Miss Keepers of the Crown

Shirley Nan Hargiss - Miss Kansas 1949

ShirleyNanHargiss1949aShirley Nan (Hargiss) Oberheide, 90, of Carmel, Indiana passed away on February 21, 2017. Shirley was born in 1926 in Emporia, Kansas, and grew up in Lawrence and Topeka. Shirley attended University of Kansas (KU) and Northwestern University, attaining a master degree in music education. She became Miss Kansas in 1949, and was one of 10 finalists in the Miss America pageant. Following her reign as Miss Kansas, she had a two-year career as a nightclub singer in New York City. She was a regular performer for The Jack Eigen Show, a radio talk show broadcast with live interviews of celebrity guests.

In 1952, she came back to the Midwest to marry George W. Oberheide of Cape Girardeau, Missouri, a Northwestern classmate. While raising four children, Shirley was a TV Singer/Hostess for the Snooky Lanson Show in Shreveport, Louisiana, and taught music / special ed. in Arizona, Missouri, and California. In retirement Shirley loved traveling and competed in cat shows for over 25 years. She was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma, Mu Phi Epsilon, Pi Kappa Lambda, and MENSA.

She was the daughter of H.W. “Bill” and Vera A. (Strickler) Hargiss. Her father was a coach at Emporia State University and KU, and a charter member of the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame. Her sister, Dr. Genevieve Hargiss, was a Professor Emeritus at KU and a member of the Kansas Teachers Hall of Fame.

She is preceded in death by her husband; her sister; and brothers, Woodson S. and W. Clarke. She is survived by her children, Ken Oberheide, of Arizona; Clarke Oberheide, of Michigan; Marc Oberheide, of Indiana; Heide Geary, of New Jersey; six grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

A previous message from Shirley....

I'm from a pioneer KS family: Dad is a charter member of the KS Sports Hall of Fame.  My sister Dr. Genevieve Hargiss, Professor Emeritus at KU, is a member of the KS Teachers Hall of Fame.

After the Pageant I played and sang in supper clubs for a couple years in  NYC.  I got married and raised 4 children--all grown and doing well.  Daughter Heide is profiled in The Illustrator in America Almanac.  Husband died early and, since I had already graduated from Northwestern University in Music, I went back to school and got an MME from University of Missouri and taught school music.

In 1965 I judged the Miss KS Pageant that sent Debbie Bryant to Atlantic City. (See the photo of Shirley in the white tuxedo!) I helped with her talent and got Dr. Goff, head of KU Theater Department, to coach her on pantomime.  As you know, she became Miss America.

After that I was asked to judge a lot of state pageants.  Miss Slaughter, former Director, had me go back to Atlantic City quite a lot.

I  moved to San Diego and got  Special Education and Resource Specialist credentials from San Diego State University and  taught at San Diego High School for 8 yrs.  In 1988 I played one of the grand pianos in the Superbowl half-time show in San Diego put on by Radio City Music Hall.

Organizations I belonged to were Kappa Kappa Gamma,  Mu Phi Epsilon, Pi Kappa Lambda, MENSA and The  Kansas City Music Club.

For the last 20 years I've shown cats in CFA and have a lot of Grand Champions and Regional Winners

Shirley Hargiss Oberheide

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