Shirley Gilmore has been our church secretary since April 2004. Shirley grew up in the Elwood Methodist Church and the Willard United Methodist Church and attended Willard High School and Missouri State University (then Southwest Missouri State University), receiving a Masters of Science in Education degree with an emphasis in Geography in 1978. From 1974 until she retired from public education in 1999, Shirley taught Social Studies at Marquand-Zion High School in Marquand, Missouri, in the southeastern part of the state. Shirley was the entire Social Studies department for grades 7-12, instructing her students in various subjects such as American History, World History, Missouri History, American Government, Geography, Archaeology, Anthropology, Current Event, American Indians, and World Religions. She was also Yearbook Advisor for 14 years.
After she retired in 1999, Shirley moved back to Willard and built a house that she designed herself on the family property. She worked as a tour guide at Fantastic Caverns from 1999 until 2006 and also assisted in developing the education programs at the cave. Shirley returned to MSU in 2001, not as a student, but as an evening instructor in the Geography and Geology department teaching an Earth Science course for elementary education majors for 8 semesters.
Working in an office was never in Shirley’s life plans, but she has adapted well. Her yearbook experience prepared her to produce the weekly bulletin and the monthly newsletter. But no training could ever prepare anyone for the many and varied situations that occur in a church.
Shirley’s hobbies and interests include reading (especially fantasy), writing, photography, buying and selling on eBay, crochet, archaeology, genealogy, primitive technology, and historical and natural interpretation. She has also designed and made three quilts. She is a member of Pathways United Methodist Church and a lifetime member of the Missouri State Teachers Association.
In March 2008, Shirley was appointed the Pastor of Elwood United Methodist Church. Shirley served the congregation there for two years as a Lay Minister while continuing her position as secretary at Pathways UMC. Shirley has been a Lay Speaker for 30 years, delivering numerous sermons in churches here and in southeast Missouri, but this was her first church appointment.