Shirley Louise Brown

A memorial service was held on Feb. 26 at Pilgrim United Church of Christ in Grafton for Shirley Louise (nee Lemaster) Brown of Raleigh, N.C. (formerly of Grafton), who died on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2006 at Duke Hospital in Durham, N.C., at the age of 61, after battling breast cancer for 15 years. A gathering to celebrate the life of Shirley took place on Sunday afternoon at the church. The memorial service was followed by a reception.

Shirley was a beloved grandmother, devoted mother, wife, friend and sister. Those fortunate to meet her and know her were awed with her energy, infectious laughter, storytelling talents, generosity, selfless nature and humble spirit.

Shirley was born May 3, 1944 in Ravenna, Ohio. She was the sixth of nine children born to the late Clifford and Katherine Lemaster. She graduated in 1962 from Windham High School. Her personal quote in her senior yearbook said, "Itís nice to be important, but itís more important to be nice."

Shirley remained near her hometown until one memorable day at a local MacDonaldís when her car broke down and a young telephone technician, Richard Brown from Milwaukee, noticed her and offered to help. Romance sparked and after a short courtship they married and moved to Milwaukee.

The couple lived in an apartment on 76th Street for several years and then moved to their house on West Walters Drive in Grafton. Here they raised their two sons, Scott and Todd. They stayed in the same house in Grafton until this past May when they moved to North Carolina to enjoy their retirement.

While raising the boys, Shirley waitressed at several local restaurants. She worked at Nisleitís and the Haberdashery in Port Washington, and the Chocolate Factory and the Edge of Town, both in Cedarburg. Customers loved her so much they would request her by name and wait for one of her tables. She always made a point to find something complimentary to say to her customers and she had a soft spot for those in the service industry.

Shirley was an avid biker, runner, moviegoer and adventurer. She and Richard went on biking trips across the country, often with organized groups and always camping along the way. One year they biked 1,000 miles through Ireland, carrying all their gear with them on their bikes. They also traveled to Turkey, Europe (traveling by bike and rail the entire way), Hawaii and Costa Rica.

Shirley was a committed member of her church, the Pilgrim United Church of Christ in Grafton. She loved having breakfast with friends, loved coffee, loved to read the paper and loved finding a good deal at a rummage sale. She loved to laugh and loved to bring gifts to people. She always looked out for others and spent little time worrying about her own needs. She fought her battle with cancer with grace and strength and humor to the very end.

Shirley is survived by her husband Richard Brown of Franklinton, N.C.; her sons Scott (Sara) Brown of Raleigh, N.C. and Todd (Laurie) Brown of Gurnee, Ill.; sisters Betty Ashworth, Joyce LaCreta, Ruth (Victor) Vicchio, Mary Johnson and Bonnie Martin; brothers Ronald, Carl and James Lemaster; grandchildren Nathan Campbell of Cedarburg and Benjamin, Spencer, Sydney and Harrison Brown of Raleigh, N.C.

Memorial donations may be sent to Pilgrim United Church of Christ, 1621 2nd Ave., Grafton, WI 53024.