Shirley Mae Woods was born July 8, 1928, in Des Moines, Iowa and was the third daughter to Bonnie Herndon and Nanna (Adams) Herndon. Shirley was educated in the Des Moines Public School System, and graduated from East High School. She went on to continue her education at Drake University, and obtained her Bachelor of Arts Degree from Drake's College of Liberal Arts August 28, 1953. Shortly after her graduation, Shirley moved to Seattle, Washington to live with her oldest sister, Dana Jackson. It was there that she met Richard Joseph Parker, Jr. and they were united in marriage November 25, 1953. From this union, her only child, Karin, was born in 1954.
Shirley later returned to Des Moines, and in 1963, was married to Edward Carl Woods, a union of 21 years. Shirley had a passion for helping young people. Early in her career, she taught Second Grade at St. Peter's Catholic School. She later returned to Drake University, during the 1970's, to work as a Counselor/Liason for the youth, and organized several weekend college trips for Black students, to aid in their decisions to further their education. She also organized a youth group called "Black Students for Dignity", that met weekly to engage in several projects to provide assistance, where needed, in the Black Community. Later in her career, Shirley was also employed by Job Service of Iowa, where she made it her goal to assist many African-Americans to obtain gainful employment here in Des Moines.
At the age of 60, Shirley, again, returned to Drake University, to participate in their Graduate School of Education, where she successfully completed the "Project Steppingstone" course October 21, 1988. In her later years, she continued to help others, and worked in the Grandparent's Program at Wallace Elementary School. Shirley was also a Senior Companion at her residence in Logan Park Apartments, until her health began to decline.
Shirley always had a strong belief in God, and studied her Bible diligently. After she met Rev. H.I. Thomas and his family, who were then her new neighbors, she began to attend Union Missionary Baptist Church in 1968, and was a faithful member of the Mass Choir, and served for several years on the Deaconess Board. Shirley continued her membership at Union until the age of 90, when she began to reside at Calvin Community Nursing Home. Shirley was truly loved by all who knew her, and will be deeply missed by her family and friends.
93 years--A Life Well Lived and Blessed by God!! Shirley Mae Woods peacefully departed this life April 29, 2022, with her daughter, Karin, by her side. Shirley was preceded in death by her parents, Bonnie and Nanna (Adams) Herndon, and her sisters, Dana Irene Jackson and Bonnie Inez DeVan.
Shirley leaves to honor and cherish her memories through her daughter, Karin Wilson of Des Moines, Iowa; grandchildren, Erica (James) Colton, of Austin, Texas, Brian (Nancy) Cunningham of Dallas, Texas and Chalissa Wilson, of Des Moines, Iowa; four great-grandchildren, Maven Rai, Brandon Lee, Aniya Alejandra Cunningham and Brianna Nichelle Colton and a host of other relatives, loved ones and friends.Funeral Service
Saturday, May 7, 2022
Starts at 11:00am (Central time)
Union Missionary Baptist Church