Shirley Brown a resident of Seward, Alaska passed from this life on Saturday August 24, 2019. Shirley Brown was born on Feb. 23, 1929, in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., to Leonard and Gertrude Bush. She was the only girl in the middle of five brothers (Gerald Bush, Robert Bush, Ray Bush, Henry Bush and David Bush), all of whom preceded her in death.
There is only one word that could describe Shirley, and that word is love.
Perhaps she learned this through the many hardships that she encountered throughout her life. Those that had befriended her through the years would often hear her stories about taking care of her father and brothers at a young age or hear of her picking strawberries and other crops with the workers in Oregon to make ends meet or working as a caregiver to the elderly. Her very spirit spoke of love to all that would come and visit.
It was perhaps working in the fields where Shirley picked up her greatest talent. She had an innate ability to nurse a sick plant back to health and in her last years spent many a moment caring for the potted plants in Lupine Lodge at Seward’s Mountain Haven. She had a sharp mind and a sharp wit about her that sometimes would catch you off guard, but in the end leave you smiling.
There were many subjects that Shirley loved to talk about, but her three children; David (Karen) Hawkins, Kerrville Texas; Miki Rae Hawkins, Willits Cali.; and Julie (John) Ray, Charlottesville Va.; her eight grandchildren, and 12 great grandchildren were the love of her life and undoubtedly upon visits she would break out a card or letter she was writing them or one that she had received from her Julie.
Shirley spoke often of her second husband Gorge LeRoy, whom she married and moved with to Hope, Arkansas. Brother LeRoy, as she called him, preceded her in death in 1979 and she spoke for many hours through the years of how she longed to see him again. If you were to visit with her for very long, her favorite subject would always surface, and she would begin to speak of her love for her Jesus.
As so aptly told by Sis. Ada Sparks, her former pastors’ wife, if you sat with her at the senior center or served her coffee at the Breeze Inn, she was going to start a conversation with you about her Jesus.
It was very soon after moving to Seward in 1982 that she befriended Earline Carley and became a member of the Seward United Pentecostal Church (now Safe Haven Pentecostal Church) where she attended faithfully until sickness in 2018 made her unable to attend in person. Because of her love for Jesus and her love for children, Shirley faithfully, financially and prayerfully supported Tupelo Children’s Mansion, an orphanage in Tupelo, Miss. That love caused her to write many letters to the director of the orphanage asking for them to hire her so that she could come and hold the babies. It is because of that love that any donations received on behalf of Shirley will be sent directly to the Children’s Mansion in her name. If you would like to donate you may do so through her church, Safe Haven Pentecostal Church.
A service was held on Monday, September 16, 2019, at the City of Seward Cemetery.