October 26, 1935 ~ April 6, 2022
Born in: Holden, WV
Resided in: Indianapolis, IN
Shirley Delores Westmoreland was born October 26, 1935 to the union of William Henry and Pearlie Lee Johnson Westmoreland in Holden, West Virginia. The family eventually migrated to Indianapolis, Indiana where five other Westmoreland siblings resided.
Shirley attended Indianapolis Public School #26 and Arsenal Technical High School, where she graduated in 1953. Shirley had some encouraging teachers and one of those, Irene Smith, persuaded her to attend Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio. While at Central State, she joined the Beta Xi Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc in 1954. Shirley earned her Bachelors Degree in Education in 1957 and later earned her Master’s in Special Education from Ball State University. She continued being active and providing service to as many as she could, both young and old, until her failing health in recent years.
At an early age, Shirley confessed her faith in Jesus Christ at 16th Street Baptist Church, later known as College Avenue Baptist Church and now Oasis of Hope Baptist Church.
Shirley and Kenneth Williams said “I do” in 1957 and were united in marriage. From this union were born their two children, Charlene Denise and Alan Kent Williams. Shirley and Kenneth’s marriage lasted 34 years, until his untimely death in 1991.
Shirley’s professional career in Education began with Indianapolis Public Schools where she was assigned to General Hospital, teaching 1st through 8th Grade for young patients confined to the hospital. Her classes were either in the classroom on the Pediatric Ward or even bedside. It was a calling that she immensely enjoyed. She was a hospital teacher for 24 years. In the latter part of her career, prior to retiring, she taught at James Whitcomb Riley School #43 and also at Joyce Kilmer School #69.
Throughout her life, Shirley was continuously active and involved in numerous activities and organizations. She was a faithful and active servant at her church and served in the capacity of Trustee, Bus Driver, Kitchen Committee, Nurse (since she worked at the hospital for so long, she thought she was a nurse) and also the Missions for Rural Africa Support Team.
Similar to her School# 26 teachers, like Nancy Johnson and Irene Smith, Shirley became active with Alpha Mu Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha where she served in several capacities. She often traveled to Boule’ and Regional Conferences, often with her Sorors Jarnell, Larnell and many others.
Shirley was also involved in other organizations such as the NAACP, President of the PTA at School #69; Broad Ripple High School, CICOA, Girl Scouts, National Alumni Board of Central State University as well as the local Indianapolis Alumni Chapter of Central State University.
She loved her Girl Scouts where she was a troop leader for the Brownies, Juniors, Cadets and Senior levels. She often took her troops on several adventures traveling not only to various camping trips, but also to Colorado, Washington, D.C. and Mexico. Her close relationship with members of her Girl Scout Troop continued all the way until her passing.
Another fond activity was her involvement with the Corvette Club, a social club that awarded scholarships to students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities. They also provided Thanksgiving dinners for families and hosted special events and holiday parties for inner-city children.
Shirley adored her grandchildren, Shana, Reece and Jarrett, and when they were involved in activities, she was right there with them. Going to Hawaii with the Pike High School Band, rarely missing a baseball, basketball, dance competition or any other event the kids participated in. She was “Gramme Shirley” to the AAU Basketball and Baseball Teams and was the “Unofficial” stats and scorekeeper. She would holler her famous line…“Get On The Books” or when you finally scored, she hollered “You On The Books!” She’s still fondly remembered by many players for those words.
Shirley will forever be remembered by her loving family, including her Daughter, Charlene “Dennie” Cheatham (Eric); Sister, Jo Diane Westmoreland Ivey (Franklin); Grandchildren, Shana Dene’ Cheatham, Jordan Reece Cheatham and Jarrett Alexander Cheatham; Great Grandchildren, Alanah Brown and Aleyah Cheatham; Nieces and Nephews: Stardust Adita Ivey, Immanuel Westmoreland Ivey (Monique), Daniel Franklin Ivey, Franklin D. Ivey Jr. (Ya Diana) and Ekaya Nandi Ivey; Great Nieces and Nephews: Zavier Ivey, Sebastian Ivey, Mason Hoskins, Jay C. Smith, Immanuel “Mannie” Ivey, Ondelere Ivey, Lordina Ivey, Ophelia Ivey, Franklin D. Ivey III; and a host of loving family and friends.