Remembering Shirley Phelps

Our Colleague and Friend

Our campus feels empty today because Shirley Phelps is not at her desk.

Southern Nazarene University has experienced the unexpected and tragic death of Shirley Phelps, Executive Assistant for University Advancement, who passed away early Saturday morning, November 3, 2007.
“I know you will join the whole SNU family in expressing our sense of loss and love to Shirley’s husband Ron, son Mike and daughter Melissa,” said David Alexander, Vice President for University Advancement. “Shirley brought a zest for life and compassion for people to all that she did, including her work at SNU. Bresee Hall was not so much her place of employment as much as it was the place where she expressed her care for all she came in contact with (no exceptions). Her work was an expression of her love for her alma mater and her sense of ministry for the Kingdom.”

Shirley’s sweet spirit has touched the lives of so many people over the course of her more than 15 years at SNU. Her easy smile, welcoming words and enveloping embrace was shared without reservation as she went about her work with the SNU Foundation Board, Peer Learning Network, and Board of Trustees. She freely shared her internal graces with those of us who worked with her every day.

Shirley came to SNU in August 1992 and began working for the office of University Advancement under the leadership of J. Michael Crabtree. For the past nine years Shirley has served as Executive Assistant for David Alexander in the same department. Shirley was recognized by her peers as an Employee of the Month in 2006.

“May we all sense the peace that passes understanding, as we measure a life so well lived, as believer, wife, mother, pastor’s wife, colleague and friend,” said Alexander. “Truly, Shirley’s life is a life poured out in care and compassion—she was Christ’s love expressed.”

The memorial service will take place Wednesday, November 7th at 10:00 am, at Bethany First Church of the Nazarene in Bethany, Oklahoma. The family will be present for a viewing at Mercer Adams Funeral Home on Tuesday, November 6th from 7:00 – 9:00 pm. The family has asked that in lieu of flowers any gifts be made to the Ron and Shirley Phelps Education Endowment at Southern Nazarene University. Donations can be sent to SNU Endowment Development, 6729 NW 39th Expressway, Bethany, OK 73008. If you have questions about donating to the Endowment Development fund contact Michael Crabtree at 405-491-6313 or email him at

The folks from Shirley’s University Advancement office will host an “I Remember Shirley” time on Monday, November 12th at 3:30 pm in the Marchant Center Hearth Room. Members of the faculty and staff who would like to come share “Shirley stories” will be most welcomed as we take the time to remember, to learn from a dear one whose life was well-lived for Him, and to share our sense of loss.