April 21, 1933-May 2, 2018

Shirley Calhoun Jennings passed away May 2, 2018, in Natchitoches following a brief illness. Shirley was born in Knoxville, Tenn., April 21, 1933. She moved to Little Rock, Ark., soon after where she attended Little Rock High School and began studying the harp. She continued her education at North Texas Women’s College, North Texas State University, Centenary College, and Northwestern State University where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree.

Shirley taught harp, violin and piano for the music department at Northwestern State University from 1971 to 2015, and also served in the Registrar’s Office for many years. She taught adjunct harp, violin and viola at the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts. She also maintained a large and vibrant music studio out of her home where she taught hundreds of students to play harp and violin.

As a performer, Shirley was engaged by the Shreveport Symphony Orchestra, the Natchitoches/Northwestern Symphony Orchestra, the South Arkansas Symphony and many other regional orchestras. She was a member of the Louisiana chapter of the National Music Teachers Association, serving as State Harp Chairman from 1995 to 2007, and receiving their Distinguished Service Award in 2011. She was also a member of the American Harp Society, the American String Teachers Association, and the American String Orchestra Association. She was the director of the NSU Harp Ensemble for many years, featured annually at the NSU Christmas Gala. In addition, Shirley had a passion for growing exotic orchids. She was a long time member of the Natchitoches Lesche Club and served as President during the 100th Anniversary. She was also a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution. She was the Faculty Sponsor for the NSU chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota.

Shirley was known as a true Natchitoches character, with a tart wit. She loved to share a laugh and a smile with everyone. She was compassionate to all whom she encountered, and was loved by all.

She was a wonderful wife, mother, grandmother and a friend to many. She will be remembered fondly by all.

She is survived by her husband of 65 years, Richard E. Jennings; two sons, Richard E. Jennings II and wife Patti of Garland, Texas, and Hal Jennings and wife Jennifer of San Antonio, Texas. Also surviving Shirley are two loving granddaughters, Erin Jennings and husband Phill Johnson, and Amanda Jennings of San Antonio, Texas.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Willis Alexander Calhoun and Ella Whitson Calhoun of Rolla, Mo.; and grandson, David A. Jennings.

The family will announce a memorial service at a later date.