Services set for elementary principal remembered for her ‘unconditional love’


Kylee Khan

Flowers adorn a display in memory of Principal Shelley Williford in the front of Crestview Elementary School Monday morning.

The community is mourning Crestview Elementary School principal Shelly Willeford, who died unexpectedly Saturday, Sept. 16.

Funeral services are scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 21 at 2:30 p.m. at Hillside Christian Church West Campus with visitation available Wednesday, Sept. 20 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Hillside Christian Church West Chapel. In lieu of flowers, friends can make donations to an Amarillo National Bank fund for the college expenses of the Willeford children. 

Her best characteristic was loving everyone unconditionally.

— Marcie Cook, teacher

Willeford, the daughter of an agriculture teacher, supported her son Hayden’s work in the Canyon High FFA before his graduation, and the organization is now returning support to her family.

“I know college expenses are going to be very difficult,” agriculture science teacher Jeff Klose said. “Hayden wants with all his heart to be an Aggie, so there’s a group of Aggies who’ve already gone together and are trying get enough people together to basically pay for his college education.”

The agriculture teachers are collecting money to buy gift cards for the family.

“Talk to any of the four ag teachers, and we will take the money,” Klose said. “Just bring those donations here, and on Friday, we’ll go purchase gift cards based on the needs of the family.”

Business education teacher Marcie Cook became friends with Willeford when they met in their kindergarten class in Wheeler, Texas. The two remained friends not only through school but throughout their lives and shared years of experiences and memories. By Tuesday morning, Cook was able to smile as she recounted a favorite memory from their high school years.

Everybody just felt like she was their best friend.

— Marcie Cook, teacher

“Shelly’s first car when she was 16 was some big boat,” Cook said. “In Wheeler, there’s a long drag about a mile long by the Baptist church with two big dips. With most cars, you’d have to slow down to take the dip or you’d bottom out. Not Shelly’s boat. We could go about 40 and sail that puppy.”

As the friends became adults, they continued their close relationship, even being in each other’s weddings. Cook said she was proud of how Willeford lived her life, raised her family and reached out to others through her career as a teacher and principal.

“Her best characteristic was loving everyone unconditionally,” Cook said. “She truly was that example. She loved people, and it showed with her friend group, even in Wheeler, and it showed in Crestview. Everybody just felt like she was their best friend.”