Shirlee Hurst Shields

1928 ~ 2022

Shirlee Hurst Shields, 94, beloved wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, sister, and friend, peacefully slipped through the veil early in the morning hours of Sunday, October 16, 2022, in Salt Lake City where she had lived her entire life.
Shirlee was born at her grandmother’s house in Payson, Utah on June 18, 1928, to Justin Earl Hurst and Inez Lucinda Tanner. She had a prominent pioneer heritage of which she was very proud.

She grew up on Capitol Hill in Salt Lake City, and graduated from West High School where she was a popular and active student.
At the University of Utah, she pledged Delta Gamma Sorority before meeting a handsome Sigma Chi law student and beginning a lifetime love affair with Jed Weston Shields. They were married in the Salt Lake Temple on January 30, 1948. He passed away on November 26, 2011 after 65 years of marriage and friendship. We are certain their reunion was very sweet.

Shirlee was a beautiful, creative, high energy woman who loved the arts, especially theatre. When her children were all in school, she returned to the University of Utah where she earned a BA degree in Speech and an MFA. She continued on to BYU where she earned a PH.D in Theatre. She served for 7 years on the General Activities Committee of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

She loved sharing her talents with the youth and directed numerous speech and dance festivals, and roadshows. Later in her life, she established the Babcock Performing Readers to continue the art of reader’s theatre. She wrote several scripts for them and directed many of their shows through a number of years. The theatre continues to perform because of many loyal friends and colleagues.
Shirlee is survived by her four children, Deborah (David Smoot), Holladay, Utah, Shauna (Carl Erickson, deceased), Frisco, Texas, Jeffrey (Mary), Sandy, Utah, Gregory (Kristy), East Millcreek, Utah, 15 grandchildren, and 36 great-grandchildren. She was pre-deceased by her parents and her brothers, Dr. Justin Fred Hurst, Dr. J. Earl Hurst, and a baby brother, Gerald Hurst.

There will be a visitation on Friday, November 4 from 6-8 PM at Larkin Sunset Lawn Mortuary, 2350 East 1300 South in Salt Lake City. Funeral services will be held at noon on Saturday, November 5, in the Monument Park Stake Center, 1320 South Wasatch Dr. in Salt Lake City.
Very special thanks to the kind and thoughtful care from our hospice team especially nurse, Samantha Borges, and caregiver Sanne Vaiangina.

“Make it a great day!”


I enjoyed participating in the Babcock Performing Readers for many years as both audience and presenter. Shirlee was a benevolent teacher and mentor during those years. Shirlee was wonderful to work with as co-coordinator for Readings in the Garden--a special event of our invention. I will remember her fondly.

- Joyce Marder

Wow, where do I start? I have so many fond memories of my Aunt Shirlee. What has come to mind first and foremost was her laugh. Her laugh was distinguishable and infectious. She had a great sense of humor and I remember how touching were the stories she would tell about herself and my Dad when they were growing up.

- Craig W Hurst