People of Etowah: Shirley du Pont


Name: Shirley du Pont

Where were you born and raised?

“I grew up in Etowah County.” 

What is your occupation?

“I am working at being retired. I spent 30 years with the telephone company. I retired and worked another eight years as a contract employee.”

What made you decide to work in your field?

“When I went to work my motivation was to make enough money to go to college. I started college with an intent to be in medicine. Money became a factor and I decided to make my own way. As it turns out, the telephone company paid for most of my college education. I guess I would not be quite honest if I didn’t say, as is with all young people, money was a big motivator also. I was so excited to be a part of a company that was one of the top five in the world.  I knew if I worked hard I could advance and have a job as long as I wanted to work. There was job security and opportunity for advancement. I wanted a career, not just a job.”

Tell us about your family and pets.

“My immediate family is a Siamese cat named Chloe and a “front porch” cat called J.C. (just cat). Just the three of us and the occasional lady cat who wants to get to know JC better.” 

Describe an average day in your life.

“Several  months out of the year I am involved in a wonderful program for senior citizens called OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute). OLLI is a social and educational program for people who just want to keep  learning in a fun environment. The day begins with getting to school early enough to make sure classrooms are ready and ends with getting ready for the next day. If school is out I work around the house, try to catch up on reading, there is always a project.” 

What school or schools have you attended?

“I attended Snead State and the University of Alabama.”

What do you like to do in your free time?

“Days when I’m not at school I spend working with my flowers, riding on the river, entertaining the cats and friends and of course from late August until January watching Alabama football. I start with game day and watch until the last game is on the next morning. I am President of the El Senor senior citizens club and am involved with the Theatre of Gadsden.” 

What would you say is your greatest accomplishment?

“I hope I haven’t accomplished it, yet there is so much more I hope to do in and with my life. I am proud of my education, a long career with a major corporation, performing with community theater and finally, recognizing that I cannot do it all. That was an accomplishment.”

Name the one person that has been the most influential in your life. Why?

“I cannot name one person. There have been several mentors and to name one would be to lessen the value of the others. Each of them encouraged me, set standards, held me responsible, practiced what they preached and set me free to learn on my own.”

To what do you credit your success?

“If I have had any success it is through His grace, a commitment to ‘see it through’ and belief in what I’m doing.” 

Are you involved in any service organizations?

“I am the District  Safe Driving Coordinator for AARP.”

What is your favorite thing about this community?

“Our community leaders have a commitment to a better community for everyone.” 

What would you like to see change in the community?

“We need to support our educational community more.”

What are three words that describe you?

“Loyal, dedicated and humorous.”

What is something surprising that many do not know about you?

“Most people do not know how shy I really am.”   

What is your favorite quote?

“I will sing unto the Lord for he has dealt bountifully with me.”

What is on your bucket list?

“My bucket list includes a visit to Antarctica.”

What is your hidden talent?

“My hidden talent may be acting.  Not sure.”

If a movie were made about your life, who would you want to play you?

“Naturally the most beautiful woman in Hollywood, but a better choice would probably be Katherine Hepburn. She had talent, confidence, courage to live her life her way and she knew a great love.”

What advice would you give yourself as a child?

“Trust more, some things cannot be changed, and, of course, ‘this to shall pass,’ even if it’s not as fast as you would like.”

To nominate someone for the People of Etowah column, e-mail or call 256-547-1049.

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