Gerrie Fletcher: Making a Difference in Honor of Dale and Daisy Shull
Gerrie Fletcher (right) with her mother-in-law, Daisy Shull, namesake of a new Rolla Rising Scholarship
Dale Shull, Phys’74, MS CSci’99, had two things on his bucket list: provide a scholarship and go into space. He didn’t have the chance to do either in his lifetime, but now his widow, Gerrie Fletcher, is fulfilling both dreams.
“I heard so many stories about Rolla,” says Gerrie. “Dale loved it there. We bought a lot of St. Pat’s sweatshirts over the years. I have a stack in my closet.”
Last year Gerrie, a pharmacist for Express Scripts in St. Louis, made a stock gift establishing two scholarship endowments: the Gerrie Fletcher Scholarship in Memory of Dale Shull and the Daisy Shull Rolla Rising Scholarship. The second scholarship is named for Dale’s mother, who lives in Ava, Missouri, where he grew up.
“When I told her about the Daisy Shull Scholarship, she was a bit overwhelmed,” says Gerrie. “I know Dale would be pleased that one of the scholarships honors his mother.”
Fletcher and Shull met when they were both working in Springfield, Missouri, Fletcher as a pharmacist and Shull as a hospital electronics technician while he earned his second bachelor’s degree — this time in computer science from Missouri State University. They have a daughter, Amber, and a granddaughter, Pepper, who live in Kansas City.
“Dale served in the Navy after earning his physics degree from Rolla, and that’s when he decided to go into computer science,” says Gerrie. Shull went on to earn a master’s degree in computer science from S&T and spent more than 30 years with Boeing. He died in 2015.
“Dale worked on proprietary programs so he couldn’t say much,” says Gerrie. “He always called them his ‘science projects.’ ”
When Gerrie made her scholarship gift, she created two endowments with different intents: the Rolla Rising Scholarship may be awarded to students in any major, while the other scholarship is designated in support of women majoring in one of the physical or life sciences.
“Dale particularly wanted to provide scholarship support for women in science,” says Gerrie. “He always felt like we needed more women in science because they are better at working through problems.”
Later this year, Gerrie will fulfill her husband’s other biggest wish when his ashes are put into orbit on a memorial space flight. “As a young man, Dale dreamed of working for NASA,” says Gerrie. “His first love was always space.”