Millard Gene Shirley
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MILLARD GENE SHIRLEY, age 87, passed away on January 26, 2021 at his home in Farragut, Tennessee. Born in Springfield, Kentucky, he attended the University of Kentucky on a football scholarship in 1951 and played two years for a legendary coach before transferring to Western Kentucky. He excelled on the Hilltoppers football field, enrolled in the Air Force ROTC program and earned his Bachelor's degree. He served 20 years in the United States Air Force specializing in radar defense and ballistic missiles early warning systems (BMEWS). He retired in 1975 as a Lieutenant Colonel with memorable tours in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas; King Salmon, Alaska; Lincoln, Nebraska; Cheyenne Mountain and Denver, Colorado; Tampa, Florida; Woomera, Australia; and his favorite, Thule, Greenland. He later worked for McDonnell Douglas and Martin Marietta as an Aerospace Engineer, which sent him back to Thule. He also earned two Master's degrees from the University of Northern Colorado and Regis College. Millard was a true gentleman, fully dedicated to his family and an avid runner for more than 50 years. He will be remembered for his generosity, quiet sense of humor, love of good food and a polar bear collection reflective of his time in the Artic. Millard was a nomad with over 39 residential moves around the world, the most recent being in Huntington Beach, California and Palm Coast/Jacksonville, Florida. He was preceded in death by his parents, R.C. and Mary Agnes Shirley. He is survived by his beloved wife and faithful companion of 63 years, Sue Shirley; son Mark (Trang) Shirley of San Jose, CA; daughter, Sabrina (Paul) Houston of Lenoir City, TN; brother, Dr. William C. (Diane) Shirley of Columbus, GA; sister, Norma Maxine Sutton of Lexington, KY; several nieces and nephews and their families; and three grand-dogs. A tremendous thank you for the support from family and friends, the Villages of Farragut and the University of Tennessee Hospice staff. Visitation will be on Monday, February 8, 2021 from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm at Click Funeral Home in Farragut. Masks and social distancing are required. A private family military burial service will be held at the East Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery in Knoxville, TN on February 9, 2021 at 2:00 pm. The family requests donations be made in his memory to Billy Graham Evangelistic Association https://billygraham.org ; Disabled American Veterans https://www.dav.org/ ; or Shangri-La Therapeutic Academy of Riding (STAR) https://www.rideatstar.org/ .