Shirley Dupree, who left Sheridan County, Wyoming, as a teenager to work in the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, D.C., died August 22, 2013 at her home in Silver Spring, Maryland. She was 73.
The cause of death was Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
Shirley Rae Holmes was born in 1940 in Sheridan. She lived on a number of ranches in the Sheridan County area, as the family followed her father, Ray Holmes, a native of Crook County, from ranch job to ranch job.
After graduating from Big Horn High School near Sheridan as part of a class of twelve students in 1958, her life detoured to Capitol Hill when she met Wyoming Congressman Keith Thomson during a 4-H “Make it Yourself with Wool” contest.
At first, Shirley rejected the idea of taking a job in Thomson’s Washington office, but soon changed her mind and left Wyoming in January 1959.
She worked for Rep. Thomson through 1960, when the Wyoming Republican won a U.S. Senate seat. But Thomson died soon after the election, leaving his staff looking for work.
Instead of returning to Wyoming, Shirley found work in the office of Rep. Ed Finnegan of Illinois. She was hired for that job by her future husband Jim Dupree; they were married in April of 1962.
After family moves to Chicago, Detroit and back to Washington, D.C., Mrs. Dupree took up needlepoint finishing as a home business, sold women’s fashion clothes and also enjoyed tennis and golf.
Shirley was preceded in death by her brother, Charles Holmes; her father, Ray Holmes; and her mother Pauline Holmes.
Shirley’s grandfather, Mark Holmes, staked his family’s homestead claims near Barlow Canyon Road in Crook County after arriving in Wyoming in 1904; her father Ray was born on the Holmes Ranch 11 miles west of Hulett, as were her aunt Lucy and her uncle Eugene.
After his death in 1956, Mark Holmes was described as a “pioneer Hulett resident.”
Survivors include Shirley’s husband of 51 years, Jim Dupree of Silver Spring, Md.; her daughter Jacqueline of Washington, D.C.; her son Jamie of Bethesda, Md., and three grandchildren.
Services will be held September 7 at 10:30 a.m. at Champion Ferries Funeral Home in Sheridan. A reception follows at the Sheridan Elks Club.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Sheridan County 4-H Foundation, 224 South Main St. Suite B-10, Sheridan, WY 82801.