Shirley Leon Garrison was born in Detroit, Texas on June 3, 1919. He later moved to Idalou and graduated from Becton High School in 1936. He received his BS Degree in Agricultural Education from Texas Tech University in 1940 followed by 16 hours toward a Masters degree. In July of 1941, Shirley married Mildred Welch and was employed as the Ag teacher for the new vocational agriculture program at Union Schools until he was called to serve for Uncle Sam in World War II. After the war, he spent two years in a post-war program of food distribution and agricultural rehabilitation in Europe. He returned to the South Plains and became involved...
Shirley Leon Garrison was born in Detroit, Texas on June 3, 1919. He later moved to Idalou and graduated from Becton High School in 1936. He received his BS Degree in Agricultural Education from Texas Tech University in 1940 followed by 16 hours toward a Masters degree.
In July of 1941, Shirley married Mildred Welch and was employed as the Ag teacher for the new vocational agriculture program at Union Schools until he was called to serve for Uncle Sam in World War II. After the war, he spent two years in a post-war program of food distribution and agricultural rehabilitation in Europe.
He returned to the South Plains and became involved in farming at Idalou, and eventually settled in the Easter community south of Hereford. He also served as a teacher for the USDA Returning Veterans Agriculture Program during this time. Mr. Garrison later started producing seed and formed the Garrison Seed Company in 1966. In addition to his farming operations, Shirley was involved in cattle feeding and became president of the Bar G Feed Yard in Summerfield, Texas in 1983. He was also involved in the banking industry. In 1987 he assumed the position as Chairman of the Board of First State Bank of Dimmitt. This Dimmitt bank became First United Bank which now has fourteen branches across the Plains area. He was chairman of the board until 2013.
Shirley has been a member of the Methodist Church for 80 years, having been baptized at age14 in a horse tank. He was recognized by the First Methodist Church in Hereford for having served in every available leadership capacity during his membership. He also served the Methodist church at the Conference level. He supported other projects in a Canyon, and McMurry University in Abilene. Since 2002, he has been a member of the Wolfforth United Methodist Church, Wolfforth.
Philanthropy has been a very important part of his life, benefitting many educational institutions with direct support and students with scholarship support. These gifts have come through a Trust he and Mildred created at the Amarillo Area Foundation and through direct giving to a wide range of institutions such as West Texas A&M University ,Texas Tech University, Texas Tech Health Sciences Center, McMurry University, Lubbock Christian University, and the All Saints School in Lubbock. He was also a strong supporter of agricultural heritage museums such as the American Agricultural Museum, and The American Wind Power Center in Lubbock.
He has received numerous honors and awards, such as Distinguished Service and Outstanding Leadership award from the Texas/New Mexico Sugar Beet Growers and Citizen of the Year and Agricultural Man of the Year from Deaf Smith Couty. He has been awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humanities from McMurry University and an Honorary Doctor of Human Letters from Texas Tech University. He has been honored by Texas Tech University and the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center with a Spur Award for his philanthropy and Distinguished University Alumni and Agricultural Alumni awards. He was active in many agricultural and agribusiness organizations, as well as many civic organizations in Hart, Hereford, and Lubbock.
In 2006, he lost his wife of 65 years to Alzheimer's. Her illness led him to give a lead gift to the Sears Methodist Foundation to build The Mildred & Shirley L. Garrison Geriatric Education and Care Center which opened in 2002 in Lubbock. Mildred resided there until her death. He also founded the Garrison Institute on Aging at the Texas Tech Health Science Center, established a Chair for research into aging and funds a brain bank for use by researchers nationwide.
In 2007, he and LuCille Simons met as part of the "Forget Me Nots", a support group for the spouses of Alzheimer's patient in the Garrison Center. They married in June of 2007. They are members of the Wolfforth United Methodist Church. They have been active sports fans and are Red Raiders to the core.
Mr. Garrison is survived by his wife, LuCille Simons Garrison. And, by his three children and their spouses- Harvey Garrison and wife Joyce of Lubbock, Sharon Walker and her husband Bruce of Austin, Pamela Carrothers and her husband Bill of Horseshoe Bay; Five grand children, Kerry Garrison of Amarillo, Jana Garrison of Lubbock, Casey Carrothers of Lubbock, Collin Carrothers of Austin, and Shawn Walker of Austin; Five great-grand children, Erika Miller, Todd Miller, Kelsey Garrison, Molly Goebel and Jack Goebel; two nephews Kim Nelson and Larry Garrison; and four nieces, Ilene Hobgood, Trish Moore, Marihelen Willis, and Sara Alice Hart.
Visitation will be Tuesday December 17, 2013 in Resthaven Funeral Home from 5:30 to 7:30 PM. A funeral serice will be held Wednesday December 18 in Lakeridge Methodist at 11:00 am. A private burial will be in Resthaven Memorial Park.