Oxley-Heard Funeral Home has been serving the community since 1931.
Ernest “Milt” Shirley

Ernest “Milt” Shirley

January 21, 1936 - September 24, 2018     Age: 82

Mr. Ernest “Milt” Shirley, age 82 of Fernandina Beach, FL passed away on Monday, September 24, 2018 at his residence.

He was born on January 21, 1936 in Ruston, Louisiana and was adopted by the late Ernest Middleton Shirley and Eva Henderson.   While attending college at Louisiana Poly Technical in Ruston, he met the former Janell “Sutsy” Hyde.  She already had a boyfriend, but it was “meant to be”.

Together they lived all over the south until moving to Fernandina Beach, Florida in 1964 so their son could attend the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind in St. Augustine, FL.  Milt was employed as a Chemist for Rayonier for many years until he retired.  They lived here for the past 54 years and at one time lived on the “highest point” on Amelia Island.

He was very active in local politics and was elected as a city commissioner after serving on the Nassau County School Board for 8 years.

Milt served as Mayor for Fernandina Beach, Florida in 1989.  During his term, the City Commission dedicated themselves to preventing high-rise buildings along our shores and maintaining beach access.

Among his many hobbies and pursuits, Milt was passionate about Art.  His original paintings hang on the walls of his home and he regularly showed his work at various art fairs locally and other states. He grew up reading comic books, Captain Marvel being his favorite, and as an adult, still loved them. He enjoyed crossword puzzles and in the evenings at home, sitting on his porch, smoking a good cigar and drinking “two fingers” of scotch.  Milt would get together with his friends five days a week, drink coffee and discuss local news and politics.

According to Milt, two of his most favorite things were going to a restaurant with soft piano music playing in the background and dancing with his beloved “Sutsy”.

He is preceded in death by a sister, Eva Jeanne Shirley and his parents.

He leaves behind his wife of 62 years, Janell “Sutsy” Shirley of Fernandina Beach, FL; his children, Paul William Shirley of Fernandina Beach, FL, Lola Shirley Waldrip and her husband Rodney of Key Largo, FL and adopted daughter Mignon Sangree Etcheverry; adopted brother, Henry Shirley; grandson, Landin Fredrick Waldrip and many nieces and nephews.

Services will be at 2:00 pm on Thursday, September 27, 2018 at First Baptist Church in Fernandina Beach, FL.

The family requests that donations be made in Milt’s memory to the charity of one’s choice.

49 Condolences

  • Jim Swaringen Posted September 24, 2018 10:50 am

    We say goodbye to a great guy and friend, but know we will see each other again. Sutsy, know that we are praying for you and the family.

  • Lynna Kay Parker Posted September 24, 2018 12:40 pm

    Mrs. Sutsy and Paul, my prayers & condolences are with you. Love y’all.

  • Beth Tilton Posted September 24, 2018 2:44 pm

    Dearest Sutsy and family, I’m so sorry to hear about Milt.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  • Lorie a Bukovskey Posted September 24, 2018 3:16 pm

    Our deepest condolences to Sutsy & Family , Milt will be greatly Missed .

  • Jane Collins Posted September 24, 2018 11:54 pm

    I am so very sorry to hear that Milt has gone on. He was able to show us the beauty of our little paradise like no other. I mourn his passing, and my love and sympathy are with you, Sutzy

  • Laura Sullivan Posted September 25, 2018 12:15 am

    I am so very sad to hear this news. I’ve known “uncle Milty” since I can remember and he always brightened my day when I would run into him. My love and prayers to you Mrs Sutsy and to Paul. Fernandina Beach has lost one of the greatest but his legacy and all of the positive changes he has implemented in our community will live forever.

  • Mike Love Posted September 25, 2018 6:36 am

    I am so sorry — much love to Sutsy.

  • Sue Lansdell Posted September 25, 2018 8:49 am

    Sorry to hear you have lost Milt. We will all miss him. Hugs,

  • Marcy & Billy Mock Posted September 25, 2018 9:02 am

    Sutsy, our sincere condolences to you and your family. We will all miss Milt. Shrimp Festival will never be the same! Love and prayers.

  • Kathleen and William Maurer Posted September 25, 2018 9:36 am

    William and I are very sorry to hear Milt has passed away. Sutsy we send our love to you. Milt was such a wonderful painter and friend as well. Our deepest condolences.

  • Caroline Blochlinger Posted September 25, 2018 10:18 am

    Oh Sutsy and family, I am so saddened by this news. You were amongst the first people I met when coming to the Island. I will always cherish all the good times we had throughout the years. My deepest condolences.

  • Rick & Theresa Daily Posted September 25, 2018 10:26 am

    Our love and prayers are with you and your family. He will surely be missed.

  • ART RENSHAW Posted September 25, 2018 10:39 am

    a fair likeable and honest man. we have lost a good man. our thoughts and prayers are with you SUTSY.

  • Patsy Richardsson Posted September 25, 2018 2:06 pm

    Sutsy, I was very sadden to hear of Milt’s passing. You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers.

  • Courtney Thompson and Sunny Posted September 25, 2018 2:20 pm

    So sorry for your loss. Great man!

  • HARRY MILLS Posted September 25, 2018 2:28 pm

    Sutsy,Lola and Paul and family, Milt brought joy, happiness and a kindred spirit to all he encountered.He viewed life through the eyes of a loving father and artist. He loved life,his family and all the people he encountered.We will miss the special moments and pictures he has painted in our hearts and minds.

  • Worth & Janis Hyde Camp Posted September 25, 2018 4:51 pm

    Great husband, farther, friend, brother-in-law and illustrator of his home-sweet-home, Fernandina Beach. Milt the fantastic marshlands Painter – is now missed by all.

  • Steve & Ginger Bender Posted September 25, 2018 4:51 pm

    We have lost an amazing friend and will miss him so much! Our prayers are with the family.

  • Ben and Gail Shave Posted September 25, 2018 5:50 pm

    Susty, Gail and I are so sorry to hear about Milt. He was a wonderful man.Always a smile and
    always a friendly word. May God keep him close.

  • Judy and Richard Stroup Posted September 25, 2018 6:13 pm

    We have lost a very special neighbor and friend. Milt always had a smile and a good word to say anytime we saw him. I knew the first time I met Sutsy and Milt (when delivering a welcome to North Hampton basket) that I really enjoyed both of them and sure hoped we would become friends!
    Richard and I are keeping Sutsy and the family in our prayers that God will comfort them during this
    time of such sorrow. May he rest in eternal peace.

  • Troy Pitts Posted September 25, 2018 6:37 pm

    Sutsy,Lola and family,we are all better for having known Milt. He was an intregal part of Amelia Island Mosquito Control for years both as a director and commissioner. May he rest in peace.

  • Sandi & DrewHalperin Posted September 25, 2018 8:13 pm

    With warmest condolences to Sutsy and family. Milt lit up our world with great conversation and laughter. He taught us about fine wine and art. So thankful for his generosity to Relay for life and to have shared happy times with you and Milt.

  • Leslie Rahberg Posted September 25, 2018 8:57 pm

    Dear Sutsy, I’m sending you my condolences as well as my love. My prayers are for your heart to find peace soon and that peace will help you along until you and Milt will once again be united.

  • Joe, Marlene Murphy Posted September 25, 2018 9:02 pm

    Our thoughts and prayers are with Sutsy and family in this trying time. A truly warm and engaging person will be greatly missed.

  • Andrew and Cara Curtin Posted September 26, 2018 1:17 am

    Dear Sutsy and family – We were so saddened to hear that we have lost Milt. He had a twinkle in his eye and a ready laugh that always brightened our day. Our sincere condolences upon your loss. We feel it as well.

  • Lisa Rogers Posted September 26, 2018 5:43 am

    I woke up this morning to read this news delivered by Glynn Art. I’ll be going there this weekend with a very very heavy heart. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I’ll miss both Milt and you, Sutsy, at the art shows. It is such hard work, but Milt loved it so much. We had some good dinners, great conversations, and a whole bunch of belly laughs. I am heartbroken, but will treasure forever the times I spent with him. I know you will be at the shows in spirit, Milt. I’ll look for you. Love you to the moon and back, Milt. Love you too, Sutsy.

  • Paul & Sue Ayers Posted September 26, 2018 6:40 am

    Sutsy, We are so sorry to hear of Milt’s passing!
    I hope you will use the wonderful memories you have to help ease the pain you are induringe at this moment!
    You were married to a GREAT man!
    We are in the Netherlands, now, but our thoughts and prayers are with you!

  • Betty Jo (BJ) and Bob Taylor Posted September 26, 2018 8:27 am

    Thinking of you Sutsy. Our prayers are with you and your family. God’s peace to you all.

  • Carl and Barbara Posted September 26, 2018 8:58 am

    Sutsy and Family, We are very saddened to hear of Milt’s passing. You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers. Always enjoyed our talks.

  • Margo Story Posted September 26, 2018 9:08 am

    My sincere condolences to the family……..Milt was a wonderful man, he will be missed by all.

  • George & Linda Leonard Posted September 26, 2018 10:02 am

    Our sincere condolences to Sutsy, Paul and the entire family. What a wonderful man and great life story. Milt will be missed but his memories live forever.

  • Ed Shell Posted September 26, 2018 11:24 am

    On behalf of the Ruston High School Class of 1954: Rest well my friend!

  • DeeDee Galloway-Potter Posted September 26, 2018 3:26 pm

    Sutsy, so sorry to hear about Milt. Jay and I were just in town for Bob Williams’ memorial service and had returned home on Monday. Please know that you and your family are in our prayers.

  • Pam Tyler Posted September 26, 2018 5:48 pm

    My prayers and thoughts are with the family, Paul, Lola, and Sutsy, May God bless and watch over you at this time of grief. One of a kind!

  • Jeri Kolke Posted September 26, 2018 6:25 pm

    Dear Sutzy and family, I’m so sorry for your loss. Milt was a great man, artist and a friend to many! He will be missed for all of Fernandina Beach. My thoughts and prayers are with you,

  • Michael Smith Posted September 26, 2018 8:17 pm

    My thoughts are with you Sutzy on the loss of a true southern gentleman

  • Ted Griffin Posted September 26, 2018 9:03 pm

    Mrs. Shirley…..I am so saddened by the sudden loss of Milt and I’m sure the love and support you receive from the community will help uplift your family. I was so excited when I moved to Fernandina Beach 11 years ago and met you and Milt at the Shrimp Festival and bought two of his paintings for my new home. They are the first and only original works of art I own and the sense of peace and tranquility that they reflect in my home is a true gift of Milt’s essence that will always be with me and I thank him for that.

  • Dianne Febles Posted September 26, 2018 9:08 pm

    My deepest sympathies to you and your family Sutzy. Find strength in memories of your life together and the love you shared. Peace.

  • Gilbert & Judy Lee Posted September 26, 2018 11:04 pm

    Sutsy, Lola, Paul and family
    We are so saddened to learn of Milt’s sudden and untimely passing. We were like family. We go back to when you first came to Fernandina Beach. We have many good memories! Be strong and know that our thoughts and prayers are with you all during this difficult time.

  • Danny Wright Posted September 27, 2018 8:58 am

    Sutsy, Paul and Family
    It has been an honor to know Milt and you over 40 yrs. I always thought you were such a cute couple, so full of life. May the many wonderful memories comfort you now. Prayers are with you

  • Mike Hagel Posted September 27, 2018 11:05 am

    You don’t meet to many people who were so obviously deeply in love after 60 years as Milt and Sutsy. While there are no words to express the profound sense of loss and sadness Sutsy must be feeling, it is comforting to know that they are loved by so many people. You will be missed, but never forgotten. Rest in peace Milt.

  • Genie Duggan Posted September 27, 2018 11:35 am

    My deepest condolences to the entire family and Milt’s close friends. Milt’s passing is a tremendous loss in so many ways.

  • Steve Ritchie Posted September 27, 2018 5:06 pm

    Sutsy your loss has been great. I pray that God will help you and your family through this difficult time. You and Milt found so much enjoyment in life through your marriage, community activities Milts paintings, and your travels, I believe Milt is on the most wonderful trip ever.

  • Charles Lott Posted September 27, 2018 6:50 pm

    Some time ago you converted to Milt, but when we were growing up in Ruston, you were Middleton. We were best of friends, hunted, fished and camped out together, and you even dumped me in the Ouachita River one night. I have many happy memories from the times we shared together. Thanks!

  • Joe & Debbie Bresette Posted September 28, 2018 1:01 am

    Sutsy and Paul, Debbie and I were so sorry to hear of Milt’s passing. We are so going to miss him. Milt always had a kind word and a gracious smile for everyone he came in contact with. Milt exemplified what being a true southern gentleman was all about. Sutsy and Paul, you both are in our prayers. God bless Milt and God bless the two of you

  • Priscilla H Bowman Posted September 28, 2018 12:18 pm

    Sutsy, saddened by the news that Middleton has moved on. We will miss him. So thankful that I’ve had the privilege of getting to know you and get reaquainted with Milt. May God hold you tight during these difficult days.

  • Pam Troxel Posted September 28, 2018 1:28 pm

    Dear Sutsie and family, I am so terribly sorry for the loss of your Milt. He was such a great man, talented and so so kind. What a friend he was to mom and me and he will be missed greatly.

  • Edward Andrews Posted September 28, 2018 6:07 pm

    Dear Sutsie and family: So sorry to hear of Milt passing. We had some great times in High School, Jerry and I have you in our prayers.

  • Aleida Socarras Posted January 1, 2019 11:15 am

    I know it’s a little late but I just came across this notice. I am saddened to hear of your loss and I’m thankful for having met you and Milt. You inspired my husband and I by your example of a loving marriage. I’m happy one of Milt’s paintings is hanging on our dining room wall. I remember both of you every time I look at it. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

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