Willie Elizabeth Shipley

Willie Elizabeth Shipley

Willie Elizabeth Shipley was born in Mangum, Oklahoma, in 1893. Her father died when she was very young, so the role of raising and supporting the family fell to her mother. It was her mother's high ideals and great strength of character that most influenced Miss Shipley.

A good scholar in Mangum's schools, Miss Shipley went on to study at Oklahoma College for Women in Chickasha thanks to a scholarship from the Daughters of the American Revolution. She always appreciated that the scholarship had provided her an opportunity she wouldn't have realized otherwise and it was a gesture of support she wouldn't forget.

In 1923, she became a clerk for the Oklahoma State Senate, a position she held until her retirement in 1971. Known as "Miss Bill", she served nearly 50 years as journal clerk where she recorded some of the most colorful pages of Oklahoma history — trying and finding two governors guilty of impeachment charges, the election of two Republican governors and back to the Democratic fold — but despite the changes, she remained a staple through 15 governors.

Following her death in 1980, a gift from her estate established the Willie Elizabeth Shipley Scholarship at the Oklahoma City Community Foundation. The fund supports awards through the Oklahoma Youth With Promise program for students who graduate from high school while in Oklahoma's foster care system.

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