Ronald Gene “Ron” Shirley, age 71, of Stillwater, went home to the Lord on December 22, 2019 in his home. A celebration of Ron’s life officiated by J.B. Bond and Bryan James will begin at 10:30 a.m. Friday, December 27, 2019 at the Stillwater Bible Church, with burial following in Memorial Park Cemetery in Muskogee. The family will be available to greet friends at the funeral home Thursday, December 26 from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Strode Funeral Home and Cremation is in charge of the arrangements.
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Ron was born in Muskogee, Oklahoma on October 13, 1948 to Joseph Nathaniel and Daisy Irene (Harmon) Shirley. He was a 1966 graduate of Hot Springs High School, and afterwards figured that college wasn’t for him so he moved on to make his way in the car business. He headed to Tulsa with $500 in his pocket, and worked hard. Eventually he landed at Ernie Miller Pontiac and at age 26 worked his way up to General Manager. It was at the dealership where he met Becky, the love of his life. The other employees arranged a blind date, but neither Becky nor Ron knew it was with each other. They got married 3 months later. They had Ron II in 1977 and Rachel in 1979. Ron sold so many cars that GM came to him and asked him to get a GM franchise. They gave him three towns to choose from, and Ron and Becky ultimately decided on Stillwater with the blessing of Ernie Miller who was instrumental in their success.
In 1980 Ron and Becky put all their savings on the line and moved away from everything and everyone they knew to begin in Stillwater. The first lot was a corner gas station at the intersection of 6th and Washington, with only 5 cars on the lot. They quickly realized they needed more space and rented the lot east of his longtime dealership for a few years from Charlie Vincent. A few years later they purchased the building we all knew as Ron Shirley Buick-GMC, Inc. 4700 W 6th Ave. Ron was a new auto dealer in Stillwater for 35 years. He loved being a dealer and took his job seriously. His family resoled his shoes all the time because he would wear them out making the rounds. Everyone knew Ron was engaged in all aspects of the lot. He was even great friends with his longtime Make Ready Manager Danny Webb, who was with Ron for over 30 years! People that knew him well also knew that his love for Muscle Cars was a huge part of his passion. For many years he would load the family up in the 4-door car hauler and head off to car auctions. Together the family chased cars all over the country. Rachel once asked her dad, when she was 21 “have we ever been anywhere that wasn’t for a car?” Ron replied, “hmm not that I know of!” The love of cars was a family affair.
Ron loved his family fiercely, and they always knew he loved them and was there for them when they needed him. Ron made it a priority to be home by 6 PM every day so he could have dinner with his family. Ron sold his business in July of 2015 and decided to spend some time with his kids and grandkids and enjoy retirement. He also had a desire to get more involved with his church home, Stillwater Bible Church, where he served the church as an Elder for the past 7 years.
Ron is survived by his beloved wife Becky; his son Ron II and wife Sara; his daughter Rachel James and her husband Bryan; three grandchildren: Ron Shirley III, Josephine Shirley, and Lauren James.
Serving as pallbearers are Drew Stonecipher, Rick Jones, Bill Barnes, Danny Webb, Ron Shirley II, and Ron Shirley III. Honorary pallbearers are Freddie Warford, Rick Jones, John Mullins, and Pat Pultz.
Although flowers and other expressions of love and support are deeply appreciated, those wishing to honor Ron’s life may do so by contributing in his memory to Stillwater Bible Church, 7617 W. 6th Ave, Stillwater, OK 74074.
An online obituary may be viewed and messages to the family may be sent by visiting Ron’s memorial page at www.StrodeFH.com .