Zella Mae (Wilkison) Shugart
June 30, 1926 – May 8, 2020
Zella Mae Wilkison (Cunningham) Shugart was the oldest of three children. She was born on June 30, 1926 in Menard, Texas to Hallie and Herbert Wilkison. Her siblings were Gordon Wilkison (Scottie) and Margaret Ann Wilkison Stewart (Doug). Zella passed away at Medical Center Hospital Nacogdoches, on May 8, 2020. She had resided in Nacogdoches, at Magnolia Court, for the past 15 months.
Zella graduated from Lake View High School in San Angelo, Texas in 1943 at the age of 16. Shortly thereafter she married George Weldon Cunningham. Following his European tour of duty during WWII they welcomed three sons, Bruce Lyndon Cunningham of Nacogdoches, Weldon Edwin Cunningham (Jackie) of Athens and Earl Ross Cunningham (Faye) of Bay City, Texas. George Weldon passed away in the summer of 1951. Zella married Herman Edward Shugart in the spring of 1954. During the family’s first stay in Germany while Herman was deployed with the US Army, Zella and the children traveled extensively around Europe. Upon returning to the US, she completed her degree in Education at the University of Texas in Austin in 1958. The family returned to Germany for a second tour and during this time Zella taught school at the American School in Nurnberg. Their son, David Patrick Shugart (Edie) of Albuquerque, New Mexico was born while the family was living in Germany. Zella and Command Sargent Major Shugart returned to the states and moved to Killeen, Texas in 1961. They were married until his death in 2002.
Zella continued to teach first grade in the Killeen schools immensely enjoying her time at the Avenue D school and Pershing Park Elementary until her retirement in 1986.
In addition to teaching Zella was an accomplished oil painter. Her still life and landscape paintings graced the walls of many homes in the Killeen area and elsewhere. A skilled seamstress she enjoyed upholstering furniture as well.
Zella’s love for the Episcopal Church was evident during her more than 40 years as a member of the congregation at Fort Hood. Recognized during an appreciation ceremony in 2014 the chaplains across Fort Hood came together to show their gratitude for her faithfulness. Not only did she serve as a volunteer on the altar guild, she greeted the newcomers, and assisted those in need for nearly a half century. Chaplain (Colonel) Bill Phillips stated, “It is an honor to recognize Ms. Zella for all that she has done over the years. In our world of the Army, we as chaplains stay at a duty station two years at most, so it is great to have someone like Mrs. Shugart provide the continuity to the services.”
Mrs. Shugart is survived by her sister, her four sons and their wives. She is also survived by six grandchildren: Carrie Martin (Dwain) of Denton and Christopher of Austin and their mother Patty of Arlington. Also, Leigh Ann Sneeringer (Chris) of Roanoke and Lauren Cunningham (Colby Simpson) of Austin. Also, Samuel of Bay City and Andrew of Taylor and their mother Mary. Also surviving are 12 great-grandchildren and several nieces and nephews. And former daughter-in-law, Jenny Cunningham (Bruce) of Slocum.
Mrs. Shugart was preceded in death by her parents, brother and sister-in-law, husbands, a grandchild, Rebecca, and a niece.
In lieu of flowers to honor her memory, contributions can be made to the ASPCA or the charity of your choice She had an overwhelming love of animals, especially the many cats she shared her home with over the years.
A memorial service will be held at a later date. Burial will be at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio.
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Zella Mae (Wilkison) Shugart
Melinda (Dawson) Gilbert
May 19, 2020
My deepest sympathies to you all. I have fond memories of Zella from St. Christopher's. She and Herman are woven into special memories growing up Episcopalian at St. Christopher's. She was always kind and had a smile that shone through her eyes. She wore great hats in the 60s and as a kid, I always thought she dressed so cool! As you go through the days and months ahead, know that there is someone out there fondly remembering your mother and praying for you all to find peace and comfort during this difficult time.
Melinda "Mike" Dawson Gilbert
May 13, 2020
Zella was a wonderful friend. We had many good times and many laughs as we served on the Altar Guild at Fort Hood. She will be remembered with HAPPY thoughts.
May 12, 2020
What a mother. You were blessed to have her all these years. She was a wonder. Never lost, just relocated. We'll see her again soon. Blessings to you.
May 12, 2020
Zella brought so much to my life--her love, faith, wisdom, laughter, and a beautiful, talented family. I embrace her many quips like "Eat dessert first" and "Let's crack a jug." She became like a mother and a one-of-a-kind friend who will remain with me always. I send my love, thoughts and prayers to all her family 🌹