Born in Newcastle, PA, Shirley Henderson arrived in Miami in 1966 with Robert Thiele, newlyweds from Kent, Ohio. Shirley distinguished herself immediately as a vital member of that early group of teaching artists who arrived in Miami in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Her students at Miami Dade College and later The University of Miami revered her as an inspirational teacher and role model. As a committed artist, Shirley continued her development for over four decades as one of Miami’s most esteemed artists, including her participation in the then fledgling South Florida Art Center now known as the highly respected Arts Organization, Oolite Arts. Her paintings are experiences in themselves; painted edge to edge with a dense pigmentation referencing both a lyrical figuration and her own personal landscape. Nationally known as a courtroom illustrator, her large body of work was exhibited at the Miami History Museum in 2010 In a memorable tour de force of an artist at the top of her profession. Henderson retired to Savannah, Georgia where she continued to work on her paintings in her home studio.
Shirley is survived by her daughter, Kristen Thiele and her son, Kyle Thiele of Miami, FL and her sister, Sandra Frank of Savannah, GA.
A memorial service will be held at a later date.
I met Shirley, in 1981, as an Assistant United States Attorney, in the Miami, Florida, office of the U.S. Department of Justice. She covered several of the high profile, criminal trial prosecutions I had responsibility for and, on one in particular - the murder of U.S. D.E.A. Agent Ariel Rios - was kind enough to give me one of her sketches that was shown on the local and national news. It remains in my family till this day. More importantly, Shirley was a kind and decent woman who always had a smile to offer anyone she met. May she Rest In Peace. With regrets, Neil Taylor
- Neil Taylor, Coral Gables, Florida
The world has lost a talented artist and all who knew Shirley lost a special friend. May your sweet memories of Shirley help you through this difficult time.
- Bohach, Savannah , GA
Shirley was a talented, kind and generous friend. She loved and admired all types of art, and all enjoyed all artists. She shared her passion when she moved to Savannah, and gave a presentation on her body of work to local artists which was thoroughly enjoyed by all. She embraced Savannah, and relished time spent outdoors in her garden. She had the ability to listen, and loved to laugh. She will be missed by all of us.
- Cindi Vita Vogel, SAvannah, GA
Dear Kristen and Kyle: Our love and thoughts are with you in your loss. Your Mom will continue to be a lasting influence to so many students and friends by virtue of her extraordinary talent and her generous spirit . Much Love to you both, Helen & Chris
- Helen Clarke & Christianne Clarke, NYC, New York
So sorry to hear this news. I knew Shirley for many years, first from the South Florida art scene and later as colleagues at Miami Dade College. Shirley was a truly amazing person and a brilliant artist. We would sometimes go out to various cultural events, and it was always great fun spending time with her. I’m sorry that we lost touch,as I retired an relocated to Chicago. Strange, but I just thought about calling her a few days ago.
- Rob Moore , Chicago , Illinois
Dear Sandra and Fred: We are so sorry to hear of Shirley's passing. She was loaded with personality, extremely talented and full of pazzazz!!! May she rest in peace and may God grant you mercy and comfort at the loss of your loved one. Fondly, Peter and Bonnie
- Delvers, Savannah, GA
Kristen and Kyle, you have my deepest condolences. Mrs. Thiele as I knew her was an amazing inspiration to her students even though she could be hard as nails. I knew your mother as a student at Miami Dade in the 70’s and her brilliance and insight stayed with me, finally bringing me back to art. She was one in a million and her insight and care will be missed by many.
- Richard Ostroff , South Salem, New York
Sandra and Fred, I have loved Shirley for years and she was a wonderful friend to visit at her home and I was privileged to view her art . She was as beautiful as she was strong and loved being close with you, Sandra and Fred. My heart goes out to you with a big thank you for the beautiful care and precious sister you were to Shirley. Her time in Savannah with you was a blessing! May she rest in peace in the arms of Christ. Love, Susan and Phil Snyder
- Susan and Phil Snyder, Savannah, Georgia
Services under the direction of:
Fox & Weeks Funeral Directors, Hodgson Chapel
- A Celebration of Life Will Be held at a later date