Cover photo for Shirley Villa's Obituary
Shirley Villa Profile Photo
1932 Shirley 2024

Shirley Villa

June 26, 1932 — February 1, 2024

Shirley Mae (Eggert) Villa, beloved wife, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, and friend, died Thursday, February 1st, 2024. The second of three children, she was born in Albuquerque on June 26, 1932, to William E. Eggert and Anna S. Eggert. She spent the early years of her life in Santa Fe, attending Loretto Academy for Girls. In 1943, the family moved to Albuquerque and Shirley enrolled in St. Mary's in the fifth grade. Her extremely shy nature made the transition from an all-girls school to a coed environment so difficult she cried every day after school for the entire first year. Eventually she found her footing and those school years set the course for the rest of her life. She met the love of her life in those hallways at St. Mary's, made lifelong friends, studied diligently, was elected Homecoming Queen, and graduated in 1950.

After high school, Shirley attended St. Joseph's College, pursuing a degree in primary education with plans of becoming a teacher. Having grown up in education, as her parents owned and operated the Santa Fe Secretarial School and the Albuquerque Business College, and seeing her mother teach multiple subjects, she was drawn to teaching. She spent one happy year in San Bernadino teaching second grade, and a lifetime employing her teacher voice to excellent effect in many circumstances, but her career was not to be in teaching.

On July 9, 1955, Shirley married Charley Villa, which was the beginning of the second half of their impossibly perfect love story. They first met in grade school at St. Mary's and simply knew each other forever. They went on their first date November 25, 1948, a date they celebrated together for 72 years. They drove across the river to St. Joseph's every day of college, and they studied together at night. They enjoyed hot dogs and root beer floats at drive-ins and lunch counters, always sharing because money was tight. He worked summers on the Santa Fe Railroad and saved money to buy her engagement ring. He was deployed to Germany with the First Infantry Army 5 days after the wedding. She joined him in Kitzingen in September, and they spent their first two married years in Germany, where he worked in accounting for the Seventh Army. One day, Charley overheard a conversation complaining that no one on staff was able to take shorthand. He asked Shirley if she would be interested, and the next day they were once again together, going to work. The secretarial skills Shirley learned and taught with her mother growing up landed her a job as a civilian employee in Special Services for the US Army. She loved that job and the people she worked with, remembering it with joy her entire life. After returning home from the Army in 1958, she again taught at the Albuquerque Business College, working with her family.

In 1960, they bought Bruno's Liquors, a small liquor store in Albuquerque, renaming it Cee Vee Liquors, and she left teaching to work with Charley in the store. In 1962, they welcomed their only child, Carla, and their happy duo became a trio. The business continued to grow, changing directions in 1971 when the store was lost to a riot. Cee Vee Concessions followed in 1972, servicing the State Fair for 22 years, and the University of New Mexico for 8 years. In every business endeavor that followed, Shirley was an equal partner and integral to its success.

When High Noon opened in 1974, Shirley wrote every training manual for the front of the house staff, hired and trained the original staff, wrote the history of the building and oversaw interior design. Her innate class and sense of style were always reflected in their business. Her insistence on high standards never wavered. His energy was formidable and drove the business forward. Her elegance was the compass that guided that energy. They were at their best when they were working together.

It is not possible to talk about her without mentioning her physical beauty. She was striking and timelessly elegant. She had movie star genes. And she was equally beautiful in her soul. Kind, intelligent, devoted to her family and her faith, selfless and honest. She was so often the person family and friends called to ask for prayers and comfort that we used to say she had a special pipeline to heaven. She was simply extraordinary in every way.

Shirley was devoted to her family, in every way and in every generation. A devoted daughter, a fierce wife, a loving sister, a fairy godmother aunt, a magical grandmother, and the very best mother. She took care of every person at one time and in some way, as only she could do. All of us are more than we could possibly have hoped to be because of her influence, her example, her love and her prayers. She will be missed, cherished, celebrated and loved forever.

She was preceded in death by her parents; by her brother, Monsignor Francis X Eggert; and her sister, Phyllis Ables and her husband, Charles. She leaves behind her very lucky daughter, Carla (Mike Bickel); equally lucky grandchildren, Charley Bickel and Edie Bickel; nieces, Melodee (Phil) Witt, Carole Sullivan, and Shirley Sandlin; and nephew, Dan Sandlin; as well as numerous other family and friends.

The family would like to thank her devoted caregiver Rita Tesfamichael for her years of friendship, love and kindness, as well as JoAnne Haynes, Crystal Amparan, Ebyn Chavez, and Trinh Trinh for the joy and light they brought to Shirley. Special thanks to Dr. Suzanne Pinon for her years of excellent care and support.

A Rosary will be recited Sunday, February 11, 2024, 6:00 p.m., at FRENCH - University. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated by Father JuanMendez on Monday, February 12, 2024, 10:00 a.m., at Immaculate Conception Church, 619 Copper Ave. NW. Burial will follow at Gate of Heaven Cemetery. A reception will be held from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at High Noon Restaurant, 425 San Felipe NW.

To send flowers to the family in memory of Shirley Villa, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Rosary

Sunday, February 11, 2024

6:00 - 7:00 pm (Mountain time)

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Mass

Monday, February 12, 2024

10:00 - 11:00 am (Mountain time)

Immaculate Conception Catholic Church

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Burial

Monday, February 12, 2024

11:30am - 12:30 pm (Mountain time)

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Reception

Monday, February 12, 2024

1:00 - 5:00 pm (Mountain time)

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