By Tatiana Ortiz

Wanda Shirley from Rosecastle at Delaney Creek in Brandon, is celebrating her 100th birthday. She has experienced quite a bit during her lifetime. What’s her secret to longevity?

“My secret to longevity is my diet and no bad habits,” said Shirley.

Shirley was born and raised in Williamston, Mich. and she lived there her entire life. She attended Eastern Michigan College. At Eastern Michigan College, Shirley earned a B.A. and M.A. of Arts in Education. She taught kindergarten through eighth grade in various parts of Michigan. Along with that, she taught at Belleville High School in Belleville, Mich. Edgemont Elementary School is where she taught most of her years as a first grade teacher and finished her career there. Shirley taught for over 30 years and retired in 1977.

“I taught as long as I could and I enjoyed it,” said Shirley.

Not only was she a teacher, but also a wife of a United States Army Veteran Forrest Shirley. They met during college, were married for 75 years and have two daughters. Unfortunately, Forrest passed away at the age of 98. He served with the Third Army under General George Smith Patton, Jr. during World War II in Europe. Forrest was a medic and survived the war.

“We wrote to each other everyday and he was a good man,” said Shirley.

During the war, Shirley belonged to a club in her small town, which consisted of other Army Wives. They would share letters and support each other by being together. Shirley mentioned that her most memorable experience was visiting Forrest in Illinois before he left to go overseas.

“Watching him walk away from me to go back to his barracks and knowing that he would be leaving the next day, is my most memorable experience,” said Shirley.

Some advice she would give this generation is to stay in school because education is important.

Her daughter Pam Ellison said, “My mother and father were always there for my sister and I. They always supported what we wanted to do.”

For more information about Rosecastle, visit

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