Shirley Rudolph was born July, 1936, to Raymond J. and Inez Wiegman in Madison, South Dakota. Shirley spent her youth in South Dakota before attending Carlton College in Minnesota where she majored in music (piano and voice) and education. After college, she taught in Aurora, Colorado until she joined the Department of Defense, teaching the children living on Air Force bases. She taught at Toul-Rosiéres Air Force Base in France and Bitburg Air Base in Germany, where she met her husband Paul Rudolph. Upon returning to the United States, Shirley earned her master’s degree in counseling and her PhD.,in Philosophy from the University of Northern Colorado at Greeley. Shirley then focused her career on Elementary School Counseling. She loved working with children and enjoyed using board games, especially Chinese Checkers, and puzzles to connect and spur conversation.
Paul’s career moved the family often. They lived in Virginia Beach, Key West, Severna Park, and Venezuela, before returning to settle down long term in Severna Park, Maryland where Shirley was an Elementary School Guidance Counselor for Anne Arundel County Public Schools. A few years ago, Paul and Shirley left Severna Park to be closer to family and became snowbirds, splitting their time between Brookings, South Dakota and Austin, Texas. Shirley made many close friends everywhere she lived and diligently kept in touch through letters, calls, and her annual Christmas card. Catching up with friends was always a special moment for her.
Outside of work and family, Shirley dedicated her time to music and philanthropy. An active member of Woods Church she sang in the choir, served as a Deacon and an Elder, and participated on many committees. She was also a PEO sister and sang for many years in the Annapolis Chorale.
Shirley passed away February 2020. She was preceded in death by her parents, Ray Wiegman, “Fitty” and Inez Fitzgerald; her daughter, Milena Rudolph; and nephew, Perry Nelson. She is survived by her husband, Paul; her daughter, Paulette Gibbins; son-in-law, Douglas Gibbins; four grandchildren, Ashley, Douglas, Jr., Natasha, and Veronica Gibbins; and sister, Marlys Thoms. Shirley was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, sister, and friend. She will be remembered by many for her indomitable spirit and exceptional persistence that was often an inspiration to others. She led a vibrant and full life, sharing kindness and love with everyone she knew.