Shirley Gillette, who worked for more than two decades at New York’s WNET, died July 26 at her home atop Schooley’s Mountain in New Jersey, after an illness.
“In her own strong and forthright way,” said a tribute Tuesday (Aug. 16) on the local Long Valley Patch website, Gillette “blazed a trail for women by earning her master’s degree at a time when only a small circle of women attended institutions of higher learning, and worked as one of the early pioneers in public television.”
She spent 23 years as director of educational programming at the station.
She was born in Pontiac, Ill., to Ralph and Lavica Bradshaw. She earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Illinois in 1956, where she was a member of Phi Delta Psi and Alpha Omega Pi. She spent 10 years as a high school speech and drama teacher in Manhasset, N.Y.
Gillette was a former campaign coordinator for the New York State Young Republicans, was on the campaign staff for Richard Nixon’s presidential bid in 1960, and in 1965 was the New York State co-chair on the Republican Senatorial Campaign. Also that year she earned her master’s degree at New York University.
She was preceded in death by her husband, George Gillette. Survivors include her daughter, Michele Mellon, of Florida; son, Terry Gillette; granddaughters, Erin Carey, Georgia and Paige Gillette, all of Florida; niece, Catherine Fetzner of Michigan; and nephews, Brad and William Ulfig of Illinois.
A memorial service is planned for 1 p.m. Aug. 21 at Schooley’s Mountain Lodge, with a celebration of her life to follow. For more information contact Scala Memorial Home, 124 High St., Hackettstown, N.J.; (908) 852-2420.