Shirley Courville Hunter , devoted mother, wife, sister and daughter departed this life on March 2, 2013. She was born October 8, 1935 to John and Avia Courville in Opelousas, Louisiana. Shirley was the only daughter of five children. Shirley spent her childhood years in Galveston, Texas. She was a member of Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church and graduated from Central High School. Following high school, she attended Texas Southern University where she met her future husband of 55 years, Dr. Oliver C. Hunter, Jr. Shirley pledged Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. while attending Texas Southern and earned a Bachelor of Science in Clothing and Textiles as well as a Teaching Certificate. Following marriage and graduation, she began her career as an educator in the North Forest Independent School District and later the Houston Independent School District where she helped initiate Operation Head Start. Her most cherished career began in 1961 with the birth of her first child, Oliver III. The family grew further with the birth of twins, Stephen and Stephanie, and finally Sherri. Her love for children and their early development inspired her to own and operate Mother Goose Nursery School. While fulfilling her desire to study law, she carefully balanced her life as a wife, mother, entrepreneur, and student. In 1976, she earned her Doctorate of Jurisprudence from Thurgood Marshall School of Law. She entered private practice concentrating in family law. In 1981, she was appointed as a Judge to the City of Houston Municipal Courts where she served for eleven years. Later she held the position of Associate Judge in the 313th Juvenile District Court until her retirement in 1994. Her constant love for children and their education led her to return to the classroom in 2003. During the next seven years, she earned many awards including Teacher of the Year. She was a member of the National Bar Association, Order of the Eastern Star, Founding Member of TK Socialites and numerous other professional, civic and social organizations. She is survived by sons, Dr. Oliver C. Hunter III (Dori), Stephen Hunter (JoAnne); daughters, Stephanie Hunter and Sherri McElwee (Derrick, Sr.); grandchildren Jamison, Jaxson and Rachel Hunter, Derrick II, Darien, and Sean McElwee; brothers Floyd Courville (Kathy) and Larry Courville (Edna); brother in law, sisters in law, nieces, nephews, and extended family. She was preceded in death by her parents, husband, Dr. Oliver C. Hunter, Jr.; Brothers, Kermit Courville and Michael Courville, and grandson, Devin McElwee. Visitation will be Saturday March 9, 2013 from 11:00-12:00 Noon with funeral services beginning at 12:00 Noon. Both services will be held at Trinity United Methodist Church, 2600 Holman, Houston, TX. Reverend Robert McGee, Officiating. Interment Houston Memorial Gardens (Pearland, TX).
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Published in Houston Chronicle on Mar. 8, 2013