Valdosta Daily Times


September 19, 2013

Alton Jason Shirah

VALDOSTA — Dr. Alton Jason Shirah, 93, died on Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013, at Daytona Beach, Fla. He was born in Byromville, Ga., the son of Alton Jason Shirah and Annie Mae Page Shirah. His elementary and high school training was received in Byromville public schools.

He attended Emory at Oxford and graduated with an A.B. degree from Emory University in 1941. He graduated from Yale Divinity School with a Master of Divinity degree in 1944. Lagrange College awarded him the Doctor of Divinity degree in 1962.  

Dr. Shirah was ordained a deacon in the South Georgia Conference of the Methodist Church in 1944, and two years later was ordained Elder by Arthur J. Moore.  He was received into full connection in 1946. He was founding pastor of Dawson Street United Methodist Church in Thomasville, Ga. While there, he married Jane Inman, his wife of 66 years.  She survives him. Other assignments were Cochran, Fitzgerald, First Church Waycross; First Church Valdosta; St. Luke Columbus; District Superintendent of the Valdosta District.  For the last 11 years of his ministry, he served as senior minister of Wesley Monumental United Methodist in Savannah, Ga.  

He retired in 1987, after 43 years in the United Methodist ministry. He and his wife had continued to live in Savannah following his retirement.

Dr. Shirah was author of two books – For Children Mainly and A Pinch of Spice; Recollections of a Country Boy.  He served the United Methodist Church in his active years as follows:  Board of Trustees, Wesleyan College; Board of Trustees, Andrew College; Board of Trustees, Epworth By-The-Sea; Board of Trustees, Magnolia Manor; Board of Trustees, Methodist Home for Children and Youth, and Chairman for an extended period;  Board of Trustees, Paine College; Chairman South Georgia Conference Board of Pensions; Chairman South Georgia Conference Board of Conference Claimants; Chairman, South Georgia Conference Board of Missions; General Board of Higher Education and Ministry.  He was serving as trustee emeritus of Wesleyan College, Andrew College, Magnolia Manor, and the Methodist Home for Children and Youth at the time of his death.

He was the first elected clerical delegate and leader of the South Georgia Conference delegation to the General Conference in 1980. He was a member of the General Conference delegation in 1976, and of the Jurisdictional Conference delegation in 1972, 1976, 1980, and 1984.

He pursued his formal education with vigor and continued an active study schedule all his ministry and in subsequent years of retirement. He was known for his strength as a preacher and as one paid tribute to him at his retirement, “Somewhere along the way he fell in love with the English language.” A fascinating storyteller, he could be the unscheduled program in any social gathering.  He had a spontaneous sense of humor that frequently erupted in a contagious outburst of laughter. His devotion to his ministry and his affection for his family were the soul of his life.

In retirement, he experienced the enjoyment of working with Historic Savannah Foundation and Grey Line Tours as a tour guide, exposing visitors to the beauty and history of the city that he loved.

In addition to his wife, Jane Inman Shirah, he is survived by four daughters and their husbands, Jane Shirah Stump and Robert Stump, Fort Valley; Mary Shirah Snyder, Columbus, Anne Shirah Dykes and Dan Dykes, Monroeville, Ala., Martha Shirah Brumbeloe and David Brumbeloe, Cartersville; 10 grandchildren, Jason Stump and Jennifer Stump, David Stump and Jennifer Stump, Susanna Zeigler and Sanford Zeigler, Benjamin Snyder and Michelle Snyder, Mary Catherine Snyder, Laura Snyder, Jane Inman Edenfield, Allison Edenfield, Sarah Brumbeloe, Christopher Brumbeloe, five great-grandchildren; and one sister, Mildred Shirah Kight, Cordele.

Visitation will take place at Fox and Weeks Funeral Directors, Hodgson Chapel, Savannah, on Friday, Sept. 20, 2013, from 5-7 p.m.

The funeral service will be conducted at Wesley Monumental United Methodist Church, on Calhoun Square, Savannah, at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013. Honorary seating for ministers and wives.

Interment will take place in Page Cemetery, Byromville, Ga. - Route 230, one mile east of Byromville on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013, at 4:30 p.m. Pallbearers will be grandsons and sons-in-law.

Memorials: Wesley Monumental United Methodist Church, Permanent Endowment Fund 429 Abercorn Street, Savannah GA 31401; Wesleyan College, 4760 Forsyth Road, Macon, GA 31210; Andrew College, Cuthbert, GA 31740; Magnolia Manor, Americus, GA 31719; Methodist Home for Children and Youth, P.O. Box 2525 Macon, GA 31203. Please sign our on-line guest book at — Fox & Weeks Funeral Directors, Savannah

Text Only
  • Sarah Lee Grant

    Mrs. Sarah Lee Grant, age 88 of Quitman, Georgia passed away on April 14, 2014 at the Langdale Hospice House in Valdosta, Georgia.

    April 14, 2014

  • Corine Howard

    Mrs. Corine Howard, age 79 of Quitman, Georgia passed away on April 10, 2014 at the Brooks County Emergency Room in Quitman.

    April 14, 2014

  • Joyce Ann Jackson

    Joyce Ann Jackson, 67, of Valdosta, passed away Sunday, April 13, 2014.

    April 14, 2014

  • JoAnn North Gillingwater

    JoAnn North Gillingwater, 72, of Lake Park died on Sunday, April 13, 2014 at her residence following a lengthy illness.

    April 14, 2014

  • Marjorie Carratt White

    Marjorie Carratt White, 92, of Valdosta, Ga., passed away Sunday, April 13, 2014 at Langdale Hospice House following a lengthy illness.

    April 14, 2014

  • Clarence Edward Teston Jr.

    Mr. Clarence Edward Teston Jr., 79, of Homerville, Ga., passed away suddenly Sunday, April 13, 2014, at his residence.

    April 14, 2014

  • William Laran Martin

    The Rev. William Laran Martin, 69, of Nashville, Ga.,  died Sunday April 13, 2014 in Tift Regional Medical Center.

    April 14, 2014

  • Lemuel N. John III

    Lemuel N. John III, Lt. Col. USAF, RET., 85, of Valdosta died at Langdale Hospice House on Monday, April, 14, 2014.

    April 14, 2014

  • OBIT GARDNER, Dottie copy.jpg Dottie Ree Strickland Gardner

    Dottie Ree Strickland Gardner, 96, of Moultrie, Ga., died Monday, April 14, 2014 at Agape Health and Rehabilitation.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Shirley M. Dozier

    Shirley M. Dozier, 87, of Valdosta, formerly of Forsyth, Ga., passed away Saturday, April 12, 2014 at South Georgia Medical Center.

    April 13, 2014

Top News

What you think about school and workplace rules about Facebook friends?

There have to be rules.
No need for rules, just use common sense.
If people want to be friends, what is the big deal?
Nobody uses Facebook anymore.
     View Results