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Shirley E. Morrison
Died on November 12th after a brief illness. Shirley was born in Hackensack, NJ in 1932; her parents were Etta Walker Eckberg and Albert C. Eckberg. Shirley was the youngest of 3 girls (Dorothy Gunther and Claire Nemesi) and was raised in Teaneck, New Jersey-just outside of New York City. She attended Bethany College in West Virginia where she met her husband Jack Morrison; they were married in 1953, and just celebrated 59 years of marriage this September.
Shirley and Jack moved to Santa Barbara California from New Jersey in 1959 and moved North to Marin County in 1964. They raised three children, Lisa Morrison (Kevin Cooley), Chris Morrison (Ann Partee Morrison) and Tom Morrison (Beatrice Friedman). Shirley was at home with her children when they were school aged, and then joined Fireman's Fund as an Insurance Underwriter in 1981; she retired from Fireman's fund after 16 years. Shirley was a longtime member of the St. Sylvester's parish community; her Catholic faith was extremely important in her life and allowed her to approached death without worry or anxiety.
Shirley and Jack were avid travelers after retirement and their trips took to them to many continents and cities. They sailed to Bora Bora last January and drove to Portland Oregon just 4 weeks ago. Shirley wanted to celebrate her 80th birthday with her adult children and spouses, and treated them all to a 10 day cruise from San Francisco to Alaska this past July-that trip was a lifetime dream that was actualized because of her desire and love.
All who know Shirley recognize that she was "disabled" due to severe rheumatoid arthritis, but throughout her life she was the most "able" woman imaginable. Despite multiple joint replacement surgeries, she was determined to be independent and mobile. Even with her crutches, she was able to raise a family, drive a car, hold a job, and travel the world; Jack remembers how determined she was to get to the top of the Acropolis in Athens "She scrambled up with those crutches." In the last 5 years she has used a motorized wheelchair and has been independent in travel, bridge and life in their Villa Marin home. Jack and Shirley were members of the St. Francis Yacht Club and Shirley was Jack's first mate in sailing and in life.
Shirley was beloved by her family and friends. Those who wrote to her during the recent illness recalled her radiant smile and quiet determination. Shirley received numerous letters, emails and visits from her grandchildren during her hospitalization, and each commented on the remarkable ways that she positively influenced their lives.
Shirley is survived by her husband Jack Morrison, sister Clarie (Joe) Nemesi, and her children and spouses: Lisa/Kevin, Chris/Ann, Tom/Bea and her eight grandchildren: Matt, Emily and Hannah Cooley; Shirley Ann, Ben, Molly and Luke Morrison, and Carly Morrison.
A Memorial Mass and celebration of life will be held on Saturday November 24th at 12:30 pm at St. Raphael's Mission Chapel. In lieu of flowers, Shirley and her family would graciously appreciate donations in her name to the Christian Foundation for Children and Aging. For many years, Shirley has sponsored a young student in Guatemala through CFCA, and enjoyed sharing letters and experiences with her young friend.

Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Nov. 18, 2012
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