Shirley Meyer McGinnis, 87, interest in archaeology led her around the world

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Shirley Meyer McGinnis
Shirley Meyer McGinnis

Dr. Shirley Meyer McGinnis passed away on Monday, February 22, 2016. Born in Garnavillo, Iowa, Dr. McGinnis served the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for 35 years, first as an engineering aide at the Rock Island, Ill., District, then in the Office of the Chief of Engineers in Washington, D.C., and finally as the wife of a career engineer officer.

She was the personal secretary to two chiefs of engineers, lieutenant generals Lewis Pick and Samuel Sturgis. As an engineer wife, she lived in Japan; Hawaii; Asmara, Eritrea; the Panama Canal Zone, and numerous continental United States stations.

Though concentrating on her formal education later in life, she earned her doctorate in archaeology from the University of Texas at Austin in 1997. She was a member of the Phi Kappa Phi Scholastic Honor Organization, and she received the Essayons Award from the U.S. Army Engineer Association.

Dr. McGinnis studied art over the years as she became an accomplished artist in watercolor, acrylic and oil media. She taught art to many of her fellow military spouses. Her archaeological interest resulted in extensive travel, especially within the Western Hemisphere, and in the collection of an impressive number of masks from around the world. She had a passion for travel and adventure, a love of learning and cooking, and she was beloved by all who knew her.

Dr. McGinnis was the only daughter of Eldo and Beatrice Meyer. She is survived by her husband of more than 60 years, retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Charles McGinnis; three children, Gail McGinnis Barker, Ann McGinnis Hillyer and James McGinnis (Koren); and eight grandchildren. At the time of her passing, she was matriarch of her family, her parents and three brothers having preceded her in death.

A service will be held at the Patriots Colony Grand Hall, 6000 Patriots Colony Dr., Williamsburg, VA 23188, at 4 p.m. Saturday, February 27.

Please leave online condolences for the family at Nelsen Funeral Home.

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