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SHIRLEY HARLAN Feb. 17, 1929 - Feb. 20, 2017 Shirley Harlan was born in Jasper and raised in Calexico, small towns in California's Imperial Valley, along the Mexican border. She was the youngest. of five children. The family moved to San Diego after Shirley's sixth grade in school, where she attended middle school, and then high school in Chula Vista, a little south of San Diego. She received a degree in Social Work from San Diego State College, then worked in San Diego, New York City, Los Angeles, and then attended the School of Social Work at UC Berkeley on scholarships. After receiving her MSW, she worked in child welfare in Santa Barbara, where she helped to place children for adoption. She and her partner, Elizabeth Keal, then worked together in Los Angeles, but both wanted to live in a small community. They purchased a five-acre ranch near Beatty, NV, in 1963 and moved there permanently in 1968. Shirley and Elizabeth quickly became involved in the Beatty Public Library (at the time, little more than a shack, with about 50 books), which had opened a few years earlier. For both, it was a life-long commitment. Shirley served at various times on the Library Board and worked tirelessly to get grants and state affiliations for the library, serving also on state committees for rural libraries (by appointment of the Governor). She was especially effective in getting the plans and funding for the new library building, which opened in 1982, a unique geodesic dome structure. Deeply interested in conservation issues of many sorts, Shirley was one of the founders of the Beatty Habitat Committee (a local group) and the Amargosa Toad Working Group (a coalition of local, Nye County, Nevada State, and Federal officials); each works primarily to protect a local threatened species, as well as encouraging the development of walking trails in and around Beatty. Her many contributions to the library, the environment, and many community issues, will be sorely missed by her many friends, as will her sense of humor, deep knowledge of the local history, and her friendship to those in need. She is survived by her sister, Beatrice Harlan Nelson of Carlsbad, CA; by nephews and nieces: Jeffrey Leigh Nelson, Sacramento, CA; LauraLee Nelson Boone, Carlsbad, CA; Georgia Nelson Gipner, Pauma Valley, CA; Bradley Richard Nelson, Fort Lauderdale, FL; and William Williges, Benicia, CA; and by grandnieces and nephews: Julie Gipner, Fallview, CA; Gregory Gipner, Temecula, CA; Elizabeth Williges; and Tobias Williges. A "Celebration of Life" will be held at the Beatty Community Center on May 6 at 2:00. Contributions in lieu of flowers can be made to the Beatty Library District, PO Box 129, Beatty, NV 89003-129.
Published in Pahrump Valley Times on Mar. 29, 2017
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