Car Racing 03

Nedra McGilvray Ware

April 10, 1933 ~ May 12, 2020 (age 87)


Nedra McGilvray Ware, 87, was born on April 10, 1933, in Marshall, Texas. She died May 12, 2020, in Marshall. She was the only child of Nona Woodley McGilvray and Joseph Neal McGilvray. Her father was one of the founders of Central Baptist Church and former City Secretary and Tax Collector in Marshall. When Nedra was about 14 years old, Joe accepted a sales position at a newly acquired Ford dealership in Chattanooga, Tennessee, so the family moved to Chattanooga.  Nedra graduated from Chattanooga High School and eventually married William Pearson. They moved to Nashville, TN, to be near his family. Nedra soon became pregnant with her only child, Laura. The marriage ended early on and Nedra and Laura moved back to Chattanooga to live with her parents, where she worked in The Texan Restaurant that her father had recently opened. In the middle 1950’s, she married James Ware, son of Lena and John Blocker Ware of Marshall, whom she had known growing up in Marshall. James was a travelling salesman and Nedra not only accompanied him as his assistant, she did all the driving! She had always loved “fast cars” and they began racing sports cars as a hobby. Nedra was fearless and very competitive. As a member of SCCA (Sports Car Club of America), she was one of the few women in the sport in the late 1950’s and early 60’s, and competed regularly against men, as well as competing in the few “powder puff” races. Her nicknames were Yellow Toes (she painted her toenails to match her yellow Porsche) and Fangio (named after World Champion Race Car Driver Juan Manuel Fangio from Argentina). She and James lived in Atlanta, Georgia, and later in West Palm Beach, Florida, where they eventually divorced in 1971. Nedra worked a few years as a parts manager for Taylor Rolls Royce in West Palm Beach, and later as the parts manager for German Motors, the local BMW/Volvo dealership.  Nedra loved beautiful, unusual clothing and cooking and became an excellent cook, eventually publishing her own cookbook, Scraps from the Emperor’s Table. She also owned her own pub in West Palm Beach for a few years and a clothing boutique named Napoleon’s Closet. Just a hint – she also loved items related to Napoleon Bonaparte and collected them for many years. In the middle 1970’s, Nedra moved across the country to Los Angeles and went to work for American International Racing in Burbank, CA, selling after-market sports car accessories such as custom wheels and fiberglass body parts. She was a great salesperson – outgoing personality and a genuine interest in her customers and their wants and needs. In the 1990’s, she joined a mobile home dealership sales team just outside of Los Angeles in Canyon Country, CA, and soon became the sales manager.  She was side-lined by a major stroke in 2005 and became disabled and was forced to retire. After several months of rehab, she returned to the home that she shared with her daughter, Laura, and her son-in-law, Bill Shurtleff, in the suburbs of Los Angeles, and they became her full-time caregivers. In the Spring of 2012, Laura took early retirement from CBS Television, and she and Bill purchased Cedar Grove Plantation outside of Marshall from Laura’s family, and Laura and Bill and Nedra moved to Marshall.  Due to failing health conditions, Nedra moved to Heritage House Nursing Facility in early 2017 for long term care until her recent death. Nedra was preceded in death by her parents, former husband James Ware, son-in-law William Shurtleff, and treasured friends, Jean Lauder, Smokey Drolet Sizemore, Kenny Miller, and William Burlingham III. She is survived by her daughter, Laura Ware Shurtleff, of Marshall, Jim and Linda Ware and family of Elysian Fields, Elinore Scott and family of Tyler/El Paso/The Woodlands, Emma Woodfin of Marshall, and Connie Ware Wilson of Palm Beach Shores, Florida. She also leaves behind special family/friends Laura NG (daughter #2) of Los Angeles; Lori Shapiro (daughter #2 ½) of El Paso/Marshall; Cirena Jamison and family of Marshall; Perry and Sheril Dillard and family of Marshall; Ed and Rhonda Perkins of Marshall; Gayle Landes of Malibu, CA; Willem Oosthoek of Weddington, NC, and many other wonderful friends. The family would like to thank the staff of Heritage House of Marshall, Heart to Heart Hospice, Dr. Martin Smietanka of Los Angeles, Dr. Shaun Kelehan, Dr. Kimberly Barbolla, Dr. Billy Westbrook, Assist Care of Longview, Thompson Home Health of Marshall, and Marsha Coleman, for the incredible loving care they gave her, and the Pairs and Spares Sunday  School Class of FUMC Marshall for their prayers and support. Graveside Service will be held for Nedra on Tuesday, May 19, 2020 at 4:00pm at Blocker Cemetery with Rev. Harold Coburn officiating.  Due to the current public health crisis, social distancing and face masks are requested. If desired, donations may be made to Friends of Marshall Animals, the Marshall Animal Shelter, Harrison County Pet Place, or Wiley College of Marshall. Online condolences may be offered at

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Graveside Service
May 19, 2020

4:00 PM
Blocker Cemetery
Hwy 2625
Marshall, TX 75672

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