Shirley McCorkle was presented with the Outstanding Member Award by the Azalea District of the Garden Club of Georgia (2020). This is no surprise to those of us who know Shirley and her dedication to the Watkinsville Garden Club (WGC) and to her community. “I love garden clubs…They are such fun. I have learned so much.” This quote is from Shirley in the WGC Yearbook.
For over 30 years, she has been a member of a garden club, starting in Hartwell, Georgia, in 1991. She was president there for one term before moving to Bishop, Georgia, in 2004 and joining the Watkinsville Garden Club. She was president of the WGC in 2007-2008.
Shirley works steadily and tirelessly in her many capacities of the Watkinsville Garden Club. This fiscal year she holds the office of Assistant Secretary and is the co-chair of the Constitution & Bylaws Standing Committee, the chair of the Garden Therapy Committee, and chair of the Smokey Bear/Woodsy Owl Project.
As the chair of the Garden Therapy Committee, she orchestrates the gathering of underwear in the Fig Leaf project to be given to people who are in need of some help through a local charitable organization. In 2019 the club donated 275 items of underwear. She manages the distribution of the member-made Christmas stockings (135 the same year) to a nursing home and an assisted-living home in the county. She coordinates the flowers and vases that the Garden Therapy Committee brings to a local nursing home twice a year for residents to arrange.
She worked with all the primary schools in the county to encourage teachers to get their students in grades 1 through 5 to submit posters for the Smokey Bear/Woodsy Owl Poster Contest and then organized the garden club committee to do the first evaluation of posters to submit to the Azalea District.
At the Azalea District level: Currently, Shirley is on the Board and is the chair of the Civic Improvement Award Committee and also sits on Civic Improvement Committee. She is chair of the Arboreta, Botanical, and Memorial Gardens. She has also been the chair of the Smokey Bear/Woodsy Owl committee and has been a co-director of the Azalea district.
At the State level: Shirley is on the Board and is on the Committee for Membership Development (Azalea District). She is also chair of Horticultural Indoor Gardening and has been the chair of the Organic Gardening Committee.
She is a Life Member of the Garden Club of Georgia, the Deep South Garden Clubs, Inc., and the National Garden Clubs, Inc.
Shirley lives with her long-time husband, Earl, in Bishop. They have a daughter and a son, three grandsons, one granddaughter, one great grandson, and one great granddaughter. She is a member of Watkinsville First United Methodist Church and the Betty Berry Sunshine Circle of United Methodist Women. She is also a member of the John Benson DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) which meets in Hartwell.