Shirley was born in Goldsboro, North Carolina and raised in Four Oaks, North Carolina. She moved to Scotland Neck in 1999 when she married the late Murray Simmons of Scotland Neck. Shirley married John Hopkins of Hobgood in 2005.
She began working at Letchworth Funeral Home in 2000 and continued as the executive assistant with Letchworth-Sykes Funeral Service in 2016.
Shirley is a very active member of Hobgood Baptist Church and the proud mother of two sons.