A Life Lived: Shirley Curde was a very talented and gifted person

Published 1:40 pm Tuesday, April 26, 2022

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Shirley Curde was an especially gifted person who lived life to the fullest and used her gifts to bless others.
She was a faithful member of First Christian Church of Elizabethton and a former member of Brick Christian Church in Watauga. She served both churches at one time as secretary. She was a former choir director, choir member, sang in numerous singing groups, and sang for many years in the Elizabethton Choral Club. She also taught Sunday School. Church was a big part of her life. She shared with her children in her autobiography that “My parents didn’t send us to church, they took us.”
She was Preacher Fred Smith’s first baptism when he came to First Christian Church of Elizabethton as minister, and the two families became life-long friends. When the children in the two families were growing up, they only lived a block apart. Shirley shared in the written pages of her autobiography that when she was a young girl and her father was away in military service: “They (the Smith family) was a big support and looked after us while Dad was gone.”
Shirley was delivered by the late Dr. W.G. Frost and was named for Shirley Temple, the child movie star. She herself once was a contestant in the Miss Rhododendron Pageant.
Shirley loved people. She loved playing with them, singing with them, and ministering to them. For 36 years she worked at the Carter County Health Department, and then at the Regional Health Department, where she retired.
Church and music were always a big part of her life. Her first solo was at First Christian when she was a teenager. She wrote in her memoirs to her children: “I sang ‘No One Ever Cared For Me Like Jesus’ and boy were my knees knocking and I was shaking like a leaf. I still sing occasionally and still shake and knock.”
In high school Shirley played soprano sax in Junior High and graduated to alto sax in high school. She also played oboe one year in the concert band and the bassoon in the concert band. The bassoon was her favorite instrument to play.
When she was younger, Shirley enjoyed playing sports — basketball at Elizabethton High and Milligan College. She later played church league softball in the city league. Shirley later bowled in a league.
The love of her life was Bruce Curde, whom she met at the old Nave’s Swimming Pool in Hampton. The couple were married 57 years before he died in January 2013. They were the parents of two daughters, Leslie Brockley and Cindy Brown.
Shirley was alway one for fun and adventure. She used to ride a mo-ped, and later a Vespa scooter to work at the Carter County Health Department. She also rode it several times to work in Johnson City. Her biggest fear was of running out of gas and not being able to get to a gas station.
Shirley enjoyed challenges, and the mo-ped was one was of those challenges.
Shirley also enjoyed people and being a help to them.
As part of her testimony, she shared in her autobiography, “I believe all Christians are on a threshing floor where God desires to remove the worldliness from us so that our new spiritually built life is all that remains. Most of us say we are Christians. We as Christians must live a life focused on God, knowing him, understanding His will and being obedient to it. As we do this faithfully we can be assured that our faith is truly held in our heart, and not just our mind.”
“Her Lord and Savior and her belief in God were a huge part of who she was,” said her daughter, Leslie.
Leslie noted that the caption under her senior picture in the high school yearbook said it all: “Here is a girl with a heart and a smile that make the bubble of life worthwhile.”
Shirley Curde’s was a life well-lived, full of memories, music, laughter, and love. She had a lasting impact on her community, church, family, and friends.

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