Shirley Mae Ralston, 81, passed away on Thursday, January 3, 2013, at her family home in Taholah, Washington. She was born on March 12, 1931, in Taholah, to Benjamin Charley and Frieda (Strom) Charley. She was an enrolled member of the Quinault Indian Nation.
Shirley grew up in Taholah but briefly lived in Seattle, Washington during World War II, while her father worked as a longshoreman. Shirley attended Moclips High School and was a member of the school choir that gained national recognition; operetta; girls basketball; class treasurer; girls club vice president; school newspaper; and a class play. Shirley was a member of the 1950 Moclips High School graduating class.
Shirley married Earl Ralston Sr. on January 8, 1951, in Taholah, Washington. They were happily married for 61 years and raised eight children. During these years, the family moved from Taholah to Aberdeen and later to Hoquiam, and eventually back to Taholah. Foster children were brought in to Shirley’s household and immediately treated as family and warmed with explicit home cooked meals and baked goodies all made from scratch.
Shirley was a member of the Quinault Council for two years, 1959 – 1960, and served as the Treasurer/Secretary under President Cleve Jackson and Vice President Horton Capoeman. Shirley also served on the Taholah School Board for many years. During her tenure the board successfully lobbied state and federal officials and the Taholah High School was funded and later opened in 1992.
Shirley is survived by her spouse, Earl Ralston, Sr. of Taholah; her siblings, Richard “Inky” Charley and Benjamin “Sully” Charley, Jr.; a son, Earl Ralston, Sr.; a daughter, Cheri Hartstrom; a son, Charles Ralston; a son, Lawrence Ralston; a daughter, Mary Ann Ralston; a daughter, Cindy Ralston; a daughter, Jessica Ralston; a daughter, Frieda Waugh; a special grandson, Chad Ralston and 54 awesome grandchildren. Shirley also has a daughter in-law, Cecile “Charli” Ralston; a son in-law, Donald Waugh; and a son in-law, Curtis Cheney.
Shirley was preceded in death by her parents, Benjamin and Frieda (Strom) Charley; and her grandchild, Jason Waugh.
Shirley supported education and was an avid Taholah Chitwhin fan. Shirley enjoyed watching her grandchildren play football, basketball, volleyball, baseball and track for Taholah.
A memorial service will be held at the Taholah School gymnasium in Taholah, Washington, starting at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, January 7, 2013. Directly after the service a graveside burial procession will be held at the Taholah Cemetery. Afterwards a meal will be shared at the Taholah Community Center. Flowers can be sent to Coleman’s Mortuary in Hoquiam, Washington.
Direction is by the Coleman Mortuary, 422 – 5th Street in Hoquiam.
Please take a few moments to record your thoughts for the family by signing the on line guest register at www.colemanmortuary.net.