Cover photo for Shirley Willoughby Rose's Obituary
Shirley Willoughby Rose Profile Photo
1934 Shirley 2022

Shirley Willoughby Rose

February 1, 1934 — August 29, 2022

Shirley was born in Miami, Florida, the youngest of five siblings.  At age 5, her family moved to the Panama Canal Zone where her father worked in Civil Service. On Nov 6, 1952, she was married to Byron Willoughby after graduating from Balboa High School.  Byron was an Airborne Radio Operator in the U.S. Air Force who flew rescue missions for downed pilots during the Korean and Vietnam Wars.

Shortly after marriage, they were stationed in Montgomery, AL where their first child, Richard Byron was born.  Byron received orders for Japan where Shirley and Richard followed him after sailing the Pacific.  Japan is where their second child,  James Edward was born.  Next, Byron was stationed in Washington, D.C. where Bonnie Jeanne was born at Walter Reed Naval Hospital, (The President’s hospital).  As a family they then moved with their father’s career to two bases in FL.

After serving in FL, Byron took a 2 year assignment to Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines.  Shirley and the children did not join their father at this time.  Instead, they rented a home in Linglestown, PA where Shirley’s mother and stepfather lived.  They were able to join Byron after a year and many shots.

After living in the Philippines for one year, their next and final station was Plattsburgh, Air Force Base, NY.  Although Byron was from Alabama, he loved the four seasons in Upstate NY so much that they retired to the small town of Peru, NY.  They attended Bible Baptist Church in Plattsburgh.  Shirley was a homemaker but worked for a while at the Base Exchange (a retail store on the air base) and K-Mart.  She also took a bookkeeping course at night school.

When they became “empty-nesters”, they moved to Tampa, FL where one of Shirley’s sisters lived.  Shirley worked at the Montessori school for 5 years.  Soon after their 50th wedding anniversary, Byron passed away from a rare form of Leukemia due to his exposure to Agent Orange back when he flew in Southeast Asia.

After Byron’s passing, Shirley then moved to Mustang, OK where her son, Jim and his family lived.  She bought a home and also attended Southwest Baptist Church.  There she met and married John Rose and they lived in Mustang until his death from cancer in 2019.  Shirley then moved in with her daughter Bonnie.

She is preceded in death by her father, Harry Holland, Sr and mother Viola Connor Holland.  Her brothers Harry Jr. and Bernard, and her sisters Gloria and Elaine.  Her first husband, Rufus Byron Willoughby to who she was married for 50 years and her second husband John Rose.

Shirley leaves 3 Children, 8 grandchildren: Amy, David, and Brian Tomlinson, Rob and Joel Willoughby,  Jonathan, Trevor and Andrew, and 10 great-grandchildren: Roselyn, Ryland, Abigail, Roger, Isaiah, Gracie, Andrew, Valarie, Charlotte and Hannah.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Shirley Willoughby Rose, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Saturday, September 3, 2022

1:00 - 2:00 pm (Central time)

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Funeral Service

Saturday, September 3, 2022

Starts at 2:00 pm (Central time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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