Cotton Industry Mourns the Passing of Wally Shropshire

George Wallace “Wally” Shropshire passed away on September 28, 2019 in El Centro, California.

Wally was born June 23, 1926 in Deerfield, Illinois to George and Mamie Shropshire. Mamie died in October 1927 so Wally and his brother Ernie were raised by their father.  He married the love of his life, Maynor, in May 1948 and then moved to Blythe, California in 1952 where they settled and raised their family.  After moving a few times while Wally was a toddler, the family settled in Las Cruces, New Mexico. His school years included a one-room school house in Organ, N.M. and high school in Las Cruces, N.M., Santa Fe, N.M. and Pecos, TX. Wally was always a hard worker so through his school years he worked a milk truck route, a paper route, a gas station, general store, as a cowboy while living on a ranch, and driver for Manhattan Project in Los Alamos. Following high school Wally joined the Navy in May 1944, serving on the USS Magoffin APA 199 in the amphibious division seeing action in Okinawa. He was discharged in 1946 and worked as a carpenter until he decided to join the merchant marine in 1947. During that time he worked on a Standard Oil tanker and then at the Standard Oil Refinery in New Orleans.  Wally was active in the cotton industry most of his life. He started working at the Dona Ana cotton gin in Las Cruces before moving to Blythe to work at Blanco Gin. He continued as cotton gin manager for Sturges Gin until it changed ownership. For a few years he worked at Zimmerman Insurance and then the position of manager opened at Ripley Ginning Corp. and Triangle Ginning Co. He retired as gin manager at Ripley in 1993 when it closed. Wally had farmed on the side while working as gin manager and when he retired from the gin, he went to work at Hull Farms in his semi-retirement. As Wally put it “he didn’t want to sit down”.  Wally was always active in the community. He was a charter member of VFW chapter in Las Cruces and continued to be active in the Blythe VFW as a life member. He is also a life member of the Blythe Jaycees. That led to participation in the fairs and he was later president of the Colorado River Country Fair board. In addition, he served on the National Date Festival Board, the Blythe Chamber of Commerce, the PVTV board, and was a ginner delegate to the National Cotton Council for 25-plus years. He served on the Riverside County Board of Directors, the Palo Verde Soil Conservation District, Progressive Farmers, the Desert Cotton Growers Association, the California Cotton Pest Control board, and the National Pink Bollworm committee. He cherished the years he worked with the 4-H and the FFA and the livestock departments at the fairs. In honor of 47 years of service, the livestock department was named the Shropshire Pavilion. Wally also joined the Blythe Masonic Lodge in 1983 and filled each of the offices including 2 terms as Worshipful Master and 17 years as Secretary.  He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife Maynor; his brother Ernie Shropshire; and his great-grandson Collin Watson.  Wally is survived by his daughter Fredna Watson (Jim); son Bo Shropshire (Aleta); grandchildren Marissa Watson (Michael Schmidt), Vincent Watson (Morgan), Jack Shropshire (Diana), Kara Shropshire; great-grandchildren Jocelyn Watson, Lauren Watson, Loralai Colin, Lucy Watson, Gavin Shropshire, Grant Shropshire, Kinley Tripp, and Ellie Zimmerman; nieces and nephews Penny Sensney, Bruce Shropshire, Jamie Carr, Claudia Walgren, Patty Lively, and D’Nece Morgan.  He will be greatly missed by all.

Services will take place at 10:00 a.m. on October 11, 2019 at Frye Chapel, 633 N. 7th Street, Blythe.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the FFA and 4-H club of your choice.


Funeral Service

Friday, October 11, 2019
10:00 AM

Frye Chapel & Mortuary of Blythe
633 N 7th St.
Blythe, California 92225