Verla Shackelford Brasher
Verla May Shackelford Brasher was born on July 27, 1914, the fifth in a family of seven children. She was the daughter of John Clark and Eliza Candace Tosh Shackelford. She graduated from McLemoresville Collegiate Institute in Carroll County, Tennessee. After her marriage to George W. Brasher, Jr., she opened her own beauty shop in Jackson. It was during this time that she won a loving cup at the World's Fair of 1934 for her original hair design.
In 1939, she sold her beauty shop and used the money for her husband to open "Brasher's," an exclusive men's clothing store. With their success in the men's clothing business, Mrs. Brasher opened a ladies' clothing store.
From these early businesses evolved the Brasher's Bridal and Tuxedo Shop at the Old Hickory Mall and Brasher's Wholesale Tuxedo Rentals and Sales on United Drive. "Mrs. B.," as she was affectionately called, continued to operate and manage the bridal shop until she retired at the age of 85.
Mrs. Brasher was active in many social and civic organizations in Jackson. She was very active in her church, First United Methodist Church. She was active in the Parent Teacher Association and served as a Girl Scout leader. She was a long time member of the Altrusa Club of Jackson, serving in the capacity of President, Secretary, and Board Member of the organization.
In business, Mrs. Brasher was instrumental in forming the Southwest Bridal Association of which she was a charter member.
In addition to her civic participation, Mrs. Brasher was an accomplished artist, having studied under the tutelage of Aileen Spence of Jackson and noted artist Paul Penczner of Memphis. Other hobbies included gardening and cooking.
In 2005, she published two volumes entitled, "Mother Irene," which was the culmination of her dream to make the collection of her mother-in-law's letters, pictures, and documents available to her family and friends. "Mother Irene," Irene Raleigh Foote Brasher, was a direct descendent and namesake of Sir. Walter Raleigh. Her mother was first cousin to Frances Folsom Cleveland, wife of Grover Cleveland.
Mrs. Brasher was preceded in death by her husband, George Walter Brasher, Jr.; a brother, Otis Shackelford; and three sisters, Ernestine Jones, Macie Shackelford and Vetis Pair; and an adopted sister, Marine Watkins.
She is survived by her son, Dr. George Walter Brasher III (Martha) of Temple, Texas; daughters, Carolyn Walker (Earl) of Jackson, and Jan Littrell (Garey) Of Jackson; grandchildren, George Brasher IV (Cathy) of San Diego, CA, Suzanne Cheshire (Alan) of Norman, OK, John Brasher (Jennifer) of Temple, TX, Rev. David Brasher (Kimberly) of Bullard, TX, Chris Walker (Sunnye) of Jackson, TN, Brian Walker (Michelle) of Jackson,TN, Dr. Guy VanDell (Lora) of Coppell, TX, and Greg VanDell of New York.
In addition, she is survived by sixteen great-grandchildren, Ben and Bradley Brasher, Darian, Troy and Camryn Cheshire, Trevor Stump, Elyse Brasher, Reagan and Rebekah Brasher, Taylor Sweat, Danny Liles, and Jason Walker, Ben and Sarah Rowell, Hailey and Gage VanDell. She is survived by three great-great-grandchildren, Zayne, Brody, and Jagger Sweat.
The family would like to thank Mae Forbis, who took care of Mrs. Brasher so faithfully for many years. Special thanks should also be given to the wonderful staff at the Jackson Meadow Retirement Community and Morningside of Jackson.
Funeral Services for Mrs. Brasher will be conducted on Monday, March 17, 2014 at 1 p.m., in the North Chapel of George A. Smith and Sons Funeral Home, with Dr. Paul Clayton and Rev. David Brasher officiating. Entombment will follow in the mausoleum at Highland Memorial Gardens. Pallbearers to serve will be Mrs. Brasher's grandsons.
Visitation with the family will begin at 11 a.m., going until the funeral hour at 2 p.m., at the funeral home.
The family has asked that memorial contributions in Verla's memory be directed to First United Methodist Church, 200 S. Church St., Jackson, Tennessee 38301.
Arrangements are under the direction of George A. Smith and Sons Funeral Home, (731) 427-5555.
Published in The Jackson Sun on Mar. 16, 2014