Cover photo for Shirley McNally's Obituary
Shirley McNally Profile Photo

Shirley McNally

d. August 27, 2023

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Shirley Reeser McNally, wife of James Jerome McNally, daughter of Hazel Florence and Myron Drew Reeser, sister of Doris Stauderman, mother of James Reeser McNally and Elizabeth (Robert) Pettus. She is also survived by niece Lynda Stauderman, nephew Kenneth (Martha) Stauderman, and their children Lukas and Ellie, plus step-grandson Thomas (Leah) Pettus-Czar and their son, Arthur.
Shirley spent her early years in Maplewood, New Jersey. An alumna of Smith College, class of 1947, she accompanied the SC Glee club as pianist, and was the Ivy day speaker at her graduation.
Upon graduation, she joined the executive training squad at R.H. Macy, NYC and later became an editor for Street and Smith's Magazine "Living for Young Homemakers". A guest on the early CBS-TV show "Vanity Fair", that network's first women's daytime TV show, she soon joined the staff as a writer at a time when TV was new, live, black & white, personable, and exciting. Four years later, Garry Moore asked her to become his assistant at the Daytime Garry Moore Show.
Shirley met Jerry McNally at CBS television. They were married in 1954, and moved to Stamford, Ct, where their children were born. When the family relocated to Pelham Manor, NY, the McNallys formed McNally Educational Productions, Inc, creating and producing "Let's Learn Language", an oral language development multi-media program for young children. The program went on to be produced in Spanish, Portuguese, Tlingit, Haida, and Ts'msyen, for language preservation and oral study.
The McNallys visited Santa Fe in 1976 and made it their home 6 months later, captivated by the beauty, charm and history of the City Different. They loaned and taught their LLL program to the Santa Fe school system for special education classes. Through St. Bedes Episcopal Church, the McNallys became deeply involved with the Vietnamese and Lao families welcomed by New Mexico churches. Their ESL program was used with entire families, and eventually, by the National Episcopal Church in its refugee program.
Shirley was one of the first three women elected as Deputy for the diocese of the Rio Grande to the National Convention of the Episcopal Church and subsequently served on the Presiding Bishop's Fund for World Relief in NYC and the College of Preachers at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. At St. Bede's Church in Santa Fe, Shirley served as Senior Warden, Vestry member, lay reader, chalice bearer, and head of the Ushers' guild. She served several terms as board member of Open Hands and the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian. She was named a Paul Harris Fellow by the Local Rotary Foundation and is author of the "History of St. Bede's Episcopal Church".
After Jerry died in 1989, Shirley penned "When Husbands Die", a sharing of stories from Smith Alumnae - including her own -who recreated themselves in widowhood, published in 2005.
Grateful for a long and wonderful life, Shirley McNally leaves behind her beloved children and her many fine friends in this most beautiful city of Santa Fe.
They will hold a Memorial Celebration of her life at St. Bede's Episcopal Church, 550 San Mateo Road, Santa Fe, NM on October 10th at 2:00 pm.
The family asks that any memorial gifts be directed to St. Bede's Episcopal Church and Scott's House Community Respite and Hospice House.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Shirley McNally, please visit our flower store.


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