In the summer of 1970, young Gator Band members Shirley Abdullah and Ronald Drury were asked to coordinate and plan the blast-off party for the upcoming Gator Marching Band season. Shirley and Ron had a lot in common. They both hailed from Jacksonville, Florida, were newly elected presidents of their respective band fraternity and sorority, and had both been in Gator Band for two years. They had also never met each other before.
Ron was studying electrical engineering; Shirley was a music education major. Gator Band brought these two young students together. “We commented about how interesting it was that we had both grown up in Jacksonville and were members of the 300-member Gator Band for two years but had never met before this,” Shirley says.
Together with other band members, they created a musical revue entitled March-a-lot!, spoofing the currently popular movie, Camelot. The blast-off party was a success and the two began to date. Just seven weeks later, they realized they had fallen in love and began to plan their future together.
“Ron spent so many hours at the Music Building studying for his engineering classes while waiting for me to finish practicing for mine,” Shirley reminisces. “Many people thought he was a music major also. His slide rule versus my clarinet.”
Shirley and Ron married after graduation in 1972, had three children and six grandchildren, and currently live in Alexandria, Alabama. With shared interests in faith, family, friends and music, the couple still celebrates life together more than 42 years later.
“In the midst of all that God has brought us through, it's still great to be in love with my favorite Florida Gator!”