ZANEIS — Home-going celebration services for Bro. Ben Franklin Shirley, 80, of Wilson, are scheduled for 2 p.m., Thursday, March 29, 2018, at the Zaneis Baptist Church with the Revs. Dave Kelley, John Hatfield, Jimmy Davis, Larry Schoonover and Don Clark officiating. Interment will follow at the Hewitt Cemetery in Wilson. Services are under the care and direction of Alexander Funeral Home of Wilson.
Ben was born on June 3, 1937, at Comanche, to the late Mr. George Franklin Shirley and Mrs. Alvin Lavelle (Moore) Shirley. He went to be with his Lord and Savior Sunday morning, March 25, 2018, at a nursing home facility in Ardmore.
Ben was raised at Comanche, where he graduated high school. He married the former Ms. Ione Barnes on Aug. 6, 1971, at Duncan. At this time, they lived south of Duncan, residing at Liberty, attending the Liberty Baptist Church. It was at this time Ben surrendered his life to the Lord and was called to the ministry. His first church was at the Russett Baptist Church from 1972 to 1973. Afterwards, he was at the Wapanucka Baptist Church from 1973 to 1975. He became the pastor of Zaneis Baptist Church in 1975 and held that position until 2012. Currently, he was serving as the pastor of the Marsden Baptist Church, where he enjoyed serving the Lord since 2013.
Ben was an avid outdoorsman, loving to hunt and fish. He always had bird dogs in his younger years and enjoyed running cattle for many years. Ben was a big fan of the Thunder Basketball Team.
Preceding him in death are his parents, George and Lavelle Shirley; daughter, Niecy Horn on Jan. 9, 2003; and son, Benny Shirley on May 12, 2008.
Survivors include his loving wife, Ione of the home; children, Cindy Williams of Comanche, Kevin Stowers of San Antonio, Texas, Karen Manning and husband Brice of Marietta, John Shirley and wife Rhonda of Ardmore and Holly Shirley of the home; grandchildren, Elizabeth Shirley, Clay Shirley, Seth Shirley, Landon Johnson, PFC Chance Manning, Emily Curtis, Danielle Shirley, Steven Shirley, Tomi Graham and Wylie Turner; and numerous other family, church family and friends.
Casket bearers will be Gary Whitener, Daniel Whitener, Daniel Kinard, Lonnie Stewart, Justin Busey and Charles Campbell.
Family visitation will be held from 5 to 7 p.m., Wednesday at the funeral home in Wilson.
Condolences may be shared online at www.alexanderfuneralhome.org.