I’m remembering the passing of Dr. Edward Shirley this week. He was one of the first professors that I had as a Freshman at St. Edward’s, and helped me develop an awareness of where faith and science meet. Dr. Shirley knew how to find unity in the middle of controversy. He had a profoundly vital impact on how I continue to view the world today.
When someone that wasn’t in my family, but still made a mark on my life, it’s hard for me to know where to place the emotions, and how to grieve. When I stop for a moment, I know that Dr. Shirley gave a part of himself to hundreds of 19 year-olds like me who had no clue how to be adults yet. He helped us keep our values intact as we navigated college and stepped into the lives we lead today.
One of Dr. Shirley’s specialties was showing the world how to inject joy and humor into our lives. The stories he told, and the songs he would sing to us always sounded better with the twinkle he had in his eyes. I remember the most when he hijacked my Segway and drove it around the building singing “Wild Thing” as if he were on a Harley; something I wish I had a photo of.
That was his legacy. Hijacking our lives and our hearts, and teaching us how to sing our own wild songs, striking the balance in our lives between science and faith, between humor and hard work, and growing up and growing old.
Ed Shirley never lost his youth. His life is proof-positive that it is possible to grow up and keep a smile on your face, and bring laughter into every room you walk into.
May your memory be eternal, Dr. Shirley. My prayers go out to you and your family. Thank you for being part of my education, in and out of the classroom.