Carl  Shirley, Jr.

Obituary of Carl R. Shirley, Jr.

Carl Richard Shirley, Jr. was born in Tryon, NC on March 20, 1943, first child of Major Carl R. Shirley and Ina Carolyn Fisher Shirley. He was predeceased by his parents and two younger siblings, Joel and Susan. He is survived by his adored spouse of fifty-four years, Paula Williams Shirley; his sister, Linda Ann Felder of Sumter; nieces and nephews; and a beloved Beagle, Gaby. He began high school in Anchorage HS, Alaska, and graduated from Dreher in Columbia in 1961. He earned a BA (English), MA (Spanish) and PhD. (Comparative Literature) at USC. He was part of the SC Experiment in Closed Circuit TV (1958-59), at Dreher, working as a student technician, and began as a printer (hand set type) in the art department at the new SCETV in 1960. These years at ETV opened the door to lifelong friendships and knowledge of television and radio that he treasured forever.

He left SCETV in 1967 to teach as a graduate assistant at USC, was appointed to the rank of Instructor in 1969 (on a one-year contract) and retired in 2001 as Distinguished Professor Emeritus. He led USC students in summer studies in Monterrey, Mexico from 1970 until 1974 and taught classes there. His love of Mexico grew and he eventually spent a sabbatical and went on vacation there.

In his professional career, he taught Spanish language, literature, culture, and comparative drama. He created a course in Ethnic American Literature that he taught yearly for two decades in the Honors College. His articles and reviews were published in the Latin American Theater Review, Western American Literature, Multi-Ethnic Literature of the US, Translation Review, Arizona Quarterly, the Dictionary of Literary Biography, and Hispania among others. He and Paula wrote Understanding Chicano Literature, published by USC Press in 1988.

During these years, he became a Dean’s advisor to incoming freshmen and undecided majors in the College of Humanities. In his view, his most significant accomplishment was receiving the Ada B. Thomas Award for Faculty Advisor of the Year shortly before his retirement. He loved advising students and appreciated their struggles.

Carl formed close and lasting friendships among his colleagues in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures. They respected him for his professionalism,  level head, fairness, and sense of humor. 

Since early childhood Carl loved cats and dogs. During the years after he finished high school, he was unable to have a pet. As soon as he and Paula were married, however, he brought home a German Shepherd. Over the years, they adopted several cats and dogs. He adored them and they reciprocated. The ashes of two dogs will be buried with him. 

Instead of flowers, please donate to Pawmetto Lifeline of Columbia or the SCETV Endowment.


Graveside Service

1:00 pm
Monday, September 25, 2023
Greenhaven Preserve
1701 Vanboklen Rd
Eastover, South Carolina, United States
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