Charlene Tuttle Shoulders was born on May 21, 1936, in Poteet, Texas the second of three daughters born to Charles Robert Tuttle and his wife Louise Clements Tuttle. She passed peacefully away in the early evening of March 21, 2019, almost a year after being diagnosed with advanced lung cancer.
Charlene was a bit of a tomboy and played softball in school as well as played the baritone in the band. After graduating from high school in Poteet, Charlene attended North Texas State College (now the University of North Texas) where she graduated first in her class with a Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Technology. Also, while attending college, she met Ben Shoulders and shortly before she graduated, they married on January 18, 1958.
While Ben was still finishing his PhD prior to starting his long career at the University of Texas in Austin, the young couple moved to Elgin in 1960, and started their family with the birth of their first child, Dennis Ray, on December 01, 1960. Their second child Karen followed on February 21, 1964, with the third child Dwight born on April 16, 1967, and Kelly, the youngest, born on January 15, 1971.
In Elgin, Charlene was in charge of the lab at the Fleming/Elgin Hospital before it shut down, and then moved to running the lab at the Elgin Veterinary Clinic. She later went to work for Brushy Creek Custom Sires and branched out into the field of genetics. She enjoyed this so much that she eventually bought her own land and started selectively breeding Simmental cattle for over 25 years, then retiring in 2006 to run her ranch full time. She loved walking her land with her dog Echo at her side, and she was able to do what she loved all the way up until about 2 weeks before she passed.
In addition to finding her real niche as a rancher, Charlene donated much of her personal time towards volunteer opportunities that helped strengthen her community and the children that lived there. She was a member of the Elgin School Board from 1972-1987, and was the Board secretary from 1976-1982. She advocated strongly for girls to make sure they got funding for their sports as well as to make the curriculum more challenging for all students to get the best education they could. She was also actively involved in the Elgin Little League Association for most of her years in Elgin, and coached numerous girls from 1977 to 1993, that still remember today what an impact she made on their lives.
When she wasn’t working or volunteering, you could be sure that Charlene was watching or listening to some form of sport; football, basketball, baseball, she loved them all. Her particular favorite to watch above all else was the Spurs. She rarely spent any money on herself, but her one exception was to splurge every once in a while, and see one of their games in person.
Most everyone that had their lives transformed by Charlene could tell you that she was a force of nature. Honest, unfiltered, feisty, with strong views on many subjects, she would tell you like it is. She was frequently hard-headed, but never hardhearted. She was paying it forward before that was even a thing, with no thought of benefiting herself.
She will be deeply missed by those that have survived her including her husband of 61 years Dr. Ben Shoulders, her sister Alice Williams and husband Jack, her son Dennis Ray, her daughter Karen Laurenzi and husband Tony, her son Dwight and wife Dana, her daughter Kelly Koenning and husband Newy, her niece Tracey Nafziger and husband Ed, her nephew Vince Yokom and wife Robin, her niece Allison McMillan and husband George, her 4 grandchildren Ciera, Kendra, Cody and Will, her one great-grandchild Avory, several great nieces and nephews, and lastly, her beloved dog Echo. She was preceded in death by her parents Charles and Louise Tuttle, her sister Natalie Lane and husband Robert, and her granddaughter Bailey Louise Koenning.
Visitation will be Monday, March 25th, 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm at Providence-Jones Funeral Home, with family in attendance from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. The funeral service will be Tuesday, March 26th at 10:00 am and interment will follow at Pleasant Grove Cemetery. Afterward, fellowship will be hosted by the Ladies Auxiliary group at the Elgin Methodist Church. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to those groups that Charlene herself supported, including Cattlemen for Cancer Research, Divine Canines, and supplying books for all three Elgin Elementary schools, particularly those for accelerated readers.