Shirley - a Chicago native - received a BS degree in Art Education from FSU and worked in Frederick County, Virginia as an art teacher and also developed the art education program for the public schools. She also studied for her Masters in Fine Arts degree at Madison University specializing in sculpture, painting and interior design. Shirley moved back to Cumberland and for the next thirty-three years ran an interior design business called Connoisseur Interiors. During that time she also served on the Maryland State Arts Council for three terms. Shirley has the distinct honor of being a founding member of the Cumberland Theatre and was also active in One Tree Productions, the Rotary Club of Cumberland and the Allegany Arts Council.