“Shirley Parker was a respected member of the Walters State family for over 30 years. Her sudden death last summer both saddened and shocked her co-workers and the many students who depended on her. This event is planned as a way to celebrate Shirley’s legacy while educating people about the very different signs and symptoms of heart disease in women. Information learned during this luncheon could actually save someone’s life, and we know that would be the ultimate way to honor Shirley,” said Dr. Wade B. McCamey, president of the college.
Parker loved her family and loved interacting with students, according to co-workers.
“Shirley left us so quickly. With her death happening in June, many students and faculty members did not know. Last semester, we put a photo and flowers in the front of the library and many students just burst into tears when they learned about Shirley’s death,” said Kathy Shupe, also a library assistant. Shupe said the luncheon began to take shape as many people began asking questions about Shirley’s death and heart disease,” Shupe said.
“The symptoms of a heart attack are very different in men than in women. For example, many people I have talked to did not know that back pain could signal a heart attack. With this luncheon, we want to honor Shirley’s legacy and help each other.
“Like so many women, Shirley took care of everybody. She had such a huge heart and was a tremendous person,” Shupe concluded.
Shortly after Parker’s death, her co-workers at the R. Jack Fishman Library chose to honor her through the Walters State Arboretum’s Memorial Tree Program. A Ginkgo was planted in her honor.
“The Ginkgo Tree dates back to the time dinosaurs roamed the Earth,” said Dr. Nicole Cardwell-Hampton. “The tree has fan-shaped leaves that make it very unique. This tree is also known for its resiliency. The tree grows in urban areas where toxic air may kill other plants. It tolerates snow and ice storms, insects and diseases. Ginkgo Trees even lived through the radiation from the atomic bombs dropped in World War II.
“That is why her co-workers chose to remember her with this tree. Shirley was strong and sturdy,” Cardwell-Hampton said.
Pam Johns, director of education at Lakeway Regional Hospital Educational Department, will talk about taking care of your heart. The event will be catered by Megan’s Corner and the menu includes chicken tortilla or vegetable beef soup, a salad bar and beverages.
Tickets are $7 and the registration deadline is Feb. 22. For more information contact Sandra Hodge in community education at (423) 585-2675. Reservations may also be made through e-mail at Sandra.Hodge@ws.edu. The cost of admission covers the price of lunch.