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Hails from: Lookout Mountain, Tenn.
In Memphis since: 1970, when she married native Memphian DeWitt Shy.
Sounds like: she was born and raised in Memphis. “People in Chattanooga kid me about my southern accent. They say it’s so much more southern—so much more Delta.”
Higher learning: She studied art history and fashion design at Finch College in New York City, and she was recently certified by the Protocol School of Washington in international protocol and business dining etiquette.
Family: She and her late husband, DeWitt, have two grown children and she has two grown stepchildren. “I have 10 grandchildren from age 20 to age 3. Which is fun.”
Work: In 1998 she started a small business that became Sally Shy Event Design. “People loved the parties I gave and somebody said, ‘You should do that.’ So I did. I never did any advertising.”
Healthcare heart: Healthcare was part of her life growing up—her grandfather and one of her uncles were both physicians. Her husband was a good friend with Dr. George Coors, a surgeon with Methodist Healthcare ties. “Methodist was always part of the conversation for us.”
Methodist on the mind: When friend and former Shelby County Mayor Jim Rout encouraged her to sponsor the Methodist Foundation’s Cancer Luncheon, she agreed. After hearing Queen Noor of Jordan speak, she says, “from then on I was totally involved.” Over the last decade, she’s been a fan of all the speakers and has remained friends with several.
“James Carville and Mary Matalin were thoroughly entertaining. Laura Bush was one of my favorites. Diane Keaton was incredible and remains a good friend. But Rob Low may have been the best. He has so many family ties to cancer. He was able to speak from the heart.”
In the community: She served as chairman of the Memphis in May Festival board in 1998, served on the Dixon Gallery Gardens board and as chair of the Junior League of Memphis Sustainer Council. She helped start Hope House and served on its board, as well. “I love to get involved in things where I can get something done or help in some way.”
In her spare time: She’s authored a children’s book, she still plans the occasional party and she teaches etiquette to children and international protocol to corporate interns.
On the board: She’s served on the Methodist Healthcare Foundation board of directors for about six years. “Methodist is the long arm of caring and love and hope for the future of our community. Methodist has touched all lives in our community.”
Making a list: She shares her reasons why everybody should support Methodist without hesitation, including the Transplant Institute—where her daughter’s mother-in-law received a liver transplant—and the Hospice Residence. “Hospice has done so much important work in caring and comforting many close friends of mine and their families.”
Making a difference: She’s also keen on the Dennis H. Jones Living Well Network. “Debbie Jones is so important and is such an important person in our community. I am so proud of Methodist for realizing the importance of mental health in our day and time. We used to hide from it. We used to hide from cancer, too. A grandmother used to not mention a lump in her breast. Not today. And Methodist is part of that, even more now that we’ve partnered with The West Clinic and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. Research in this area is so vital and, fortunately, Methodist realizes that.”