Shirley Ann Ray left this world on August 4, 2022 after surviving cancer four times since 2001. Unfortunately, in the end her heart was too weak to continue the fight and she passed at the age of 91.
Shirley was born on March 27, 1931, to Leora C. and Bernard F. Wipplinger in Waterloo, Iowa and was baptized at Trinity American Lutheran Church. She graduated from East Waterloo High School in 1949. While attending High School she worked at KenMar Drug Store after school and on Sundays, de-tasseled corn in the summer for 3 dollars a day and baby-sat. On Saturdays, she took shorthand and dictation at a local upholstery store. After graduation she went to work at DX Sunray Oil Company in the Accounts Receivable Department and worked there from 1949 to 1959. Living through the Great Depression and World War II made a big impression on her life and consequently created a work ethic that was second to none. Shirley preserved jams and jellies, canned fruits and vegetables from her garden and meat and fish her husband and sons harvested.
In her younger years she was a Past Worthy Advisor of the Waterloo Rainbow for Girls organization. Later she was Grand Service chair for the Iowa State Rainbow for Girls. In 1950 she was awarded the Grand Cross of Colors and became a life member. In 1952 in Los Alamos, she joined the Eastern Star and served the office of the Assistant District Attorney.
Shirley met the Love of her life, Dwight H. Ray, while he was designing tractor parts for John Deere in Waterloo and on September 16, 1959, they were married and spent their honeymoon at the Garden of Gods in Colorado. Shirley and Dwight moved to Los Alamos New Mexico in 1959 and and Shirley started her career at the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory. Over the years Shirley held many different positions at the Lab including Group Secretary. She was offered the position of Administrative Secretary for one of the former Directors of the Lab but declined the offer, as the job would not allow her enough family time with her husband and 2 boys. Like Dwight she failed at retirement and she worked as a part time contractor for the Plus Group during the summer months finally retiring again in 2000.
She bowled on several teams and played bridge in many groups. She was a den mother, and you could find her selling snacks in a booth for the Little League baseball and football games in the evenings. She also helped her husband when he was State President of the NM Elks Association. She was a life member of Beta Sigma Phi and a member of the Los Alamos Republican Woman’s Party. She loved cooking and specialized in making Gourmet foods. She also liked collecting coins, camping, fishing, knitting, and hooking rugs.
Upon retirement from their lab jobs in 1990, Dwight and Shirley became Snowbirds and spent 25 winters in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. They belonged to a Snowbird Organization and she held the office of “The Friendship Lady”. They celebrated their 58th wedding anniversary in 2017 by going on a cruise.
She is survived by her two sons, Brett Ray and Brian Ray, his wife, Ida, and daughter Jamie Lynn. She is also survived by first cousins, second cousins and their families, her husband’s nieces and nephews and their families. She was a devoted Wife and Mother. She will be cremated, and her ashes will be buried beside her husband at the Santa Fe National Cemetery, by her request funeral services will not be held.