Martin Mortuary

550 North Ave, Grand Junction, CO


Shirley L. Atchley

March 11, 1944July 29, 2020

Shirley was born March 11, 1944, in Rifle, at the Ruby Thomas home with Dr. Claggett attending. Her parents were Phyllis and Harold Coulter, She helped them building fence on their high mountain ranch, and really enjoyed riding her horse around in the aspens and meadows. She was a horse enthusiast all her life. She especially liked horse backing in the Lone Cone Peak area with a school chum, and riding 18 years near Fruita with another lady friend. Shirley attended the Austin one room school on Rifle Creek, and graduated high school in Rifle in 1961. After graduating, she worked on two guest ranches, then moved to Grand Junction where she was employed at Aetna Finance for five years. She met Bill Atchley there, and they were married in 1967. Shirley and Bill lived outside the city limits where they raised hay, a few cows, and four Arabian foals. They built barns, fences, and irrigated pastures in Bill’s spare time from his job. They were able to visit New England in the autumn, ride the train in Canada, and many other jaunts; including Wall Drug, in Wall, South Dakota, the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Epcot in Florida, and Bill’s retirement trip to Hawaii. Shirley liked to read memoirs of pioneers, rural school teachers, country doctors, and homesteading. She liked to write letters, and had pen friends around the U.S., England, and Canada. She made a number of quilts and gave them away. Survivors include husband, Bill; cousins, Glory Kiel of Reno, LaWana Dickey of Wyoming, Frances Coulter, Diana Grant, Scott Coulter, and Gail Martin, all of Rifle; nephews, Randy Atchley, David Atchley, and Kevin Atchley, and their families, of Grand Junction; and other relatives and friends. Shirley attended the Canyon View Vineyard Church of Grand Junction. A Celebration of Life Service will be held on Monday, August 3, 2020 at 3pm in the Chapel at Canyon View Vineyard Church, 736 24 1/2 Road, Grand Junction, CO 81505. Donations may be made to Western Slope Center for Children at www.centerforchildrencac.org.


  • A Celebration of Life Service

    Monday, August 3, 2020


Shirley L. Atchley

have a memory or condolence to add?

Bev Madison

August 2, 2020

My friend, Shirley, was a special friend who was a neighbor for several years. When our lives took us different directions, we always wrote each other letters. It was always a good day when I would have a letter from her. She loved to share the things that made her happy. She will be missed greatly.

Bill, please know that you are in my prayers. God will give you strength through this loss.

Josie Plant

August 1, 2020

For many years I communicated with Shirley by way of letters and over the past few years we added e- mails to our messages.
We shared our news, beliefs and thoughts in this way. We shared news of our areas, places of interest and varied life styles. Shirley was a friend who I could forget was so many many miles away across the ocean. The letters and newspaper snippets she sent to me were always welcomed by myself, my late husband John and my son Mark and his family.
Shirley will always be in our memory, with fondness and with thanks for having known her.
Our thoughts and prayers are sent to Bill, who we hope will remember us from time to time.

God Bless You all.
Josie Plant, Lichfield, England.

Debbie Phelps

July 30, 2020

Our dear cousin, Shirley. Our family has lost a very loving, caring, and kind lady. So gentle yet so strong! Our Natalee and Steven will never forget our trips to see her and Bill. You made sure we all saw and appreciated the magnificent beauty of western Colorado; from the family homestead, to Ouray, dirt road day trips in the mountains with those great turkey sandwiches, and dinner at Roadhouse, we have precious and happy memories. Sharing family stories, receiving her scenic pictures, snuggling up to one of her horse quilts, and getting those jokes with every letter, we haven't really lost her. We will find comfort knowing you are back with your amazing mother and talented father. See you again! Love, cousin Debbie

Shirley Tinker

July 30, 2020

Shirley and I began corresponding in 1966 and were pen pals for 5 years or so. We reconnected in 2012 until the present time. We shared our "horse stories" among a lot of other topics. The miles between Colorado and Pennsylvania seemed a little less far away for us country girls. I will miss those letters greatly. Our condolences to Bill and the family.

God Bless,

Jeff and Shirley Tinker

Barry and Tina Madison

July 30, 2020

We have many special memories of Shirley. We were next door neighbors for all of our high school years on I1/4 Road. We have always appreciated her continued friendship with Barry’s mom Bev. So enjoyed her letters and shared photos over the years (really going to miss those). We adore Bill and Shirley! So sorry for your loss Bill....

All our love and prayers,
Barry and Tina


Learn more about the Atchley name