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March 20, 2008 Herald and News
Two weeks after celebrating her 82nd birthday, Elizabeth Louise “Betty Lou” Dalton Byrne Shirley passed away in Malin, Ore., on March 17, 2008.
   A mass of Christian burial will be held at 10 a.m. in St. Augustine’s Catholic Church in Merrill on Monday, March 24, 2008. Interment will follow at Malin Community Cemetery.
   In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to St. Augustine’s Catholic Church, P.O. Box 388, Merrill, OR 97633.
   She is survived by her husband, Robert K. Shirley, her brother, William C. Dalton of Klamath Falls, five children and seven grandchildren.
   Betty Lou was born on March 2, 1926, in Klamath Falls to William Carson Dalton and Elizabeth Evelyn Sullivan and attended school in Malin. She went to Dominican High School and Dominican College in San Rafael, Calif., before her marriage to Robert “Bob” Anthony Byrne on Aug. 21, 1946. They met in Klamath Falls, where Bob was recovering from a tropical disease acquired while he was with the Marines in the South Pacific.
   Betty Lou and Bob had five children: Libby, who has two sons Michael and Thomas; Bob, who with his wife Cory, has three children Melissa, Gwen and Katelyn; Michael, who with his wife Beverly, has two children Matthew and Brianna; Patricia; and Dan who is married to Geri.
   While her children were young, Betty Lou was active in the community as a Sunday school teacher, Girl Scout leader and a member of the Modoc County CowBelles. She was the organist for Holy Cross Catholic Church in Tulelake for many years.
   She contributed to the activities of the family cattle ranch by preparing lunches for the branding crews, cooking for the haying crews at the Steele Swamp Ranch, and organizing numerous large events on the ranch for visiting officials and dignitaries.
   After the death of her husband in 1988, Betty Lou returned to college at California State University, Chico. She finished her bachelor’s degree in Northeastern California: Its Land and People in 1993. While studying in Chico, she met Robert K. Shirley, who was a widower and a native of Chico. They married on Jan. 9, 1993. She and Bob then divided their time between Chico and the family ranch near Malin.
   Betty Lou had a great interest and love for the Modoc area. In 1974, she was a founding member of the Modoc County Historical Society and wrote several articles for the Journal of the Modoc County Historical Society, particularly the 1983 and 1996 issues. She also served on the board of the Shaw Historical Library in Klamath Falls. She was active in the Modoc CowBelles. In 1979, she was Interstate CowBelle chairman, working with CowBelles in six Northern California counties and three Southern Oregon counties to produce beef promotion films for television. In 1982, she was named CowBelle of the Year. She later served as northern director for the California Cattle Women and served as legislation chair from 1995-98. She served as parliamentarian twice, 1993-94 and 1999-2000.
   Betty Lou was recognized for her service to church and community in 1984 when she was named alumna of the year at her high school, Dominican in San Rafael.
   In her later years, she stayed on the family ranch, where she had lived as a child. In the past year, she was cared for at Joanne’s Classic Home Ca re in Malin. The family extends their heartfelt thanks to the staff of Joanne’s for their wonderful care of Betty Lou.
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