SILVER SPRING, Md. — Shirley Dupree, who left Sheridan County, Wyo., as a teenager to work in the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, D.C., died Aug. 22, 2013, at her home in Silver Spring, Md. She was 73.
The cause of death was frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), said her husband, Jim Dupree.
Shirley Rae Holmes was born in 1940 in Sheridan. She lived on a number of ranches in the Sheridan County area, as the family followed her father, Ray Holmes, from ranch job to ranch job.
After graduating from Big Horn High School as part of a class of 12 students in 1958, her life detoured to Capitol Hill when she met Wyoming Congressman Keith Thomson during a 4-H "Make it Yourself with Wool" contest.
At first, Shirley rejected the idea of taking a job in Thomson's Washington office, but soon changed her mind and left Sheridan in January 1959.
She worked for Rep. Thomson through 1960, when the Wyoming Republican won a U.S. Senate seat. But Thomson died soon after the election, leaving his staff looking for work.
Instead of returning to Wyoming, Shirley took a job in the office of Rep. Ed Finnegan, D-Ill.), who had just won a U.S. House seat from Chicago.
Shirley was hired for that job by her future husband, Jim Dupree; they were married in April of 1962.
Mrs. Dupree also worked for Rep. Jim Hanley, D-New York. When she left Hanley's office in 1969, a Syracuse newspaper report played it this way:
"WASHINGTON — Rep. James M. Hanley of Syracuse is losing one of his more decorative office fixtures."
After family moves to Chicago, Detroit and back to Washington, D.C., Mrs. Dupree took up needlepoint finishing as a home business, sold women's fashion clothes and also enjoyed tennis.
She also became an avid golfer, recording a hole-in-one at Congressional Country Club outside Washington.
Shirley was preceded in death by her brother, Charles Holmes; her father, Ray Holmes; and her mother, Pauline Holmes.
Survivors include her husband of 51 years, Jim Dupree of Silver Spring, Md.; her daughter, Jacqueline of Washington, D.C.; her son, Jamie of Bethesda, Md.; and three grandchildren.
Services will be held Sept. 7, at 10 a.m. at Champion Ferries Funeral Home in Sheridan. A reception follows at the Sheridan Elks Club.
In lieu of flowers, consider a donation to one of two groups: the Sheridan County 4-H Foundation, 224 South Main St. Suite B-10, Sheridan, WY 82801; or the Frontotemporal Dementia Clinic at Johns Hopkins Medicine, Dr. Chiadi Onyike, Director, 550 N. Broadway, Suite 914, Baltimore, MD 21205.