Shirley Cox Rinks, 85, of Florence, Alabama passed away peacefully on Monday, March 29, 2021 at UAB following a sudden stroke. She was born in Montgomery, Alabama to Coy and Mamie Cox. The middle child of eight children, her family called her “Bonnie.”

She grew up on a farm in Hamilton, Alabama and graduated from Hamilton High School. She attended Florence State College, where she was a cheerleader, and earned an undergraduate and master’s degree in Education.

For 34 years, Shirley taught middle school at both Appleby and Hibbett and was the cheerleader sponsor. She always said “teaching was a joy.” She enjoyed a wonderful retirement doing all the things she loved - spending time with family and friends, babysitting her great-grandchildren, furniture shopping, and even teaching a dance class or two at UNA as an adjunct instructor. One of her favorite activities was attending the senior aerobics class at Broadway Recreation Center where she cultivated wonderful friendships.

Shirley was a dedicated mother, grandmother and great-grandmother first and foremost. She treasured her family and embraced every moment with them. She especially loved her role as Memaw. Shirley had a vivacious personality, never met a stranger and made friends everywhere she went. She never forgot the students she taught and loved running into them around town. She was a member of The Joyful Sunday School Class at Highland Baptist Church.

Shirley was preceded in death by her husband of 51 years, William Edwin Rinks.

She is survived by her children, Deb Rinks, Barry Rinks (Debbie); grandchildren, Tara Rinks Payton (Porter), Layne Rinks (Katie); five great-grandchildren, William, Harper, Mack, Mary Layne and Hallie, and sisters, Opal Harper and Joyce Wheeler.

Pallbearers are Layne Rinks, Porter Payton, Anthony Ledgewood and Barry “Buck” Robertson.

Heartfelt thanks to the ER staff and First Responders at North Alabama Medical Center and the doctors and nurses in the Stroke Unit at UAB for taking such wonderful care of our beloved Memaw.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Highland Baptist Church in her memory.

A graveside service will be held on Friday, April 2 at 11 a.m. in Greenview Memorial Park. Officiating will be Dr. John Brock.

An online guest book may be signed at greenviewmemorial.com.

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