Shirley Gray Rightmire, beloved sister, aunt, and friend, died at the age of 91 on December 1, 2020 at Valley View Nursing Center in Montoursville, PA, where she was blessed with the loving and compassionate care of many nurses, aides, and other workers.
Born the third of seven children to Carl and Grace Gray in Trout Run, PA on June 27, 1929, she attended Ralston and Williamsport High Schools, graduating from Lockhaven Teacher’s College with a degree in Early Childhood Development/Education. A dedicated and innovative teacher who loved her students and was often recognized for her excellence in teaching over 33 years, she taught 1st, 2d and 3d grades in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Virginia, returning to Pennsylvania in 1967 when she and her husband, the late Charles N. (“Chuck” or “Charlie”) Rightmire, bought a farm in Loyalsock Township.
Shirley became Chuck’s cherished wife, confidante, fellow Penn State football fan and business partner/consultant on June 28, 1952. Their marriage, which spanned 57 years until his sudden death in 2009, rested on a foundation of mutual love, respect, Christian faith, compromise, humor, and shared values and interests. Having no children of their own, they lavished their love, time and resources on their extended family, their church, and countless charitable organizations. Together they entertained clients, collected antiques, attended family events, volunteered for Meals on Wheels, attended car shows, “tailgated” and rooted for Penn State, and travelled in the U.S. and abroad.
Fiercely protective of her family and her privacy, Shirley was a person of extraordinary energy, determination, candor, strength, elegance, resilience, faith, generosity, integrity, and wit, with little patience for pretentiousness or dishonesty. She was a faithful member of Faxon-Kenmar United Methodist Church, where her activities included singing in the choir and attending Sunday school. She enjoyed music, live theater, bridge, tennis, and golf, and loved animals, especially dogs, cats, and horses.
Shirley is survived by her brothers William Gray of Williamsport, PA and Robert Gray of Montoursville, PA; her sister Diane Dent of Berwick, PA; 19 nieces and nephews, and numerous great nieces and nephews. She is predeceased by her brothers Vernon and Leon Gray and sister Phyllis Gray Clouser.
During her lifetime Shirley contributed to many charities and established two scholarship funds. Those wishing to honor her charitable legacy may donate to one of the following: First Community Foundation Partnership (a. Shirley Gray Rightmire Scholarship or b. Community Arts Center Fund); Charles N. & Shirley G. Rightmire Trustee Scholarship, Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences; Parkinson’s Disease Foundation; Faxon-Kenmar UMC; Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy; Alpha Gamma RHO Penn State Chapter; Salvation Army; or American Rescue Workers.