Mildred Ray Shirley Springer, of Irvine, CA passed away on Wednesday, April 08, 2009, at the age of 87. Mildred and husband Lloyd, lived in Fresno for over 37 years before moving to Irvine in 2004.
Mildred was born December 18, 1921 in Portland, Oregon. Her husband Lloyd , parents, Ethel Leone and James Ray Shirley and sister Jean Grossman preceded her in death.
Mildred is survived by sisters Francis Kass, Beatrice Taylor, Virginia Wright, Geri Stilwell, and brother James Shirley; children: son Karl Ray Springer and his wife Catherine, Granddaughter Andrea and her husband Jay Courtright, and their children Madeleine, Olivia, Eleanor; Grandson Major Nathan Springer and his wife Rachael and their children Curtis and Juliana; daughters: Carole Ray Pratt and husband Thomas, Grandchildren Jennifer, Lance Corporal James Pratt and his wife Airman Andrea Pratt, and Sarah; Shirley Ray McGinty and her husband Danny; Tammy Ray Wright and her husband Charles; Diane Ray Schoettler and her husband Kenneth, Grandchildren Lauren, Morgan, and Jason.
Mildred was born and raised in Portland, Oregon and was the eldest of 7 children. Growing up, Mildred had a love for gardens, selling corn from her home, teaching tap dance lessons, and learning to sew, crochet, knit, and cook from her mother. She became interested in music and began to play the bass. At an early age, Mildred started playing in dance bands which eventually led her to traveling the U.S. as a bassist and vocalist, with bands Hazel Fisher All Girl Band, Ada Lenard all Girl Orchestra who performed for USO shows during World War II, had a Hollywood contract with RKO Studios, and appeared regularly on KTTV television; Ina Ray Hutton, Jack Teagarten Orchestra, Franki Carl and his Girlfriends, and George Liberace. It was while she was on the road in Southern California that she met her husband Lloyd Ray Springer, who was traveling with the Eddie Miller Band. They were married Sept. 11, 1945 and shared 62 years together. Mildred and Lloyd continued their love in the music business throughout their lives and were both life time members of the Professional Musician’s Union Local 47, Hollywood, CA. They had a bursting life filled with work and their five children. While living in So. CA, Mildred and Lloyd enjoyed studio jobs and occasional movie work in live orchestras. Mildred appeared in, ‘Goodbye My Fancy’, with Joan Crawford and Robert Young and ‘My Dream is Yours’, with Doris Day, Jack Carson, Eve Arden, and the Ada Lenard Orchestra. During the 60’s, Mildred was a bassist and vocalist for George Liberace at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, in Hollywood, CA. She and her husband both played bass, side by side in the Fresno Philharmonic during the 70’s. While music filled most of Mildred’s professional life, she received her Jr. College degree in Psychology while living with her family in San Jose, CA. While in Fresno, she became a LVN and was employed by The California Armenian Home of Fresno until her retirement. Mildred was a gifted artist and enjoyed oil and acrylic painting, work in ceramics, and home decorating. Like her husband, Mildred had a great sense of humor, smile, and positive demeanor. She was very proud of her family. She will be greatly missed.
Funeral services are scheduled for Saturday, April 11, 2009 at 1:00, with a visitation on Friday, April 10, 2009, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at O’Connor Mortuary 25301 Alicia Parkway, Laguna Hills, CA 92553 949 581-4300. Interment will follow at Fairhaven Memorial Park 1702 Fairhaven Ave. Santa Ana, CA 92705 714 633-1442 Friends wishing to contact family can do so by reaching Carole Pratt c/o O’Connor Mortuary.