Shirley Williams

January 14, 1929 - March 9, 2023

Florence, Alabama. Shirley Williams Self, 94, died peacefully at home, March 9th, 2023, with her loving family by her side.

Shirley was a renowned educator, published author, accomplished athlete, devoted mother, and dedicated public servant who committed herself to bettering Florence, AL, the community she was so proud to call home.

Shirley’s funeral service will be held at Trinity Episcopal Church, Florence, Saturday, 11 o’clock a.m. March 11th, 2023 with the Reverend Callie Brewton and Deacon Tom Osborn officiating at Trinity, and with the Reverend Jim Warren officiating her private burial at the Decatur City Cemetery.

Shirley was born in Decatur, Alabama on January 14, 1929 to Auburn Porterfield and Iva Mae Williams.  She graduated Riverside High School, Gulf Park College for Women, The University of Mississippi, and Florence State University.  She was married to Coach Hal Self on December 22, 1947 and they had three children, Hank, Sue and Gil.

Shirley was a reading specialist in the Florence City School system for 29 years, having taught at Richards Center, Appleby Jr. High, and Weeden Middle School.

Being a childhood polio survivor, Shirley learned early the importance of exercise, later excelling in cheerleading, water ballet and tennis, capturing many State and local awards and recently being awarded UNA Lion’s Athletic Club Lifetime Achievement Award for 2022. Shirley was also an excellent bridge player, having enjoyed the game all her adult life.

She accepted Jesus Christ at the age of 12 and was a faithful member of the Baptist faith, having attended Highland Baptist Church for 47 years, and then later joining Trinity Episcopal Church in 2007, to be near her son and grandsons.  She was a faithful member of the choir of both churches and taught Sunday School for over forty-five years.    She was a charter member of P.E.O. Sisterhood International, a philanthropic organization celebrating the advancement of women, where she served as chaplain and president. Shirley is a member of Alpha Delta Kappa, an international honorary organization for women educators.  She was a sustaining member of the Junior League of the Shoals. She was faithful Rotarian, a member of the Daughters of The American Revolution and a devoted supporter of UNA Athletics, including the UNA Sportsman Club and UNA Presidents Cabinet.  Shirley and her family established the Hal and Shirley Self Endowment Scholarship which provides financial assistance to graduate students.

She is survived by her son, Hank Self and wife, Laura Jane, daughter, Sue Self Raines and husband, Bill; son Gil Self; grandchildren, Caroline, Wesley and his wife Shea, Neil, Gil, Jr. and Thomas Self and Zac and Nathan Raines and his wife, Lucy, great grandchildren, Wakefield and Doran Self and Parker and Sloane Raines.

Pallbearers will be Henry Herold Self, Jr., Gilbert Porterfield Self, William Loyd Raines, David Wesley Self, Herold Neil Self, Gilbert Porterfield Self, Jr. and Thomas Harold Self.

Williams Funeral Home will be directing the services at Trinity Episcopal Church and Decatur City Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the “Coach Hal Self and Shirley Self Student Athlete Post Graduate Endowment”, University of North Alabama, Office Floor Advancement, UNA Box 5113, 1 Harrison Plaza, Florence, AL  35632.  This scholarship is awarded annually to a student athlete, male or female, who has received an undergraduate degree at UNA, has exemplified the character and values of Coach Self and Mrs. Self and who is pursuing graduate studies at UNA or elsewhere.


March 11, 2023
11:00 am


410 North Pine Street, Florence, AL, USA

March 11, 2023 11:00 am

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March 11, 2023
1:00 pm


Decatur city cemetery, Wilson Street Northwest, Decatur, AL, USA

March 11, 2023 1:00 pm

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9 Comments on “Shirley Williams Self”

  1. Sue, I’m so sorry to hear about your mom. I knew you had wonderful parents, from the way you highly spoke of them back in the day when we were playing golf. Prayers lifted for you and your family during this time and in the days to come.

  2. Though I only knew Shirley for the last six years of her life, she always impressed me with her perpetual smile and enthusiasm for life. She and her late husband Hal leave a lasting legacy in The Shoals through their deeds and through their wonderful family. Her memory is an eternal blessing. My wife Sara and I will miss her.

  3. I am sorry to hear about your mothers passing. I loved playing tennis with her. She had a wanderful smile and encouraging words to say. I will miss her at the old dear luncheon we have every year for tennis players. Will be praying for your family. Love Annecia Dolan

  4. I have known your mother since elementary school, and she was truly an amazing lady. I am so sorry for your loss. She was very special, and I saw her again in our adulthood at Turtle Point with Mr. Osborn. Words don’t mean much right now, but I feel your pain. Losing my Mother and Daddy over the last 5 years has been so hard – one of the worst things in my life, and I survived living over 30 years in New York City and also 9/11, etc. Please know that each of you are in my prayers. She was very proud of all of you, and we will meet again. God bless you!

  5. Your mom was a true southern belle and a great lady. I loved talking to her. She taught me the phrase “Hal, why don’t we go to bed so these nice people can leave?” and I’ve always loved it so much. I know you will miss her terribly. Love and prayers. Ki (Sanders) Corley

  6. The George Lindsey Golf Tournment did many wonderful things for special olympics, but what it did for me & my wife Linda, who preceeded Shirley in death by just more than 2 years, was allow us to become friends with Hal & Shirley Self. 2 wonderful people that we shared such good times with. Thanks Sue for that last call. Speaking with Shirley one last time is something I will always treasure.

  7. My name is Carrie Denlinger, I’m from Modesto, California, and I was a friend/pen pal of Shirley’s since around 2013! In the 6th grade I did a report on the state of Alabama. I put a letter in newspapers asking for info, she responded, and we have kept in touch ever since. When I realized I hadn’t heard from her for awhile, I googled it and saw that she passed away. I’m so sorry for your loss, she was a sweet soul and always kept up with my life!

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