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Shirley June (Burch) Quate

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Shirley June (Burch) Quate Obituary
Shirley June (Burch) Quate

PORT SAINT LUCIE, FL - The life of Shirley June Quate (neé Burch), 86, who died peacefully on January 28, 2016 at her home in Port Saint Lucie, Florida, is a story of determination, hard work, intelligence and resourcefulness…with a lively sense of humor.

Born a child of the Great Depression, Shirley's ambition and abilities always exceeded her circumstances. From her start in tiny, rural Hope, Indiana, she became a world traveler. Forging her own future, despite discouragement from a father who firmly declared that "education for girls is a waste of time and money," Shirley put herself through school with honors. The first person in her large family to earn a university degree, she continued her distinguished academic career with master's and doctorate degrees from Purdue University.

Shirley's family moved to Muncie, Indiana, when she was in second grade, and on the first day at her new school, she formed a friendship with her neighbor Nola that lasted for eighty years. At Muncie Central High School, she was active in journalism and also wrote a column for the local newspaper. Always coming up with new ideas and putting them into action, Shirley and her friends wrote and staged dramatic and musical productions and founded the school's first cheer block and cheerleading team.

The love of Shirley's life was her husband, Wayne, and their marriage of over sixty-one years ended only when Wayne's death in 2011 parted them for a time. Their journey together was always a team effort, and their devotion and support for each other were the bedrock of the successful family, careers and life they built.

While teaching writing and literature as a professor at the Indianapolis campus of Purdue University, she was also tasked with founding the student newspaper. After that location merged with Indiana University, she founded and served as staff advisor for the IUPUI newspaper, the Sagamore, and held offices in the National Council of College Press Advisors. After thirty years of service, Professor Quate retired as professor emeritus of journalism and was honored as a pioneer and hailed as an exceptional researcher and educator.

Everyone who knew Shirley admired her strength of character and willingness to overcome any hardship with determination and a "mind over matter" attitude.

She is survived by daughters Amy, Julie and Sue; grandsons Jeffrey and Cole; siblings Lois, Harold, Linda and Robert; and numerous nieces and nephews.

A celebration of her life will be held at a later date. An online guest book may be signed at

Anyone wishing to make a donation in her honor is encouraged to consider the American Association of University Women, Guiding Eyes for the Blind, or a local, non-profit hospice organization.

Published in The Star Press on Feb. 7, 2016
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