In Memoriam : Shirley Stallings

Shirley Stallings Shirley C. Stallings - age: 88
(October 15, 1934 to April 24, 2023 )
Resident of Biddeford, Maine

Shirley C. Stallings, 88
October 15, 1934 to April 24, 2023

Shirley was born in Biddeford, Maine, attended Thornton Academy like her father Arnold D. Calderwood, mother and older sister and graduated from Syracuse University with a BSN following her mother, Elizabeth M. Calderwood, into nursing. She met the love of her life—an Indiana boy born in the Presidio, Lt. Col. Malcolm O. Stallings, Jr. (USAF Ret.) at a dance at Syracuse. Mom would say, “The nurses would invite the military guys to dances instead of the college guys because they had money, so you could have a mixed drink instead of nursing a beer for hours.” Shirley and Mal would dance for almost 60 years, living the military life raising two kids in multiple states and Germany. Shirley worked as a nurse until her daughter was born and then volunteered on base (The CHAMPUS Program for service members with children with disabilities was a passion). She was an amazing military wife, and the strength of the family especially during Mal’s unpredictable TDYs and especially two Vietnam deployments. She was also a leader in the Officer’s Wives Club. After 26 years of military service Shirley and Mal would retire in North Little Rock, AR and start a new career in the tennis business. Starting in a city-owned tennis facility collecting court fees, giving lessons (Mal taught Shirley at 35 and Desirée at 14) and selling candy, cokes and tennis balls they would grow the Tennis Factory to include managing the park and two country club pro shops. Shirley loved going to market each year and finding the latest fashions for her customers and teammates. She was a natural at customer service and setting up (as well as playing in) tournaments and leagues. Shirley loved tennis and played into her 80s making so many friends along the way. When they truly retired they would move to Evansville, IN and renovate Mal’s mother’s house, become grandparents, and spend time in Biddeford Pool, Indiana and Florida each year. Shirley was Mal’s navigator in the RV plane he flew, making sure he knew clouds and winds were to be avoided at all cost.

Shirley and Mal loved their seasonal time at the Pool at Shirley’s family cottage on Seventh St., eventually buying a home next to BPCC. They would be tireless volunteers for FOWIL (Friends of Wood Island Light). Shirley was a docent, tower host, Treasurer, Board Member and in her later years would sign in tours and sell merchandise. Tuesday night cookouts at BPYC were always a special time with friends.

Mal passed in 2017 and after caretaking, Shirley would get and beat stage IV Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (at 82) and would be a role model and true champion of the Livestrong program at the YMCA in Evansville, IN for several years. Shirley finally came back to Maine as a resident in 2020, “Back to her roots”, she said. No longer able to play tennis due to chemo, Shirley channeled that love and passion into her 3x/wk water aerobics class and Tuesday strength & balance class at UNE making fast friends and impressing her instructor. She enjoyed library duty at the BPCC library and enjoyed many of the community events.

Shirley was a loving, devoted wife, mother, grandmother, Red Sox and Wordle/Sudoku/Crossword fanatic and friend to so many. Charming, positive, full of life and energy, with a helping spirit, motherly advice and famous for saying “It is what it is”. Her humor made people smile when asked how she was, the reply was, “I’m above ground”. Her smile, words of encouragement and hugs were special gifts.

Shirley will be so missed by her daughter, Desirée M. Stallings of Biddeford Pool, her son Malcolm O. Stallings III (Ewa Stallings) of La Jolla, CA, grandchildren Evan R. VanBibber of Evansville, IN and Coral R. Stallings Moore (Jacob) of Dunlap, TN., and her sisters Candace Kendrick, Biddeford, ME, Nancy Kovalcik, Canon City, CO, and several nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to FOWIL ( or Travis Mills Foundation ( in memory of Shirley, it would make her smile.

The family would like to thank SMHC 4th Floor doctors, nurses, CNAs, RTs and staff for the dedicated and compassionate care provided. As a nurse, Shirley enjoyed their shared humor and insight, even telling Palliative Care she would know if he was not telling the truth, he couldn’t pull one over on her. And a special hug for Dr. Mahal, her Pulmonologist and friend.

A Life Celebration will be held early July 2023, in Biddeford Pool, with details to come.

“Capt. Owl and Miss Pussycat have gone to sea, together again, in their beautiful Pea Green boat.”

Sandra Greenan - April 27, 2023Contact this person Contact this person
I met Shirley in 2022 when I joined UNE water aerobics & the strength & balance classes. A lovely & kind lady with a great attitude & great smile. Also an inspiration. She will be missed.

Frank Erath - April 28, 2023Contact this person Contact this person
Dear Desiree. The Erath and Stallings families go back a long way to the beach in front of 7th St. and three little boys a a big sister. Gail and I have so many happy memories of your Mom and Dad that come racing back to us these days. We spent many a night, for example, enjoying Shirley’s corned beef and cabbage supper, while Mail explained why his gin was better than mine, and cost less. Your Mom and I were frequent partners at the “over 80” tennis games. Her encouraging words after one of my many mistakes kept me on track. We treasure all those days and nights and send our condolences to you and your brother. Frank and Gail Erath


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