Shirley Louise (Hyden) Walters was born in Mexia, Limestone County, Texas July 12, 1929. Her parents were John Allen Hyden and Zelda Elizabeth (Rogers) Hyden. Shirley was the baby of the family and younger sister to Elmer Eugene Hyden. John and Zelda owned and operated a small general store for a while. John later worked for Lone Star Gas.
Shirley attended school at LaVega High School in Waco, Texas. She then went on to attend Decatur College. It was around this time that she met her future husband, William Lester “Bill” Walters. They were married December 10, 1950 and Shirley quickly became the honorary sister to Bill’s four brothers. Bill was serving in the Air Force and they made their home in Ruston, Louisiana. On February 7, 1952 Shirley and Bill welcomed to their family, identical twin boys, William A. “Billy” Walters and Robert A. “Bobby” Walters.
Bill graduated from Baylor University and began preaching from the pulpits of several Southern Baptist Churches. Shirley was active in every church her husband ministered to and fulfilled a multitude of jobs including kindergarten teacher and minister’s “right hand woman.” She also conquered the daily tasks of housewife to Bill and mother to “the boys.”
Later in Bill’s ministry, he and Shirley traveled the country in a travel trailer while Bill oversaw the building of many Southern Baptist Churches in several states. They eventually settled in Mesquite, Texas. Shirley again became active in her local church by teaching mother’s-day-out classes to young children for many years. With Shirley and Bill living in a bigger city, it afforded them the opportunity to show their young grandchildren all of the perks that city living had to offer. Every summer at least one, or all, of the five would spend several weeks with them where Shirley played the role of perfect host, taking the children to the mall or local neighborhood park, allowing them to attend mother’s-day-out where Shirley worked, the occasional trip to downtown Dallas to visit Bill at his work and afterwards being treated to a meal at the Spaghetti Warehouse. Most importantly, were the many hours of swimming pool time that Shirley would allow the children to have where she would patiently sit for three to four hours at a time while they had their fun at the pool. After a few years of Bill working in the offices of the Baptist General Convention of Texas located in Dallas, Texas, he retired. Through the next few years of Bill’s retirement he and Shirley were hosts and proprietors to several grandchildren while they attended local colleges, began their new careers or simply came for visits..
Bill and Shirley moved to Centerville, Texas to be closer to their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Bill passed away in 2014. Shirley missed her husband but enjoyed her close relationships with her family. Her health began to decline during these last few years, and Shirley’s family chose T.L.C. (Texas Loving Care) in Madisonville, Texas to provide her with the compassionate and loving care she deserved. The caregivers there became part of her extended family.
Shirley passed away on November 17, 2020 in Madisonville. She was preceded in death by her parents, Zelda and John Hyden; her husband of sixty-four years, Bill Walters; her brother and sister-in-law, Elmer and Francis Hyden and brother-in-law, Herbert Walters.
Surviving family includes “the boys” and their wives, Billy and Carol Walters and Bobby and Renee Walters; grandchildren, Aryn E. Gifford (Jimmy), Allyn E. Kawalek (Matt), John L. Walters (Brandy), Kayce Brown (Stephen) and Kaitlyn E. Seybold (Robbie); great-grandchildren, Riley and Breck Gifford, Will Kawalek, Rush and Truitt Walters and Delton, Bella and Owen Brown. Also surviving are her bothers-in-law and sisters-in-law: Thomas and Nancy Walters, Roland and Laquata Walters and Jackie Walters.
Pallbearers: Riley Gifford, Breck Gifford, John Lee Walters, Jimmy Gifford, David Haas, Lawrence Johnson and Stephen Brown.
Honorary Pallbearers: Matt Kawalek, Rush Walters, Truitt Walters, Will Kawalek, Robbie Seybold
A funeral service to honor Shirley’s life was held 2 P.M., Monday, November 23, 2020 at Walters Funeral Home, Centerville, Texas. Following the service, Shirley was laid to rest next to her beloved “Bill” in the Centerville Cemetery.
Arrangements were under the direction of Walters Funeral Home, Centerville, Texas.