Paul Leonard Shirley, 79, of Winter Garden, Florida passed away peacefully on Friday
July 1, 2022, at home while sleeping.
Paul was born on December 24, 1942 in his beloved Eufala, Alabama. He was the son
of the late, Lewey Henry and Willie Mae (Stephens) Shirley and widower to Janet
(Brown) Shirley. Paul was the loving husband of 57 years to Jean Ann (Roode) Shirley.
Their 58th wedding anniversary would have been July 4, 2022.
After graduating from Tennessee Tech (where he met Jean Ann and attended USMC
Officer Candidate School), he worked as a case manager for the Tennessee Welfare
Department. Paul then joined Travelers Insurance Company as a claim adjuster. Paul
then worked for more than two decades for Foremost Insurance company in Grand
Rapids, Michigan as well as Tampa and Orlando, Florida and was a well-known and
much loved Allstate insurance agent in Winter Garden for ten years.
He served his community well and after he sold his Allstate book of business, he began
a second career at 57 and graduated from the Police Academy. Paul then began
working for The Florida Department of Corrections at the Lake Correctional Institution. It was during this time that he was injured by a Hepatitis-B vaccination which confined him to a wheelchair for his last 22 years of life.
Paul was an award-winning photographer. In addition to shooting beautiful wedding
photographs, more proms and homecoming dances than can be mentioned, as well as
team pictures for all types of sports, his images appeared in various publications such
as the National Enquirer, The Grand Rapids Press, The Detroit Free Press (he shot
countless Detroit Lions football games directly from the field), and many other
publications. In search of perfection and always finding it, Paul spent countless hours in
the darkroom, developing his own images. He was able to capture not only famous
figures like Dorothy Hamill in the most perfect portrayals of their craft on film, he also
captured everyday moments, scenery, and people in a way that could bring tears to
Paul lived life to it’s fullest. He was an avid collector of guns, pipes, cameras, and fine
pens. Paul was an accomplished drummer and loved music of all kinds. He played the
drums for The Tech Troubadours during college, The Viva Tones in Chattanooga, and
many musicians and bands including Tom Jones, Tom T Hall, Jeanne C. Riley and The
Platters. On many Friday nights after his vaccine injury, he could be found wheeling
around in his power chair recording his beloved friends in the Winter Garden Bluegrass
community. On YouTube @vivatones66, he owned and managed one of the most
successful Bluegrass channels in the country if not the world.
In addition to his devoted wife, Jean Ann, he is survived by: son Stephen Sean Shirley
and wife (Suzette Annmarie), of Winter Garden, FL., daughter Shane Shirley, of
Windermere, FL., five grandchildren (Reece-Callie Smith, Alexandra Jeann Smith,
Brittany Ann Shirley, Hayden-Jay Beaumont Smith, and Devin Walker Shirley), one
Great-granddaughter (Lylah Jeann Barton), and many beloved cousins, in-laws, nieces,
Paul will be missed greatly by all of the people whose lives he touched in both big and
small ways. His legacy will live on in the music he created, the photographs he left for
us to enjoy, and his beautiful family.
There will be a celebration of Paul’s life on July 31, 2022 at his home from 1-3pm.