Walter Warren Shirley, 88, of Idyllwild, passed away on Saturday, Oct. 2, 2011, from complications of stroke and cancer. He was born Sept. 25, 1923, in Stuart, Okla., the oldest of five children. Walter attended a one-room schoolhouse and later graduated from Haywood High. He left the farm to attend college in Ada, Okla., but soon joined the Navy to serve in World War II, achieving the rank of lieutenant. After the war, he completed his bachelor’s degree at East Central College and Master’s degree at Oklahoma State, both in mathematics.
On June 14, 1948, he married Ruth Mushrush, and they settled in South Pasadena. He worked 17 years for ARCO, pioneering uses of computers in the oil industry, before starting his own business developing project management software.
Camp Maranatha Christian Conference Center in Idyllwild, was a passion of Walt’s for several decades. In 1993, Walt and Ruth moved to Idyllwild where he developed a visionary plan to bring the camp facilities to expectations of the twenty-first century. He worked tirelessly with retired construction volunteers to build two lodges and a worship center, completed in 2010.
Walt’s grandmother gave him a New Testament with the verses concerning the return of Christ in bold print. The book was lost on a ship, but Walt’s zeal for his faith led him to publish a book in 2009, “What the Bible Says About the Return of Jesus Christ.”
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Nov. 19, 2011, at the Advent Christian Church in Tustin, Calif.
Walt is survived by his wife, Ruth, their three sons, Ralph (Lois), Dwight (Cindy), Keith (Paula); nine grandchildren; one great-grandson; two brothers, Paul and Glenn; and one sister, Maxine Jones.