Brownwood brought many wonderful times and especially the joy of the birth of their daughter, Georgia Kay in 1968. Shirley began working for Brownwood ISD as a teacher’s aide at Northwest Elementary and then moved to the registrar position at Brownwood High School. She eventually worked at Brownwood Junior High School as the secretary for principal Roland Graves and retired from BISD in 1993 after 25 years of service.
She then began her most prestigious job of all as grandmother to her granddaughters Gracie Katherine West, Gretchen Madison West, Darby Nicole Smith and Haley Craigen Smith. Loving, adventuresome, doting and giving, Shirley, otherwise known as Gigi, gave her heart and soul to her family. She beautifully served and loved her husband Kenneth. She proudly believed in, nurtured and adored her son Glen and daughter Kay. She welcomed, loved and embraced her daughter-in-law Julie and former son-in-law Coby. Shirley was the ultimate hostess. She greatly impacted everyone who was near and dear to her heart. She received joy in knowing that she had helped others. Most of all, she served, adored, honored and revered her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Condolences can be offered to the family at www.heartlandfuneralhome.net.