Helen Shirley and family
This Fund honors the lives and memories of James R. and Helen W. Shirley.
James joined the NIU history department in 1962 and taught various history classes, including his main interest, modern Chinese history. He was a fan of folk music and would occasionally include guitar playing and the singing of labor and special protest songs in his lectures. James was also the advisor for Phi Alpha Theta, the International History Honor Society. He published several journal articles and wrote Chinese history articles for the Encyclopedia Americana. In addition, James served in the U.S. Army during World War II. James taught at NIU for more than 30 years,
Helen received a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in Journalism from Northern Illinois University. She was a life-long scholar and traveled extensively in Europe. She was passionate about art, languages, history and social justice. James and Helen taught for two years in Xian, China.
James and Helen will be treasured in the memories of those who knew and loved them.