Shirley Dean Love, broadcast pioneer, state legislator and beloved husband and father, passed away July 17, 2020, at Bowers Hospice House, at age 87.
Born May 15, 1933, he was the son of the late Earl Clinton and Winona May Hall Love.
His unusual Christian name was the suggestion of a family nurse, the wife of newspaper columnist Shirley Donnelly, since she felt the newborn child resembled one of her own.
Love was gifted with an outstanding singing voice, and it was a little known hymn he sang one Sunday in the Oak Hill United Methodist Church that caught the attention of the owner of WOAY Radio Station, who invited him to audition for a job as an announcer. Love landed the position, and when WOAY obtained a television license, Love’s career began to skyrocket. From the time he was eight years old, Love was a steadfast member of the church’s choir.
His fame began to mushroom while anchoring “Saturday Night Wrestling” and before long, he had a following that propelled him into a career in state politics. For 11 years, he served in the West Virginia House of Delegates and invested 18 years in the state Senate. Early on, Love’s engaging, ever-present smile won him many lifelong friends and he quickly built a reputation in the state Legislature as a tireless worker, always willing to listen to the concerns of his constituents.
A decade ago, he was the subject of a biography, “A Man Called Shirley,” a chronicle of his colorful and productive life that made him a household name across his native West Virginia.
Preceding him in death were a son, Dr. Brian Stephen Love; sisters Earline Treadway, Loraine Minnix, and Ruth Veigh, and a brother, James Love III.
Cherishing his memory are his loving wife of 68 years, Audrey Love; a son, James “Jimmy” Love IV; a daughter, Christie Love and spouse, Judy Fitzgerald; grandchildren, James Love V and companion Mary Nell, and also Sarah Love, the mother of James’ children, Matthew Love (Allison), Robert Love (Amanda), Benjamin Love (Tiffany), Mary Beth Knight (Pete), and Michael Love and companion Lauren Satyshur; 11 grandchildren; a sister, Margaret Ann Painter; special friends Dave Perry, Joe Shelton, William Laird IV, and the Spencer Family; and caretakers, Raymond Frye and Family, and the Donnelly Family.
Visitation for friends will be Sunday, July 19, 2020, at Calvary Baptist Church, from 2:00 P.M. until 4 P.M.
Funeral service will be at 1 P.M., Monday, July 20, 2020, at Calvary Baptist Church in Oak Hill with Pastor John Savage and Dr. Ken Krimmel officiating. Burial will follow at High Lawn Memorial Park. Visitation will be two hours prior to the service at the church.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Audrey Love through Fayette Co. National Bank in honor of a memorial bench for Shirley.
Those planning to attend should heed proper Covid-19 precautions by wearing masks which is mandatory in order to enter the church and maintain social distancing of six feet.
Online condolences may be sent at
Arrangements were made by Tyree Funeral Home, Oak Hill.